It only takes one bite to work out why people travel for 60km for a raspberry cupcake at Room With Roses.
Like everything else on their traditional menu, the cupcakes are made to a family recipe, not just a price and the full flavour of the fresh, wholesome ingredients shine through.
This inner-city sanctuary is both a hidden secret and a rite of passage. Located in the heritage-listed, leadlight adorned Brisbane Arcade, Room with Roses is one of Brisbane’s best kept secrets, a multi award-winning venue secluded just a few steps from the hustle and bustle of Queen St Mall.
It's beloved by generations and it's not uncommon to see mothers bringing their children, properly on their best behaviour, for afternoon tea with grandma.
Since taking over the venue in 2009, owner Vicki Pitts has transformed the space with high-back cane chairs and chandeliers that sit well with the art deco interior of the arcade. Sit in The Chandelier Room and gaze out over the treetops of Adelaide Street.
Vicki's philosophy –“if it is worth doing, it is worth doing properly” has attracted a dedicated following especially amongst older customers who love the familiar setting and the comfort food. There's James who comes every Saturday and sits at table 45 so he can see the kitchen action, Marge who likes the cane chairs and the specials and tiny 93-year-old Irene who orders the biggest meal and takes an hour to eat it. Vicki enjoys sharing the love with her elderly regulars.
They also enjoy the 15 dozen fresh roses delivered each week unless Vicki's own fragrant roses are blooming.
There's plenty to like on the Room With Roses menu. For a start the passionfruit sponge recipe begins with 'break 14 eggs' and their iconic ribbon sandwiches made with house made mayo always run out.
It's the little things, like the fresh daily house made Russian dressing for the Ruben sandwiches which are filled with corn meat cooked with the tang of oranges and the traditional chicken curry with banana, cashews and toasted coconut, that keep customers coming back.
And Vicki says atleast 30 percent of menu is gluten free, although you would hardly notice.
Vicki waited eight years to buy her dream and escape from her high-flying career as a consultant.
"I was tired of achieving the impossible for the ungrateful," she says. "Here I get thank yous here everyday."
Room with Roses
Best for: Those who have a love of nostalgia or good old-fashioned favourites.
Bottom line: The high tea is $42 per person, lunch meals are around $26 and sandwiches around $20.
Best tip: Book as it does get busy
Disclaimer: E,d+bK was a guest of Room With Roses for morning tea.