Eighty years on from the doors first opened on the Shingle Inn in Edward Street in 1936, they are still making the cakes that Brisbane locals love.
For more than 60 years, tea at the Shingle Inn was a family tradition, a coming-of-age and shared generational pleasure for locals. I remember going there as a small child with my grandmother and later as dating teenager.
The sandwiches were always very dainty, and when your order was taken at the table, the wait staff would turn the sugar basin sideways, so other staff would know everything was under control.
If mum ordered your birthday cake from the Shingle Inn it was a very big deal.
There was much public dismay when it fell under the developer's bulldozer in 2009, and the site became what we know today as Queens Plaza. It sat for a long time in storage waiting for a suitable site where it could be reborn.
Strangely, the recreated elements of the Shingle Inn look very much at home inside the curling corridors of Brisbane’s City Hall. The cafe's door reopened as part of a $215 million upgrade of City Hall and it’s like stepping back into the past to sit down in one of the wooden booths.
Surprisingly comfortable considering their lack of padding, which is wholly original, the booths provide a feeling of privacy in the 78 seat café. With its mock Tudor timber work, delicate chandeliers and Art Deco pottery on display, it’s a must for antique lovers and anyone who appreciates old world craftsmanship.
The Shingle Inn in Edward Street was known for its delicious cakes and was always the café of choice when it came to ordering a cake for a special occasion. I’ve tried cupcakes from Shingle Inn franchise operations in various locations around Brisbane and never enjoyed the experience in the same way. However, the patty cake and love heart biscuit I bought from the new City Hall Shingle Inn certainly lived up to expectations.
|Mock leadlight windows add to the decor at The Shingle Inn.|
|The Shingle Inn had chandeliers long before they were they were fashionable in home decorating.|
The Shingle Inn prides itself on using original recipes so don’t go here expecting modern cake styles. Everything is traditional, from the wait staff’s uniforms to the sugar bowls on the table and everything in between.
|One of The Shingle Inn's most popular biscuits.|
|A butterfly cupcake from The Shingle Inn.|
As befits their stand on tradition, the Shingle Inn offers an afternoon tea which in other venues would be called High Tea. Expect ribbon sandwiches, fresh scones, petite cakes and sweets and a range of teas from which to choose. It's also open for breakfast and lunch.
You'll find it inside City Hall on the right-hand side of the building from the entrance in King George Square. Just follow your nose down the corridor.
Bottom line: This is a blast from the past revived with authenticity. Well done Shingle Inn.
Best tip: Book a high tea, take your mother and daughter to relive an old family tradition or start a new one.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK paid for her cupcake.