Skip to main content

Love cake? You need to know who is celebrating 80 years of baking in Brisbane.

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
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 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.
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.

Shingle Inn

Disclaimer: Ed+bK paid for her cupcake.

Shingle Inn City Hall on Urbanspoon


  1. My grandmother used to take me to the original Shingle Inn when I was a kid, your pics of the wooden seating bring back memories!!


  2. I'm so glad that the Shingle Inn has been rebooted so authentically. I look forward to trying it myself next time I visit the CBD. Thanks for sharing!

  3. It was a real blast from the past for me too!

  4. Anonymous7:11 pm

    You made mention that The Shingle Inn was originally located in George Street in your blog. It was situated in Edward Street as I remember it.

    Thank you for your reports.

    Ross Palm.

  5. Anonymous7:12 pm

    You made mention that The Shingle Inn was originally located in George Street in your blog. It was situated in Edward Street as I remember it.

    Thank you for your reports.

    Ross Palm.

  6. Yes, I used to go to the Shingle Inn. Not with my Grandmother but my girlfriends. Butterscotch Waffles were a Friday late night shopping treat. My friend's mum insists that they used a pinch of powdered mustard when they brewed the coffee, to give it a rich flavour. May be an old wives (Mum's) tale but she insists even now!


Post a Comment

I love getting your comments - really makes my day! If you like this blog please follow by email or subscribe.

Popular posts from this blog

Brisbane's top 10 'chew with a view' restaurants and cafes

It's a beautiful day! Where can you go and dine in the warm sun with a view that you'll never want to leave?

Here are ten top places in and around Brisbane to while away a lunch hour or a whole afternoon when the weather is warm and the skies are blue .

River Quay, South Bank

South Bank’s River Quay precinct has plenty of opportunities to relax in the sunshine and just about any restaurant at River Quay will offer a great spot for a winter lunch with a large, grassed lawn rolling down to the river bank.  You can even lie in the sun if you so desire.

Stop for champagne, oysters and more at Cove Bar and Dining, enjoy French provincial food at Aquitaine Brasserie, take in the river view from a Balinese daybed while you tuck into the contemporary menu at The Jetty, feast on Italian cuisine at Popolo or sip a long drink on the riverside deck of Stokehouse Q where the menu draws on local produce combined with bold flavours from the Mediterranean.

River Quay is the spot for Sunday …

Thar she blows - how to hunt whales the friendly way

A grunt and a spurt of seawater rising into the air show the position of a mother humpback whale and her three-week-old calf.

I'm on purpose-designed whale watching boat and we have motored for an hour over the calm seas of the great sandy straits up the coastline of Fraser Island

Captain Phil tells the 50 or so people aboard that the tip of the island is where we will see the whales and he is right.

Our first mother and calf are a little shy at first, keeping the boat at a good distance but I can clearly see the much smaller calf swimming strongly beside its mother.

I'm fascinated by the large circles of calm water that float past us and Phil tells us these are whale footprints

"They break the water tension when they flick their tails to swim down resulting in the clear circles on the water,” Phil says.

Sailors used whale footprints to track whales back in the bad old days when whales were valued more for their blubber than their beauty.

Our next mother and calf are a l…

Lunch amongst the lavender in the Scenic Rim

It was time to brush the cobwebs off the motor bike over Easter and head out of Brisbane into the beautiful Scenic Rim.

We started down the highway towards Beenleigh in beautiful autumn sunshine and stopped for a coffee at The Outpost Cafe at Canungra.  This is a well known bikies hangout but don't expect too much in the way of chains and dreadlocks - it's more favoured by the middle aged bikie enjoying the freedom of the road second time round.

The road less travelled is always our favoured route for this type of outing and we back tracked through Rathdowney before reaching our destination for the day, Kooroomba Lavender Farm about 65 minutes from Brisbane in the Scenic Rim at Mt Alford near Boonah.

Autumn is not the premium time for viewing either the vineyard or the lavender but the view across the valley to the mountains was still outstanding.  The building has a New Zealand lodge feel to it with plenty of stone walls both inside and outside, complimented by timber and ex…

Ten top things to do in Noosa Heads

It doesn't matter how many times I head down the hill on Noosa Drive towards the ocean, I still get a little shiver of excitement every time. This very special part of the world has achieved international recognition for its unique environment and I am privileged to be able to dip my toes into it on a regular basis.

Here are ten of my favourite Noosa pastimes.

1. Although it’s always tempting to sleep in, I don't like to waste a moment of the day when I wake up in Noosa. The best way to start is in the coffee queue at Sails on Hastings Street and then a stroll along the winding boardwalk to the National Park, koala spotting along the way.

Depending on my mood and energy level, I continue the walk through the park to enjoy the beachside views. Some like to run it. You can pick up a coffee at the information hut in the national park as well.

2. After a bit of exercise there's nothing like a big breakie at Aromas and a spot of people watching. With t…

Lots to explore at Brisbane's South Bank

Four markets in one day - what a way to spend a Sunday!

We started at the organic markets at Downy Park, Windsor which was not such a good idea. Why? Well we took the dog and the place was full of puddles - he's a corgi with very low legs - it all ended up being very messy.

Also, these markets definitely finish up on their advertised closing time of 10.30am.  Call me slow or just plain lazy but I find it hard to get out and about early on a Sunday morning. We arrived primed for breakfast at 10am just as everyone was shutting up - they had even run out of bread for French toast!

However, this market was just the first on our list. Next, we drove to South Bank Parklands to explore the Young Designers Market and the Granite Belt Flavours Market - both on the same day.

Several designer/clothes/jewellery purchases later, K2 subdued his inner male and agreed to look for the Granite Belt Flavours market which was not in its usual spot.  On the way, we walked through the regular South Ba…