Gauge is a star addition to South Brisbane’s Fish Lane precinct - a gorgeous café bar in which to hang out and enjoy fine dining calibre food at café prices.
Owner of Gauge is Jerome Batten, the creative brains behind Teneriffe institution Sourced Grocer, who, with the help of a talented kitchen team – Executive Chef Cormac Bradfield (who also oversees Sourced and nearby laneway bar Maker) and Head Chef Ollie Hansford (ex-Stokehouse) – has created an unpretentious yet serious foodie’s destination.
Located on Grey St across the road from the Dinosaur Garden, Gauge enjoys prime T-Rex views from its street window seating or diners can pull up a custom-designed seat at one of the communal tables or, with a bit of luck, score a cow-hide chair in the cosy mint green timber slat-walled booth.
A display board of fresh-baked daily pastries lures passers-by from the express window, where they can pick up a delicious croissant, brioche crumble or seasonal fruit Danish and coffee-to-go, or pop inside where a more extensive selection at the counter includes the house specialty - lemon curd and tarragon meringue.
The in-house food menu is a carefully curated selection of all-day breakfast/brunch dishes and lunches that are in a league of their own. On the breakfast side there are treats like house-smoked kingfish, spiced pearl barley, soft egg and parsley; cucumber kimchi, house-seeded bread, soft egg, cured pork cheek, confit heirloom tomatoes and skyr (traditional Icelandic yoghurt) and the must-try black garlic bread, brown butter and burnt vanilla.
For lunch, choices range from house ciabatta, local prawn, macadamia and sorrel or house pastrami, pickled celeriac and blackened onion sourdough sandwich, salads like cucumber and freekah with miso dressing, coriander, currants and fetta through to line caught Australian squid, roast gem lettuce, fried wakame, sea parsley and basil or the highly recommended chicken breast, pumpkin, nashi pear and chestnut cream.
Coffee at Gauge is from local Supreme Roasters, with milk from Maleny Dairies, and for non-coffee drinkers there’s English Breakfast, lemongrass and ginger, Yunnan green or peppermint teas, watermelon and mint or cold pressed juice, organic cola or Hepburn sparkling water.
Need to know – Gauge is fully licensed, with a curated bar menu.
*Gauge is also open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, making a perfect pre-theatre dinner venue for some top class share plates of the calibre of the day menu. And around the corner in Fish Lane its baby sibling – micro-sized laneway bar Maker is a worthy destination for a bespoke drink.
Note that some menu items may have changed since this review.
77 Grey St