From its quirky decor to its delicious menu, we go inside the cafe voted the best place to visit for your morning meal.
From its quirky decor to its delicious menu, we go inside the cafe voted the best place to visit for your morning meal.

How does Sunshine Coast’s ‘best brunch spot’ rate?

The GPS has us turning off the main road into Mooloolaba and weaving our way through the residential backstreets of the coastal suburb, past homes and an alleyway lined with industrial bins.

"How would anyone ever find this cafe?" I ponder as I pull up to The Velo Project, neighbouring an apartment complex and a preschool. But find it they do.

In fact, the eatery has become one of the Sunshine Coast's most popular dining spots and earlier this year was voted the best brunch destination in the region. And with good reason.

The place has more personality than an over-the-top Big Brother contestant, with the basic Besser block shell transformed by what looks like furniture salvaged from many a weekend spent rummaging garage sales.

There's a mix- match of chairs and tables - including a long communal timber buffet at the centre; quirky trinkets along the walls - think two scantily dressed wooden mannequins sitting atop a hutch - and a counter fronted with corrugated iron.

The dining room with its quirky decor at The Velo Project in Mooloolaba. Picture: Patrick Woods.
The dining room with its quirky decor at The Velo Project in Mooloolaba. Picture: Patrick Woods.

Out the back is a lovely, shady paved courtyard bordered by a brightly coloured hibiscus mural with raised decking, large umbrellas, tufts of greenery and more contrasting furniture.

The menu complements the venue's rustic vibe while making top-notch ingredients, such as Fraser Isle spanner crab, the star.

Expect everything from banana, date and pistachio bread tricked up with mascarpone, orange crumble, fresh fruit and a saffron and lemon syrup; to the "Marina Bay" with crab, roasted maple pumpkin and a host of Japanese accompaniments.

Eggs Benedict is a focus, coming in six varieties including a mushroom and sweet potato version, as are buckwheat crepes filled with the likes of dulce de leche, sweet and salty popcorn, mascarpone and banana.

The smoked salmon, wakame, edamame and baby spinach crepe at The Velo Project in Mooloolaba.
The smoked salmon, wakame, edamame and baby spinach crepe at The Velo Project in Mooloolaba.

The smoked salmon crepe ($19.50 or $21.50 for gluten-free) arrives open, almost as big as a family size pizza, and verdant with baby spinach, wakame, sprouts and edamame.

An umami-packed scattering of bonito flakes flickers across the top, while a wasabi aioli drizzle reinforces the Japanese theme and ensures this is a truly delicious plate that is substantial without being heavy. It's well matched to the Sunshine juice ($8) which is made fresh in front of us with watermelon, pineapple, apple, orange and a big tart hit of lemon. There are other cold concoctions like a pina colada smoothie and old school milkshakes, while the caramel-scented coffee comes from local roasters Kai, who, for every kilo of beans roasted, donate $2 to a Uganda children's home.

The
The "Farming the land" plate with sausage, ham and a poached egg.

Our other breakfast is "farming the land" ($20) - a carnivorous treasure trove of top-notch lamb and herb sausage, cut in half and caramelised by the pan, cold double smoked ham fresh off the bone, a roasted field mushroom, baby spinach, gratings of parmesan, a poached egg, buttery and soft ciabatta toast, and a splash of Americana with Lillie's Q smoky barbecue sauce.

This is seriously tasty, great value food that arrives in just 10 minutes from knowledgeable staff. No wonder people venture into the backstreets to find it.

 

THE VELO PROJECT

19 Careela St, Mooloolaba

Ph: 5444 8693

theveloproject.com.au

Open Daily 7am-2pm

 

VERDICT - Scores out of 5

Food 4

Ambience 4

Service 3.5

Value 4

Overall 4

 

Originally published as How does Sunshine Coast's 'best brunch spot' rate?



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