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The New Black

  • Restaurants
  • Fortitude Valley
  • price 2 of 4
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. A flat white coffee
    Photograph: Nick Dent
  2. A waffle dish
    Photograph: Nick Dent
  3. Takeaway coffee cups and a price list for beans
    Photograph: Nick Dent
  4. Mural of a lady with a cigar
    Photograph: Nick Dent
  5. A knife and fork
    Photograph: Nick Dent

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

This essential Valley coffee house is on-trend in every way

They stare across Ann Street at each other, like Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith: one, the ancient home of late-night partying and misdeeds; the other, a redemptive temple to facing the day. 

The New Black is a bright, stylish, even family-friendly café, right opposite the Beat nightclub in Fortitude Valley. It's one of the main puzzle pieces in Bakery Lane, the design and hospitality development that is one of the nicest things ever to happen to a grungy part of town. (Joy restaurant and Nom Nom Korean Eatery share the laneway, among others.) And for those seeking really good coffee, brekkies made with care and flair, and a warm and kindly welcome, the café delivers on all fronts.

Let's be clear, however: breakfast really is the main meal of the day here, because the place pretty much shuts at lunchtime (1pm during the week, 2pm weekends). You could make an early lunch of their chorizo burger or pork-and-pickled fennel burger, but the emphasis in the open kitchen is clearly on setting you up for the day ahead and leaving you to get on with your afternoon.  

Most importantly, there's that coffee. Carrara's Parallel Roasters are supplying the beans, and they're being deployed with plenty of punch by the barista team, which operates in a separate section of the café out the back that fronts onto the lane. They make a fantastic cup of joe here with that special blend of Brazilian, Colombian and Papua New Guinean beans, powerful enough to get you going, its satisfying bitterness tempered with a dark chocolate edge.  

If you're interested in expanding your caffeine palate you can get a Coffee Tasting Board. The love of the bean also extends to a menu star – the Espresso Waffles. Fresh off the iron, two large, springy triangles are layered with mascarpone, topped with meringue shards and dusted with cocoa powder. Ice cream and sliced banana join the fray, unified by lashings of sweet and strong espresso syrup made with the Parallel Roasters goods. This is a breakfast indulgence to be sure, but it's not writing a sugar cheque your body can't cash. It's a gem, and its composition of browns and off-whites looks bloody nice on the plate too.      

A glamour girl sporting a cigar in a mural painted onto the exposed bricks is the design's centrepiece, and she overlooks a bright room lined by wooden banquette seating and grey tables. There are extra tables in the barista section, but possibly the ones in the laneway are the ones you want to commandeer – it's very agreeable out here on a sunny day. Yep, the New Black is as on trend as the name suggests, and if it continues in this vein can look forward to never going out of style. 

Nick Dent
Written by
Nick Dent


Shop 2
694 Ann St
Fortitude Valley
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 7am-1pm; Sat, Sun 8am-2pm
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