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NOT – Gillian’s Garden Cafe – 999 Stanley St, East Brisbane

Sigh.  Gillian’s Garden Cafe has so much potential; lovely food and beautiful surroundings however their far too close-to-zero care factor was a real let down when MM and I sat for breakfast here recently.

Nestled in amongst the lovely greenery of the Cottage Garden Nursery, Gillian’s Garden Cafe couldn’t be better as far as ambience, serenity, and comfort goes.

As you enter the nursery and weave through the store of homewares and vintage items, two spacious areas for dining guests exist – a rustic but relaxed indoor area, and a tranquil garden area too.

Upon our arrival, we were unpleasantly surprised by the half-hearted greeting from a waitresses who pointed us (literally) to the one garden area table remaining without a reservation sign and then suggested quite abruptly that if it wasn’t good enough we’d have to be relegated (how dare we not reserve a table!) to an indoor seat.  Attitude, straight up – not impressed.

A little uncertain, we took a deap breath and relaxed into our surrounds, swapping our intial impressions with some chilled Sunday morning vibes and perused the menu.  A little on the pricey side for breakfast, the menu at Gillian’s Garden Cafe  is otherwise appealing with a nice range of choices and an obvious focus on providing gluten free options.

Unfortunately we had to wait quite some time before being offered a coffee or cool beverage.  In the end, we waved down one of the thumb-twiddling waitresses and ordered our meals and drinks together.  Strangely, as I ordered my breakfast the waitress ungraciously cut me off mid-sentence to impose the specials on me, and pretty much suggested I reconsider my options….it was all just a little bit backwards really.

Never the less, our coffees arrived without much fuss and they were unremarkable either way.  Our meals arrived after only a short wait.  MM had the glazed bacon with French style sausage, poached free range eggs, smashed potato and homemade barbeque relish ($19.50).

The serving size was super generous, which was nice to see.  The bacon hadn’t been trimmed of the fat, which was really the only fault, however the honey glaze was a little strong for my liking.  The eggs were poached well, and although the potato looked more like flawlessly formed wedges than ‘smashed’ as per the menu, they were nicely seasoned and a good addition to the meal.

Unimpressed by the $10 banana bread ‘special’ that was practically forced upon me, I stuck to my initial request for the avocado on toast with poached egg and basil mayo ($15.50) with a side of bacon ($4).  Beautifully presented, this dish was a touch overpriced for its contents, but apart from the slightly overpowering flavour of the basil mayo, it was pretty much faultless.

My side of bacon was unfortunately forgotten, and upon querying its whereabouts, our attitude-fuelled waitress put on a good show of sarcasm-riddled excuses before heading to the kitchen to retrieve it, and then returning to plonk it on the table right under my nose.  Errr….nice touch.

The surrounding tables started to fill as we chattered and people-watched our way through breakfast.  I couldn’t help but notice the lack of energy and care the wait staff showed for their patrons.  More pointing, no smiling and a pretencious air constantly circulating – whilst the meals are creative and generally without fault, the blatent absence of pleasantries and regard for customer service leads me to think we’re not the only ones who won’t bother returning to Gillian’s Garden Cafe.


  • Gillian’s Garden Cafe – 999 Stanley St, East Brisbane +61 7 3391 1001
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  1. I’ve been here and agree that the service isn’t the best.

    Posted by April Neylan | February 23, 2012, 10:50 am
  2. As a country, Australia has one of the highest service wages in the world. It is with this in mind that I get frustrated with sub par service in cafes and restaurants in Brisbane. I’ve also found that foreign service staff are often better clued in to what a decent level of service and customer respect is.

    Good service comes down to common courtesy and respect. If I don’t get it, I’ll never return and neither will my homies.

    Posted by Limosine | February 25, 2012, 5:31 pm
  3. I have to agree unfortunately.

    I really want Gillian’s to succeed. As always great food, and the ambience is quite lovely here, but the service! If it’s not rude, the wait times are ridiculous.

    I think she is lucky that she has a foodie following, otherwise she would be out of business a lot sooner.

    Posted by Rebecca Farr
    Twitter: cookiebex
    | April 16, 2012, 8:55 am
  4. That’s the problem when there’s a bad customer service in a cafe like Gillian’s. Good customer service translates to more repetitive customers.

    Posted by Charles | November 24, 2012, 4:22 pm
  5. I completely agree. Gillians is the closest cafe to our house, and walking distance. However I’ve found that the bad attitude is consistent, and for that reason I won’t go back either.

    Posted by Leanne | January 12, 2013, 8:58 pm

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