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brisbane cbd, casual, restaurants and cafes, under $20

HOT: Bubbles Café Bar and Dining, 190 Albert St, Brisbane


As Princess and I walked into Bubbles Café, purchase we were sure this experience wouldn’t make it to the sought after HOT list.  And to be honest, I was looking forward to awarding a NOT – it’s been ages after all and I was suffering terrible Monday-itis, so the mood kind of called for it.

It wasn’t to be however, and as you’ll read, this nothing-fancy-to-look-at spot will fill your belly and give you plenty of change from a $20 note.

I have walked past this place countless times and never thought to stop for lunch or a drink because it really doesn’t have much appeal from the sidewalk.  However, after a mid-morning meeting and no real desire to head back to the office in a hurry, Princess and I thought an early lunch was in order and we figured Bubbles was a better option than Hungry Jacks.

We were greeted with a smile as we entered and instructed to take a seat, but place our orders at the bar when we were ready.  Maybe I’m just a snob, but I like to be waited on, so this was a good start to me dishing out a NOT.  We headed to the rear of the restaurant to the booth seating , but it looked a little grubby, so we opted for a table instead.

We glanced over the very plain, laminated, double-sided menu and the first thing we both noticed was that one menu item had been covered over with a small strip of electrical tape – umm…nice touch!? Despite the electrical tape, the remaining choices for lunch were ample including a range of sandwiches and wraps, as well as breakfast ‘til midday.  For those with a large appetite, steaks and pasta meals are also available.

Princess opted for the tandoori chicken and salad wrap with mint yogurt dressing ($12) whilst I thought the chicken, bacon, egg and salad club ($12) sounded pretty good.  Both meals were accompanied with chips.

I waited with bated breath for the third strike to rear its head and I thought for sure the food would hold the key.


Only 10 minutes later, our meals were brought to the table and my eyes popped when I saw the portions we were given – we could’ve just shared one meal between us!  Princess’ wrap was fat – full of plump, juicy chicken pieces and lightly toasted, resting on a bed of thick cut chips.  My triple-decker club was on the biggest slices of toast I’ve ever seen, and was jam packed with juicy chicken and green salad, with bacon (that wasn’t fatty) and a perfectly cooked egg.  A tangy aioli was spread generously amongst the layers.  This also rested on a bed of thick cut chips and I knew there was no chance I’d be able to get through it all.


As we casually munched our way through our mountainous lunches, I noticed the majority of patrons were university students and all of a sudden it clicked why this place was a little dark and dingey and why upstairs housed an open plan, lounge-room type dining area – what a perfect place to study all afternoon, while sipping coffee or eating reasonable priced, generously portioned food.  It took me back to my uni days and all of sudden I was at home.

Once the penny dropped as to what market Bubbles is aiming their business at, the NOT in my head quickly disappeared. Wwith food this good, there really was nothing worth complaining about.  For less than 15 bucks I was stuffed full and got to spend some time reminiscing about my days as a student; the only thing missing was a pint of beer in my hand and a pile of text books.

  • Bubbles Café Bar and Dining, 190 Albert St, Brisbane +61 7 3210 0080

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Welcome to BNE: HOT OR NOT

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Reviews of what's HOT and NOT in the city.

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