Bang Bang Lulu is unlike any café I have ever experienced. An all-natural vegan and vegetarian foodie haven tucked away in the far corner of Central Brunswick in Fortitude Valley, owners Belle Redwood and Dave Wilson (the duo also behind neighbouring restaurant Ho Chi Mama) have created an all consuming sensory delight.
The first thing that grabbed my attention? The décor. Dave is a designer/builder/photographer and all round creative by trade (which you can gather from his fabulous uniform of straw hat or tweed driving cap, red kerchief, distressed denim, suspenders and loud converses) and has turned the small space into an art-grunge wonderland with a raw and rustic aesthetic . As I approached the counter to order my eyes were immediately drawn to the feature wall above the service area. I felt like I had well and truly fallen down the rabbit hole and into a world of “man-pink” walls (seriously, that’s the name of the paint), antique books, pot plants and edgy, bespoke chandeliers made from chicken wire and coat hangers.
Looking closer, I began to comprehend the detail to which Dave has adorned the area. An eclectic mix of upcycyled, recycled, second-hand and “stolen” (I like to think “re-purposed”) knick-knacks – intertwined Barbie dolls, porcelain figurines, cacti, mini flowerbeds and retro home-wares – festooned in crevices, corners and crannies provided serious visual fodder.
I eventually managed to tear myself away from playing I Spy and shifted my focus to the blackboard menu and food cabinet. Belle is the Bang Bang Lulu kitchen mastermind and menu curator, sourcing local and organic produce for her wonderfully inventive creations. Dave aptly summarises their food philosophy as “an indulgence for your intolerance” as Belle refuses to use any animal products in her recipes (except the coffees of course). Fabulous news for me and my rather inconvenient honey allergy!
My eyes continued to consume the incredible variety of vegan, gluten free and vegetarian offerings behind the glass casing. From veggie Nori Rolls, beetroot and walnut patties, an array of salads, tofu breakfasts and veggie wraps to raw treats such as the carob and cashew slice and vanilla mango cashew cake or the coconut balls, brownies and chia seeds with coconut yoghurt, fresh fruit and raw granola.
However, it was the Breakfast Cup – filled with vanilla, apple and orange juice soaked oats layered with coconut yoghurt, activated almonds, seeds and sultanas and topped with a buckwheat granola – that my stomach settled on. No sooner had I made myself comfortable at one of the long communal wooden tables that my coffee arrived. A large cappuccino made with Marvell St coffee from Byron Bay, served at the perfect temperature (the guys here know what they’re doing) and topped with raw cacao instead of sugared cocoa, it was just exquisite.
Next up I delved into my Breakfast Cup. From the first spoonful to the last scrape of the bottom of the Mason jar I was in a state of all-natural-breakfast-bliss. The combination of crunch from the buckwheat and almonds and zing of fresh mango and pineapple slices sandwiched between creamy coconutty oats was scrumptious.
This place is something seriously special. Dave and Belle aren’t in it for the big bucks – to them Bang Bang Lulu is all about education and they are already spreading their philosophy of healthy, holistic, local and organic food to big corporates with custom catering. The idea being that local organisations can host their board meetings outside in the courtyard area (ensuring their staff get away from their desk and outdoors for some fresh air) and enjoy an array of Belle’s delicious creations.
Finally I couldn’t leave without trying one of their signature smoothies. After asking for Belle’s recommendation I walked away from a wonderful breakfast experience slurping at a perfectly chilled and thirst quenching bananarama. Brimming with bananas, vanilla, dates and tahini “for extra creamy-ness”, the words “insanely delicious” don’t do it justice.
Do yourself a favour and get down to Bang Bang Lulu to indulge your intolerance. Thank you Dave and Belle for indulging me! Bang Bang Lulu has captured my heart, my imagination and most importantly, my senses.