It’s a really basic principle in the Hospitality industry. You’re in the business of being ‘hospitable’ to people – making them feel welcome, taking their orders with a smile, engaging in a bit of chit chat to help them feel relaxed as you take their order…
That doesn’t always happen, dear reader, as you are well aware…. Sometimes you’d swear that the waitress had swallowed cut glass before coming to work, and at other times you’d guess staff were moving on at the end of the week. Care factor zero!
With luck, sometimes an eatery is sold, there’s a new broom to give the place a clean sweep out, and a fresh attitude brings new life and vitality.
That’s pretty much the case with 52 Espresso. During the past year it’s had a makeover at the hands of ‘new’ owner Camilla Gallagher.
Named after the bus stop outside (No. 52), 52 Espresso is a cute little café halfway along the Nobby Beach strip. Think loved furniture, indie music posters, a well-balanced menu with lots of options, and most of all a fresh, welcoming attitude.
“Customer service is my background,” Camilla tell us, stressing that when she bought the café late in 2014, she began to instill in her staff a culture of service. “Bad days should be left behind when you come to work. They shouldn’t be felt on the floor! You need to treat others how you’d want to be treated yourself – be polite, acknowledge them and give cordial service,” she adds. Yes, it’s easy to see the difference in staff who’re working together and greeting customers warmly.
It’s not only service which has improved. The menu is lighter and brighter, freshened and cleaner, with menu items changing seasonally. It’s café style food well done, rustic serves with nothing too fancy. But with all the essentials made in house (relish, muesli, cakes, slices, sauces and muffins), it’s easy to adjust meals to be vegetarian or gluten-free at request.
There are a lot of great options in the brekky menu, from popular items such as Smashed Avo $8 and Eggs Benny to Brekky Wraps ($14) and Brekky Burritos with slow-cooked Mexican beef, avo, tomato, melted cheese and rocket ($16). I decide on the Potato and Kale Rosti with hollandaise ($16), a great choice for brunch, the perfect oven-finished rosti topped with an egg, avo and hollandaise.
Lunch moves on with more wholesome fare: the 52 Steak Sandwich, Taco Salad Bowl (a morphed version of the make-your-own-taco we’d enjoyed at an earlier visit), House Super Salad, Roast Vege or Lamb Wrap (all $15 – $16).
“There’s a lot of competition in Nobbys,” Camilla says. “Being open seven days is appreciated by customers, who give us fantastic support.” It has looked like that when we’ve visited. The place is buzzing, the chatter easy and the food service maintains a steady flow.
Great coffee is one element in the pyramid of success. It’s Botero, from Maclean, as well as the earthy, rich single origin Bali Shinzan ‘God Mountain’ from Kintamani Estate. Also on offer are cold-pressed juices, smoothies, kombucha as well as almond, soy or coconut milk for your coffee or tea. All bases covered!
It’s great to go back to 52 Espresso and find improvement. 52 Espresso was always a trendy little spot, funky and eclectic, vintage pine furniture and magazines to read, the servery topped with fresh baking. But now it’s a warm space too – a place we feel embraced, welcomed as part of the humming little café’s busyness. Hospitality has made all the difference!
3/2221 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach Ph: 07 5572 1800
Open: Mon – Sat 5.45 – 2.30pm; Sun 6am – 2.30pm
NOTE: This review was updated in January 2016.