I’m Andrew – the guy who writes the rambling, tangent-laden, bar-reviews. This time, however, the review is for a coffee shop. This coffee shop is close by to my home and has been the foundation of so many great stories that it deserves a review. Have no illusions – I am no coffee expert – but the coffee at this place is smooth, and the atmosphere smoother. I spoke to the owner Kris, and Barista Lachlan about The Little Prince Espresso at Woolloongabba and why it’s customer base is so sociable and tight-knit.
Barista Lachlan describes coffee like it’s a science. If you’ll listen he’ll tell you about ideal extraction flow rates, the intricacies of tamping, how to stretch milk (I’m certain my mental images of this process must be incorrect…), and latte VS flat white conspiracy theories (shhh). Not listening? He’ll probably tell you anyway. But the impact of this small-talk isn’t to be understated. As the owner, Kris, explained to me The Little Prince coffee shop is as much about developing a community as it is about serving coffee. And it’s true – The Little Prince is a modular little community. In one corner of the coffee shop there is a bookshelf stocked with books on rock-climbing, hiking, and outdoor exploring (Kris is a keen rock-climber), in another corner is a chess board where regular customers and staff alike battle for bragging rights, and in another nook an acoustic guitar beckons.
You know how in mainstream sitcoms the ‘coffee shop’ is the place for meeting new people and taking dates? It’s a trope that I never really understood. Sure, sometimes I’d organise to meet someone at a coffee shop; but a ‘friends-esque, new york perk’ style social hub seemed like pure fiction to me. The Little Prince made me think otherwise – maybe these coffee shops do exist. Ok, an example. How’s this for a plot line:
A disheveled yet charming young barista falls madly in love with one of his customers. Whenever she enters (10:03am – he’s waiting) the young man find his usual mannerisms – wit, acute social awareness, borderline arrogant confidence – reduced to nothing. The young man, now equal parts nervous tension and desire, is too overcome by thoughts of ‘what if’ and ‘maybe I should…’ all frenetically bombarding his cerebellum that by the time he’s managed to force action upon his temporarily paralysed body the moment for small-talk has passed. So he does what he always does – a heart shaped tribute to love in the latte foam, a smile, and a goodbye. Until tomorrow…
So that was a bit self-indulgent I’ll admit. But it actually happened! The story is Lachlan’s and yes, his coffee sweetheart is now his girlfriend. The story is one among many stories that begin with ‘at The Little Prince…’ that the staff and regular customers can gladly share with you.
The staff at The Little Prince all have an encyclopaedic knowledge of customers’ names and orders that is unique to small coffee shops like The Little Prince. The food selection is small but excellent, with deli-style sandwiches and sweet treats available. Come on a Sunday morning for small acoustic musical gigs, or come along for the semi-frequent beat poetry nights.
The Little Prince Espresso’s premises is just small enough to qualify as a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ venue and is located on 8 Annerley Road, Woolloongabba, next to the Princess Theatre and close to the Brisbane Brewhouse.
Review by Andrew Bloyce.