Eli Rami and Sam Holman aren’t ones to back down from a challenge. Given the current situation in Brisbane with the Omicron variant running riot, they would have been forgiven for delaying the opening of their new St Lucia cafe, If You Say So. But the pair have been through a similar situation before, having opened Paddington wine bar, Noir, last year.

“Obviously [the current situation] makes me nervous, but we’ve been through it before,” Rami says. “When most people would have been risk-averse, we opened Noir. I don’t see it being any different [with If You Say So].”

If You Say So opened in January in a tiny historic building on Gailey Road. It’s a well-known shop in the area that’s been many things over the years. It was a tea house in the early 1900s, and most recently, it was a detached shopfront belonging to the newly built apartments next door.

Holman did a lot of the fit-out himself, such as building the large terrazzo-topped coffee bench. There’s a bright colour scheme with terracotta pink walls and pops of greenery, while the exterior of the building has been painted white with some dark blue highlights. A handful of tables are located inside and outside.

The duo, who also operate The Black Lab Coffee Roasters, have taken what they’ve learnt from opening cafes like Blackout in Paddington and The New Black (they’ve since sold the latter) and applied it here. The offering is concise and mostly geared towards takeaway. There’s Blackout’s popular breakfast muffins (an English muffin filled with bacon, egg, cheese, pesto and mayo), house-baked croissants, Doughluxe doughnuts and Butterbing cookies. For drinks, they’re running The Black Lab’s Platinum as the house blend, while there’s also cold-drip and a selection of bottled cold drinks. There’s also batch brew on tap – customers can grab a cup from the counter and pour it themselves.

“We’ve learnt you’ve just got to keep it simple,” Rami says. “We don’t do milkshakes or smoothies, we just do coffee and try to do it well.”

With the lush Jack Cook Memorial Park right across the road, Rami and Holman plan to offer a picnic pack that customers can take across to the park. It will include a few picnic blankets, milk crates and a couple of Keepcups.

If You Say So
88 Gailey Road, St Lucia

Daily 6am–2pm