For siblings Jasmine and Jonathon Longstaff, Rings a Bell almost happened by chance. While looking for a new office space, Jonathon – who works in real estate – stumbled across the empty space that would soon become the charming new cafe.
“I just thought I’d be crazy to pass up that opportunity, so I jumped at it,” says Jasmine, who most recently worked at Nodo South Bank after a stint in Melbourne. Sitting on Brunswick Street, in the heritage Bell Bros. Building, Rings a Bell is the first collaborative venture between the two siblings. “We come from very different backgrounds – business is Jonathon’s forte, and I’m very creative, so it really was an ideal partnership,” she says.
The cosy, quaint cafe has just a few tables inside – each one holds a tiny white and gold vase hand-painted by Jasmine that houses dried flowers – with the majority of seating in the lush, green courtyard.
The drinks menu has a strong focus on both tea and coffee, prompted by Jasmine’s love of artisanal teas. “There’s no reason not to treat tea the same as coffee,” she says. “A lot of places focus on one more than the other, but I wanted to give love to both of them. It’s really nice bringing something to light that a lot of people don’t necessarily understand or appreciate.”
Teas are sourced from New Farm’s Tour de Tea (another sibling-run affair), with a rotating, seasonal list. Jasmine’s pick is Apple Crumble, a mixture of chamomile and dehydrated apple that “smells and tastes just like a pie, full of natural sweetness”. Other flavours include Queensland Rainforest Magic, a black tea-based blend featuring fruity notes and lemongrass slivers, and crowd-favourite Honeydew, a green tea with a mellow and subtle honey coating.
For coffee, there’s a Tim Adams Tortoise and the Hare house blend for espresso plus rotating single-origins from local roasters, such as Black Sheep, for batch brew and V60. “I don’t think there’s one perfect coffee for everyone, which is why it’s important to share,” says Jasmine.
Alongside the drinks menu is a simple range of toasties – on sourdough, white or milk bread – with smoky beef brisket, wholeseed mustard, pickled radish and sauerkraut, say, or pulled jackfruit, barbeque sauce, pineapple and slaw – plus Brasserie pastries and hearty stacked salads.
Rings a Bell
57 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
0434 877 220
Mon to Fri 6am–3.30pm