No, it isn’t a Sci-Fi movie review. This is a wonderful coffee shop giving great support to the ‘special ability’ people in our Toowoomba community. Tucked away in the quiet traffic area on Bellevue Street, Another Life Coffee and Wares is a super friendly space to hangout with friends or to grab a delicious take-away. It is the public space for the not-for-profit organisation Quality Lifestyle Support which operates next door.
You could be forgiven for thinking it was another industrial business in this off-CBD location parallel to Mort Street, as its simple, unassuming front does not indicate the treasure that lies inside. So how did we discover this gem which we had never heard of before. Do you believe in ‘happenstance”? Well our regular ladies lunch group – that’s a group of newly retired and rewired work colleagues (and sometimes an out-of-towner or still working members), and not a group of ladies with regular healthy insides 😂🌻 – is always looking to discover new places to spend time nattering over a lunchtime meal. We have drifted in to the habit of supporting new businesses or social enterprises, and have enjoyed most of our previous finds.
However, our last booking elsewhere was cancelled due to the cafe fridges being out of action, so we were looking last minute for an alternative. And Another Life popped up in the search. What a wonderful piece of luck. That’s happenstance!
What a charming interior, and what a charming team behind the food and drinks. Our crew had a wide range to choose from, and saw lots of take-away orders being delivered in a timely and super-friendly manner by a ‘couldn’t fault him’ waiter. Uber Eats is a boost here with a current top 4.8 rating for a very wide delivery area, but eating in is even better!
The barista and manager Mel has a smile as wide as a mile, and is a single Mum with a passion for her coffee reputation – she challenges you to try and rate hers anytime. Her enthusiasm is for the principles of hiring people with disabilities to upskill them to provide really good food, really good coffee and really good cold drinks. Her high-end Brisbane venue experience makes her an ideal trainer in the competitve barista world. Try her iced coffee Biscoff latte.
Mel was very willing to talk about the cafe and its purpose on my second, and eagerly anticipated, return visit, this time bringing Kim Cahill, the owner and super business supporter from ToowoombaDarlingDowns.com.au to discover this space for herself. Kim was very impressed with the menu and the space which offers all-weather respite for participants of the programs provided from next door.
It has a 40 person space for hire for functions as well. With plenty of platters and catering options on hand from this delightful team, I can see it being a great workshop space for one of our Word Fest Toowoomba events in 2022. That’s why I am bringing another friend back this week to enjoy the delights as well. There is the quiet, the consumate hospitality and the calm environment, and never a feeling of ‘hurry up’. I am keen to make that workshop booking, and it would be great for Christmas parties.
Another young Mum with a dedication for creative menu items is chef Dana, who trained as sous-chef at the old Engine Room. She loves that head chef, Pat, takes everyone’s ideas in to the mix. Her attention to detail and willingness to cater for two coeliacs (plus other medical dietary needs) on our first visit gave me the confidence to ask for a gf alternative to the soft taco shells on my return visit, and the lettuce leaf idea was a winner. Thank you for taking such good care.
The Wares component of the name comes with the handmade local products available for sale. This gives a delightful distraction while waiting for your meal, and gift giving ideas make your shopping a breeze.
Though being honest, the signage and parking is currently a bit of a challenge. However, we hear that a request to Council for footpath revitalisation and the opportunity to have outdoor seating is on the cards. That will give street view and be a better drawcard.
Actually, this is one of those places that you want to keep to yourself, so that its charm is something special, but that would hardly be fair – Another Life needs you to breathe even more energy in to this terrific enterprise.
Do yourself a favour and get to Another Life – a place with a social conscience and a taste for a quality bite of life.