Nestled on a range, just over an hour’s drive from the heart of Brisbane, is …
Truth be told, I am the pickiest eater you’ll ever meet. I’ve been this way since I was a child. Nowadays, I still refuse to eat anything with nuts in it because I hate the taste of nuts by themselves. That includes Nutella (I know, I’m an outcast on that one). I’d heard of Cowch, the dessert bar, and never showed much interest, considering I deem sweet foods to be limited for the morning and late-night snacks. Then I heard they serve extravagant waffles and pancakes, I had to check it out.
Cowch is based in both South Bank in Brisbane and Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast. I decided to make a day of it and go and see a movie afterward, so I went into the South Bank site.
Immediately I was greeted with dimly lit udders and milk bottles hanging from the ceiling, multi coloured icy poles framed and hanging on the walls, cases of unique ice cream flavours and toppings lined the room and amongst it all; tables with couches and a small fire pit. The whole atmosphere was endearingly quirky and almost cosy. Out the front of the building was a chalkboard with colourful, swirled writing advertising ‘New menu available!’ My stomach rumbled in anticipation.
My eyes ran over the menu, eagerly imagining the various churros, pancakes, waffles and the ever-so-peculiar-but-adorable ‘Udder Puffs’ (Yorkshire puddings with ice cream and toppings). Then my eyes landed on ‘dessert pizza.’ Like any university student, pizza is my life, but the idea of smothering a base in chocolate sauce instead of tomato; or sprinkles instead of cheese, seemed a little too odd for me. One particular pizza stood out to me; the party pizza, smothered in a milk chocolate base, party mix sprinkles, brownie, M&Ms and fairy floss. How could that even work?
Against my better judgement and with a slightly raised eyebrow, I ordered the Strawberry Blonde (The Party Pizza a little too much for 9 in the morning) with white chocolate base, strawberries, banana and marshmallows. I also ordered an additional plate of churros with a hot shot of milk chocolate and vanilla ice cream, just in case the pizza wasn’t for me. Another item that caught my eye was the lemon cheesecake mocktail. Deciding that was the slightly sour, savoury kick I’d need, I ordered that too. With my friends ordering a plate of waffles, and a savoury breakfast pizza, I felt we’d covered all bases in trying what Cowch had to offer.
While we waited for our food, I got chatting with the lovely staff about Cowch and its food. They mentioned a few of the other things they do other than serving unique desserts and I was surprised at how many events they hold for their customers. They hold mothers’ groups once a month at both stores, where mums and their babies can gather to swap stories and tips on raising a family. This means they can meet new people over coffee and churros, all for only $7.50. Additionally, each school holidays Cowch holds classes for kids at both South Bank and Pacific Fair twice daily. They change the lessons each time, and have previously dabbled in pizza making, Easter Sundaes, and smoothies for $10 per child. For the adults, there are party packs which involve cocktail making classes, DIY smoothies and a naked pop experience.
I was broken from my conversation with the staff by a sudden song change over the speakers. The familiar Celtic-style fiddle began the tune of Dexys Midnight Runners ‘Come On Eileen’. I looked over and saw my friends tapping on an IPad hung on the wall, with writing above saying ‘Pick Your Music Here’. They’d typed in the song and it had instantly played, and as our food was served, we were singing along with the lyrics. It was a nice touch.
The Strawberry Blonde Pizza reminded me almost of a spread-out flower, and my intrigue for the dish was blossoming with every second. I hesitantly picked up a slice, my friends looking at me with awe and anticipation on their faces, as they tucked into their safe options of waffles and savoury pizza.
There’s no way I can fully describe to you how good this pizza is, but choice words such as ‘oh my goodness,’ ‘what in the world,’ and ‘holy moly’ were the things that went through my mind. The base of this pizza is something I could rave about for a long time. It was crisp but fluffy at the same time, and seemed to perfectly compliment the banana, strawberry and white chocolate combination. It was weird, wonderful and I was sold. My churros I’d ordered as a backup almost sat forgotten. Almost. There was no way I could deny myself those crunchy, warm, cinnamon sticks for long. And as I’d suspected, the tangy lemon mocktail was perfect to cut through all the sweet.
My friends, after getting the verdict from the fussiest eater they know, all helped themselves to the pizza and agreed it was a hit. Soon, it turned into all of us having bites of each other’s meals because they were all too good not to share. It felt like a communal breakfast, which I think is what I loved about visiting Cowch the most. With hands over our bellies, nursing our growing food babies, my friends and I were ready to fall into a sweet food coma. The lovely staff cleaned up our dishes almost immediately, which was somewhat of a good thing, because it stopped us from picking at our leftovers and only tightening our jeans around our waists. We couldn’t help it, it was so good.
As we stumbled towards the cinema I found myself thinking maybe sweet didn’t have to be limited to breakfast.
And almost a week later, I was back at Cowch again for lunch.
Author: Holly Hamer