Having worked as a kid's TV Producer, I am now a busy mum to three children under three and a half. I enjoy writing about the places we visit together. Follow/Tweet #NatashaMurrihy and let me know if there is somewhere you would like me to review
Published April 19th 2012
I first found Urban Harmony when I was searching for the perfect present for a friend's new baby. I wanted something boutique-y. I wanted something that you couldn't find in every large department store or baby shop. In short, I wanted something that looked expensive - but wouldn't take me 3 months to pay off my credit card. Another friend suggested I check out Urban Harmony in Coorparoo.
The first thing that struck me was that the assortment of clothes and gifts for mums, new babies and children were beautiful. The second thing was that I could get a coffee and a maybe even a snack while I browsed. From there, Urban Harmony became one of my favourite cafes - and gift stores.
I do fancy myself as a bit of a coffee connoisseur, thinking that it can be sometimes hard to find a great coffee in Brisbane (but getting easier). Urban Harmony's Byron Bay Coffee Company coffees keep me coming back time and again. The food is always fresh with delicious sandwiches, wraps and baguettes ready to serve. My favourite dish on the menu is a simple fruit salad with yoghurt and muesli. I'm usually not the fruit salad type - preferring to opt for something protein- or particularly carbohydrate-laden - but I could live on this stuff. I don't know what it is, but it is such a delicious fruit salad that when I go to Urban Harmony with friends, we all usually end up ordering this same dish.
If fruit salad is not your cup of tea - or coffee - the menu also covers such yummy tempters as the Blat and fresh salads with the salmon and pumpkin salads being some of the most popular. With winter approaching, soup is also back on the menu - this week's offering is pumpkin. Speaking from experience, these are all delicious.
For days when a fruit salad just won't cut it, the incredible array of cakes, slices and muffins will beckon to even the fullest stomach.
But perhaps the best thing about the menu at Urban Harmony is the kids menu. It includes 'tiger toast' (Vegemite and cheese), baked beans, lasagne, yummy fruit toast, mini fruit salads and mouth-watering cupcakes that will have any child promising to behave for the rest of the day. Child-size milkshakes or the healthier option, fruit smoothies, are always a hit with the little ones too.
The store also boasts some great labels of clothes and gifts for all occasions. One of the favourites is the Australian brand, Nanny Pickles. You really have to touch these baby's suits and tops to understand how incredibly soft clothing can be. Bebe is another favourite of mine. Urban Harmony is moving more towards other lines, including a selection of women's clothes and jewellery as well as beautiful wooden and educational toys. Over the past couple of years, I am pretty sure I am guilty of buying something from each and every line Urban Harmony stock.
As for the practical details, opening hours generally align with school hours (8 - 4 weekdays and 9 - 3 on Saturday), parking can be found underneath the building or on the street and there is lift access for prams (but be warned the cafe itself does not have a lot of room for many prams). But one of the things that makes Urban Harmony stand out for me is the way they cater for children. There are about half a dozen high chairs (rather than the obligatory 1 or 2 most cafes reluctantly keep). While you read the paper or chat with friends, your little ones can happily draw on chalk boards or drawing pads at the table. Packs of make-your-own-gift cards have been recently introduced to further occupy the kids. At $4.95 for a pack of 6, it's a tiny price to pay for their entertainment.
The store is headed by a mother and daughter team, Helen and Nicole, which works very well in offering great food and a selection of beautiful gifts. Incidentally, Nicole is currently pregnant and expecting her first child (and Helen's first grandchild) within a few weeks. You can be sure that Nicole and her little one will be beautifully outfitted and surrounded with many beautiful gifts.