Take your time at Dilly Dally, Toowong’s cheery new cafe and coffee spot

Tucked away in the backstreets of Toowong is a new brunch and coffee spot where tarrying is perfectly acceptable. It’s called Dilly Dally, and it is serving specialty brews, a tight menu of tasty eats and personable service. Take a peek inside …

Mar 28, 2024, updated Mar 28, 2024

If you ask us, cafes are the perfect places to kill some time, move a bit slower and, every now and then, be a tiny bit indecisive. Tai Tran clearly agrees with us, which is why he’s named his new cafe Dilly Dally – to let his clientele know that its more than okay to linger.

The seasoned coffee slinger might be a familiar face to some. Back in 2020 Tai opened his first cafe in West End – a small Vietnamese-inspired takeaway joint. Not long after, Tai teamed up with Sam Holman and Eli Rami of The Black Lab Coffee Co. (soon to be known as Dibs Coffee) to help establish Polo in Milton (now operated by new owners), before embarking on a stint managing If You Say So in St. Lucia.

Now, armed with a wealth of knowledge, Tai has once again struck out on his own. Dilly Dally quietly opened to the public in early March on Dean Street in Toowong. Locals will recognise the site as the former home of Bean on Dean – a cafe beloved by many for its homely aesthetic. Tai has retained much of the venue’s rustic pre-loved charm, but has decluttered the interior and built a new coffee counter, which is equipped with a shiny new blue powder-coated Synesso MVP Hydra.With a dine-in capacity of roughly 40 seats, Dilly Dally is the largest venue Tai has overseen to date – a challenge he is relishing after working in cosy boltholes for most of his career. “I received a lot of mentorship from [Sam and Eli] and I got to see what works and what doesn’t,” says Tai. “I’ve followed their business model, but just added just a little bit more. They do more of an espresso bar with really light menu – I wanted to run a slightly bigger menu.”

Though Dilly Dally’s food menu is concise, it hits a satisfying sweet spot for folks looking for a snack and something more substantial. Guests can chomp on avocado on toast, bacon, egg and cheese breakfast muffins, and eggs on toast, or opt for one of two kinds of toasted sandwich – a classic ham-and-cheese number, or a garlic grilled cheese with mozzarella, cheddar and garlic butter. There’s also Wholly Crumpets with spreads and pastries from Brasserie Bread.On the coffee front, Dilly Dally keeps it simple but quality. “We offer [The Black Lab] as our house blend, but we rotate singles – mostly whoever’s doing good stuff,” explains Tai. “We all have our own favourite roasters, so just whatever we’re feeling at the time, really.”

When we visit, Dilly Dally has two pour-over brews on deck – a caramelly and chocolatey option from Small Batch, and a drop from Seven Seeds boasting notes of blackcurrant and peach. Not a coffee fan? No worries – you’ll also find tea, matcha, chai, hot chocolate and juices on the menu.

Of course, the incentive for guests to dilly-dally is lessened if the vibes are off. Thankfully, Tai and his team are an exceptionally friendly and outgoing bunch, which means you should absolutely order another latte. “As the name suggests, we like what we do, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Tai tells us. “That’s the kind of vibe we’re going for – coffee without being pretentious about it.”

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