Baker's yeast, brewer's yeast, barley, cow's milk, malt, rye, oats, soy beans, wheat, cashew nuts, ginger, avocado, meta-sulphite, tartrazine – you name it, Lisa Trickey is allergic to it. "As a cook and foodie, I was blown away when I learnt what I was allergic to," she explains. "I had to throw out virtually all the contents of my kitchen cabinet."
Eating out also became an exercise in frustration, disappointment and hunger, with few places offering anything more than a token range of gluten-free or dairy-free options. "I missed going to a cafe and being able to pick and eat anything I wanted," Trickey says. "So I thought, 'maybe I should open up my own cafe.' "
The result is Taringa's Finiky Patisserie, where Trickey presides over a small team who make all food on the premises, according to recipes Trickey has developed to suit food allergies and sensitivities.
"Modifying recipes is a lot of trial and error and just about everything is a work in progress," she says. But the successes, such as figuring out how to make dairy-free buttermilk, spur her on to create more gluten-free food that "doesn't taste like cardboard".
Finiky's ever-changing blackboard is the closest thing the patisserie has to a menu – that, and the visual spectacle of a glass cabinet full of gluten-free goodies such as salted caramel doughnuts, tarts, chocolate coconut roughs, bliss balls, slices laden with lemon curd, white chocolate raspberry blondies and banoffee pies.
On my first visit, I selected a coconut raspberry muffin to accompany my latte. The muffin was light and yet satisfying, the sweetness of still-warm raspberries pleasantly oozy at first bite. Coffee is sourced from Blackstar Coffee, teas from Somage Fine Foods and, as you'd expect, there are a full range of non-dairy milk options on offer.
Finiky's range of savoury lunch options are an even bigger drawcard than the sweets.
"People say it's easier these days to find gluten-free sweets but not so much the savoury dishes," Trickey says. Accordingly, the patisserie offers a changing and ever-expanding array of seasonal salads; pizzas such as margherita served with generous lashings of fresh torn basil; thyme and rosemary focaccia; jalapeno and zucchini muffins; thyme sausage rolls, and spicy Indian pasties with homemade peach-chilli chutney. Pies also feature, including steak and wine, creamy chicken and garlic, or simple shepherd's topped with lightly browned spirals of mashed potato.
Not so much a hidden gem, as one hiding in plain sight on busy Moggill Road, Finiky is a popular lunch spot even for locals sans allergies.
On my second visit I wavered between a toasted bagel or pumpkin arancini balls, eventually opting for the latter. They arrived with crisp shells, meltingly-soft centres and a small bowl of crushed capsicum relish the colour of a sunset.
Trickey, a former nurse, has taken some risks, both personally and financially to bring Finiky to fruition. But the proof is in the pear and apple frangipani tarts. "I learn more from my customers every day as they tell me their stories," Trickey says. "My aim is to branch out further, so it is easier for people with allergies to find safe havens. And the greatest compliment is when people keep checking in to make sure that what they're eating really is gluten-free."
Open Tue to Sat 7am to 3pm.
Finiky Patisserie, Shop 1/186 Moggill Road, Taringa, (07) 3870 2098, finikyfreshglutenfree.com