Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Locanda osteria and bar - simple Italian fare but with strong flavours


A couple of weeks ago we thought we would check out one of the new restaurants over at the recently completed M&A Lane.  There were a couple of options, with three of the six or so planned planned restaurants already open, but as we walked towards the lane, an incredible smell led us towards the Mighty Mighty (see post here).  While we were sitting and mostly enjoying our southern style BBQ, we sat facing our other option and spent the night wondering if we had made the right choice.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and we had a more definitive plan to check out Locanda Osteria and Bar, which as the name suggests is an Italian joint.  It's more than a little interesting that two of the hottest styles of food right now, Italian and Southern BBQ have opened right next door to each other.  In my mind 2103 has been the year of the Italian and American restaurant, with a heap of new dining establishments opening up with a bent in either direction.

They guys that have put Locanda Osteria together certainly know a little bit about what it takes to run a successful Italian restaurant.  Restaurant heavyweights Manny Sakellarakis and Dan Clark have  created arguably Brisbane's best Italian restaurant in 1889 Enoteca at Woolloongabba and have teamed up with Cove Southbank's Adam Barton on this venture.  Combined they have a heap of experience creating successful restaurants and giving people what they really want, top quality nosh.  They've also snared head chef Daniel Jones to man the kitchen, who has worked at some of Brisbane's best Restaurants including Cha Cha Char and Baguette.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Breakfast Series - Ave' Cucina & Coffee Bar


It seems as if I have to travel further and further away from my base in the CBD to check out new and exciting breakfast spots (well, new and exciting for me).  We had been through a particularly difficult 'fast day' on Friday and really needed to re-energise for a tilt at the rest of the weekend.  I had spent a fair amount of time looking up breakfast spots on the interweb that I hadn't visited before and which seemed interesting.  I have to say that looking for breakfast the night of a fast is a really bad idea and all I did was make myself even hungrier.

I'd given up looking on the Friday night and thought that with a good night's sleep, I would have some inspiration and just know where I wanted to head for breakfast.  Nope, that didn't work either and it wasn't until SC reminded me that I had my 'list' and there were some breakfast places that I still wanted to visit that it all came together.  There were two places left on my list that we needed to visit, both on the south side, so we saddled up and hit the road.  First on the list was Lady Marmalade at Stones Corner, which was closed up for the Christmas and New Year break, so we kept on driving.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Esquire - what more can be said? This place is perfection!


If there was one restaurant that defined my dining habits for 2013 it would have to be Esquire in the CBD and to be more precise Esq.  In my first full year of writing about my food experiences, I visited more new restaurants in twelve months than ever before.  While I loved checking out many new restaurants and revisiting many that I hadn't been to for a while, there was a part of me that still liked to be known as a regular somewhere.  That somewhere happened to be just across the road from me and recognised as the best restaurant in town.

I've written about my experiences at Esq and Esquire more than any other restaurant I've been to, and with good reason.  It's just a superb restaurant and dining experience.  Every.  Single.  Time.   Co-owners Ryan Squires and Cameron Murchison along with head chef Ben Devlin make up the team that continue to surpass the expectations of the Brisbane dining scene.  Since I've written so much about the restaurant, I'm going to go straight onto the food, but if you've not heard of Esquire before or want some more info, you can check out my previous posts - here, here and here

Over the last year, it seems as if I have eaten at Esq two or three times a month but upon reflection it had been over twelve months since we had the full degustation dining experience at Esquire.  I thought there would be no better way to see out the year than a full degustation, and since the last night Esquire was open was Christmas Eve, we though it would be a lovely little 'Festivus' present for ourselves.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Reserve Restaurant Milton - Fine dining on the city fringe


It's becoming increasingly difficult for me to try new restaurants in the Brisbane CBD, especially restaurants that are fine dining.  In fact, in the last few years there has been a move away from fine dining into more casually focussed dining.  While there is nothing wrong with high end casual dining, there is a lot to be said about the unique experience that you get from a great fine diner.

It's interesting though, sometimes there are things that literally just 'stare you in the face' and you don't notice.  Reserve at Milton is just such a place.  I've driven down Coronation Drive hundreds of times and said to myself that I must check out Reserve, it looks great.  Time and time again I've sat in my unit struggling to think of somewhere I can go to get a great meal that I have not visited before. Well, this time when it was SC who was in the drivers seat while we were driving past, I bit the bullet and got straight onto my iPad and made a reservation.  Thought into action!

I find it hard to believe it but Reserve at Milton has inhabited the space at the heritage listed Cook Terrace for almost two years.  It really doesn't seem that long ago that Joseph Alexander was the restaurant that I drove past and regularly ignored.  There has been high end restaurants occupying the space on Coronation Drive since 1984 after having a somewhat mixed history since being built in 1888.  Originally a set of Terrace houses, I can only imagine what it would have been like living on the Brisbane river in one of those majestic and massive terrace houses during the 1800's.  If you could have afforded it, I'm sure it would have been quite special.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Breakfast Series - The Corner Store Cafe


A couple of months ago on one of our infrequent forays into the suburbs, we stumbled across a little cafe as we made our way home.  We didn't have time to stop in and check it out but made a mental note to check it out sometime.  As often happens with a 'mental note', it was soon forgotten and the Corner Store Cafe faded quickly from memory.

Fast forward a few months and we had to again go on a field trip to the suburbs, this time to hit our preferred medical centre at Taringa.  I was there to get a blood tests done and had been fasting from the day before, so we thought that grabbing a breakfast out in the 'burbs would be a good idea (I know, its not really that far away from the CBD).  With not much of an idea of where to eat in the western suburbs, I checked out urbanspoon and quickly spotted a name that was familiar, you guessed it the Corner Store Cafe.  

We thought it might be touch and go to get a table, mainly because our trip to the doctor wouldn't finish until about 9:15am, which would have put us right in the peak hour for breakfast.  Our real hope was that we would have been finished with the early risers crowd and not quite yet hit the brunch crew.  As we wound through the back streets of Toowong from our medical centre, I started to have doubts that SC's usual back street approach to driving through the suburbs would actually get us to out destination.   I needn't have worried as SC's internal GPS had us pulling up out the front of the Corner Cafe with nary a wrong turn.  And when I say pulling up out front, I mean right out front, SC managed to score a street park right in front of the cafe!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Mighty Mighty Cue & Brew - a mix of southern style in the big smoke


Every Saturday morning we walk off to get our weekly groceries from James Street Market.  Yeah, yeah, I know that you're thinking 'sure mate, you eat out every night', but I assure you I do eat at home sometimes and when I do I get my groceries from The Standard over at James Street.  But that's not the point of this post, it's more about the journey I take to get to James Street each Saturday morning.  As part of the walk, we wander down McLachlan Street, which has been dominated for some time by construction work.

It's a funny thing when you watch a construction site go up.  At first there is the big mess that is created, usually as a result of someone digging a dirty big hole in the ground.  Not long after the trucks have carried away all the dirt, more trucks start to turn up with building material and things start to take shape.  At first, things happen so slowly you don't notice much change, but as sure as night follows day (or is it the other way round), you start to notice a building take shape.  I couldn't tell you how many times we wandered down McLachlan Street and speculated about the building.  Sure, we could have gone to the web site, but that would have spoilt the fun of our guessing games.

Then one day, you notice it's looking a little different, maybe even a little finished.  Amazingly, this all happened over what seemed to be about eighteen months and one day, there it was, it was finished.  What started out as a hole in the ground became a fully fledged building.  What was better was what lay beneath the building, a shiny new laneway with restaurants and shops, but mostly restaurants.  M&A laneway was born and it was time to finally check it out.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Casual Dining - San Churro Chocolateria


We'd heard about the snazzy new Christmas light show that the Brisbane City Council was putting on in King George Square and thought we would check it out.  After all, as ratepayers, we wanted to see what our $300,000 was being used for and to be honest, we were a bit sceptical about how wisely the 300k had been spent.  So, we formed a loose plan, head down to the Square and then after the show, check out the new San Churro in Charlotte Street.

As we fought the unusually large crowds in the Queen Street Mall and wandered through the even larger crowds streaming down Albert Street, we were surprised with how many families were still in the CBD on a Saturday night.  Once we hit King George Square, we had a bit of an inkling of why the crowds were still about.  City Hall had been transformed into a colourful kaleidoscope of bright light and imagery.  And this was before the show had actually started, it was just the timer counting down to the next show, which was only a minute or so away.  What sweet timing.  If you've not seen the show, I'm not going to spoil if for you, but I will say that it's one of the most spectacular light shows I have ever seen.  Do yourself a favour and get down to see it before it finishes at Christmas.  I know we will go back a few more times just to take in the enormity of the whole show.  BCC, money well spent!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Cheap Eats - DA'Burger


Ever since I came back from New York, I have had a new appreciation for the humble hamburger (see post here). Before I spent time in the US of A, I thought that we had it sorted out here in Brisbane with burgers.  What I came to realise is that we are 'babes in the woods' when it comes to producing great quality and tasty hamburgers.  The Americans really know how to do a good burger, and I don't mean the generic, production line type that has infiltrated our shores already.

Since returning from the States, I've had cravings for the type of wonderful and humble burger that I munched on through my Manhattan journeys, but have come short each time.  I was quite hopeful when walking down Mary Street one day I spied the big red shipping container that housed Miel Burgers.  I'd heard great things about these burgers and one Friday afternoon I went along to check it out, but alas it was not even close.  I was so disappointed with that burger I just walked away after a three or four bites.

While I have not had any luck in Brisbane trying to find that elusive US style burger, I did strike gold when I was in Perth for Eat Drink Blog, the food bloggers conference.  As part of the EDB dinner I came across the Butty's Food Truck (http://buttys.com.au/), which promises and delivers American style burgers.  When I ate my buttys burger and closed my eyes, I was transported back to Manhattan and I was in heaven.  Sigh....

Mecca Bah - when it all goes wrong, when do you pull the plug?


You're out at a restaurant and things are not going well.  At what point do you realise that you've made a huge mistake?  At what point do you move past considering storming out and actually storm out?  I was able to contemplate these and many other similar questions recently when we visited the Mecca Bah over at Emporium in the Valley.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  We had had a particularly difficult week at work and were in need of a nice meal to take our minds off our recent long days in the office.  Of course we have our favourite spots that we could have easily visited (Hello Esquire), but being a food blogger, I want to check out new places a lot of the time.  I have a long list of restaurants that I want visit, either for the first time, or go back to because I've not been since starting my blog.

I started down my list which started off with an old favourite of mine, Kingsley's Steak and Crab house, which is just across the street and would have been very easy to get to.  Amazingly, for the second night in a row, there were no tables available until after 8pm.  Scratch that.  Next up was a spot that I had never been to, Byblos over at Hamilton but even more amazingly no one answered their phone and after three attempts, I gave up and moved down my list.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Kabuki - Amazing teppanyaki and a show to remember


Is there anything better than the end of year Christmas lunch for seeing out the working year with a bang?  After eleven and a half months of hard yakka and spending more time with your work mates that you sometimes do with family, it's just great to unwind and have some fun.  When it was time to pick our lunch venue for our Christmas lunch, I decided to take a back seat from the recommendations game and let the team sort out our destination.  I was really happy that the team had picked an old favourite to visit, a restaurant I hadn't visited in about five years.

Kabuki is one of those restaurants that's been a part of the Brisbane dining scene, with little fanfare, for as long as I can remember.  It's such a part of the zeitgeist in Brisbane that it's kind of faded into the background, a place to go for special occasions.  The thing I love most about Kabuki is its style of Japanese cooking called teppanyaki, which uses an iron griddle to cook the food.  Typically the griddle becomes the centre of attention, with highly skilled teppanyaki chefs stealing the show with highly developed knife and cooking skills that need to be seen to be believed.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Casual Dining - Trang Vietnamese Restaurant


It's getting close to Christmas, which means lots of parties and get togethers through a very busy and social time of the year.  We had been invited over to my boss' house with the rest of my team for an afternoon of nibbles, espresso martinis and champagne.  The timing for the get together was from 2pm to 5pm (ish), which is a bit of an awkward time, too late for lunch and too early for dinner, so I knew that I would have to plan carefully to get the most out of our Sunday afternoon.

I wanted to visit somewhere that was local, would have some great food but would be a little different from the cuisine that I had been consuming lately.  I had a list of casual dining places that I wanted to visit over the next couple of months, so it was just a matter of running down the list to see what would take my fancy. About a third of the way down my very rough list I came across Trang Restaurant over at West End, which has a reputation as being one for the most popular Vietnamese restaurants in Brisbane.

Trang restaurant is located on Hardgrave Road at West End and is in a little strip of shops and restaurants right in the middle of a residential part of the suburb.  The strip of shops used to the Rialto cinema a very long time ago, but in the early 1990's it ceased being used for theatre and live gigs and was transformed into shops and restaurants.  The little strip of shops looks a little dodgy nowadays, but it really fits in with the charm of West End, which fortunately has not been completely gentrified.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Little Truffle Dining Room and Bar - A long way to drive for truffle.... but worth it


We really wanted to hang out with our mates on Saturday night and have a nice dinner somewhere, but the plan was thrown askew once we found out that they would be 'baby sitting' on the Gold Coast.  TB's sister had just picked up a new puppy, a French Bulldog, and CITB had agreed to travel down to the coast and look after the little puppy for the weekend.  Not letting this deter us from hanging out and having a nice meal, we agreed to drive down to the coast for the night and have dinner locally.

I don't know too much about the Gold Coast dining scene, so I'd left the selection of restaurant up to TB, who received some advice about where to go from her sister.  We had established some ground rules for dinner though, it had to be close to the new puppy and it had to be a nice restaurant, one that we would be excited to visit.  

There are a handful of hatted restaurants on the coast and after considering and then discounting RockSalt modern dining, TB ended up booking Little Truffle dining room and bar.  I'd not heard of Little Truffle before, but after doing a little research on the interweb, I got quite excited about the choice.  You don't need to convince SC to visit any place where there is the prospect of getting some truffles, it's one her three favourite food groups (also included is duck fat and bacon).  It was on, a day trip to the Gold Coast for dinner!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Spring - Is Brunch really a legitimate meal?


We had a friend coming up from Melbourne to visit.  Well, they were visiting for some client Christmas parties and through it would be great if we could catch up before heading back home.  The idea was that we would catch up for brunch, giving PM a chance to sleep in a little bit after what would be a late night of eating, drinking and merry-making.  The challenge was not to find a great spot to do brunch, but to find a place in the CBD that did great brunch.  This is not as easy as you would think on the weekends, there are very few places that do brunch in the CBD on Saturday or Sunday mornings.

Who really does brunch anyway?  I've always thought the concept of brunch was for rich ladies of leisure, who had nothing better to do with their time.  I'm not sure I can really get to 10:30 for breakfast, I get really 'hangry' when I do and it's a bit early for lunch, and I like to have an early lunch.  So when we arranged a brunch with PM, I was a bit lost as to where to go.

We finally decided on Spring in the CBD, mainly because it's one of the only spots open locally that does brunch but also because it's only a short five minute walk from our apartment.  I have eaten at Spring before and have had mixed experiences, the first time I went I thought it was fairly ordinary but I have been and had some completely amazing food (see post here).  I wondered which Spring would turn up for our brunch, given we were dining with a Melbournian, I really wanted Spring to bring their A game.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Something a little different - Meatcart factory tour

http://www.meatcart.com.au/

I'm a big fan of meat, in fact, apart from a few exceptions, I eat meat with just about every meal.  One of the problems with eating out at restaurants all the time and buying my meat products from James Street, is that I don't really see where it all comes from.  It's just the final product that I end up seeing, which is usually a lovely piece of wagyu placed in the centre of a plate.

When the opportunity to get along and do a tour of one of Brisbane's biggest meat production facilities, I jumped.  I didn't hurt that there was going to be a massive BBQ at the end of the tour with a heap of different meats and sausages cooked up for everyone to sample, along with some matching beers for those so inclined.

I really wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived, but the Meatcart production facility looked just like any other semi industrial building over at Eagle Farm.  In fact, the only way I could tell it apart from the other buildings in the street was a huge portable meat van and an equally large BBQ.  Knowing I was in the right place I wandered past the entry gate to check it all out.  As usual, I was pretty early and was one of the first of the guests to arrive.  Undeterred, this gave me an opportunity to have a bit of a sticky beak around the facility and get an early start on some of drinks on offer (for me it was a glass of sparkling water)

Cloudland - A nightclub that serves food or a restaurant with a nightclub?


Italian is the new black.  I know it's a pretty unusual thing to say, but I have noticed over the last few years that Italian cuisine is starting to dominate, with a myriad of restaurants having an Italian bent to their menus.  I have to say I'm quite happy about this development, I grew up in one of the southern states where Italian cuisine was very much the norm, it was everywhere and I loved it.

I was recently invited along to check out the new summer menu at Cloudland, which is surprising, mainly because I thought Cloudland was just a super club, a place to get your groove on over the weekend.  It was ever more surprising when I had a look over the menu,  and saw that this was a menu designed by a world class chef in the spirit of true Italian culture, that is a menu that's exclusively designed to be shared in the traditional family style.  If you've ever peen part of or seen a true Italian family style meal, it lots of big plates of food (and I mean lots) on big share plates with everyone digging in.

I'd never been to Cloudland before, my partying days were well behind me before Cloudland opened, but I was extremely intrigued by the idea of a super club in Brisbane.  When I was in my 20's and early 30's, there were no super clubs around, they were generally underground warehouse parties or medium sized venues.  Those were the days before the explosion of electronica across the globe but as I settled into party retirement, I gradually saw the rise to prominence of the style of music so dear to my heart.  This in turn saw the rise of the super club.  So, I'd always been intrigued by Cloudland but no so much that I went a long for a visit.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Hatch & Co - Some amazing food in a Brisbane hot spot


Gee, how good is it over at the Gasworks now?  In a very short space of time, the area has exploded with a range of contemporary and exciting restaurant offerings.  It seems like every time I head over, there is a new dining spot to add to my ever increasing list of places to check out.  It's hard to believe that twelve months ago it was still just a construction site and now it's rapidly becoming the first place that many Brisbane dwellers are looking to for a great meal.

With a rash of new openings, I thought it was timely to check out an 'old hand' under the Gasometer, Hatch & Co.  I say 'old hand' with tongue firmly in cheek as it's a relative 'babe in the woods' itself.  I've been keeping an eye on Hatch & Co ever since it first opened a few months back and I was particularly keen to see how the Moubarak clan would handle casual dining.  The Moubarak's are better known for their One Hat restaurant Gerard's Bistro just around the corner in James Street, which has been a favourite of mine for some time (see post here).

The first time I saw Hatch & Co, it seemed a little out of place, it was pretty much the only restaurant open at the Gasworks.  It was weird walking by and seeing a sea of people checking out the diner, with no one else around.  On our visit to Hatch & Co, there was quite a bit more competition around for the dining dollar and when we arrived for our 6:30 reservation, it was still fairly quiet.  I thought to myself that perhaps the addition of half a dozen new eating spots would have a negative impact?  It was a Tuesday night, which can be quite busy for Brisbane diners.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Breakfast Series - Flute Fine Food


I've been hitting the usual breakfast locations of late, especially in the inner city suburbs, so I though about going a little further afield for breakfast this weekend.  There are a few cafes just a little bit further out of the city that are forging really good reputations and I wondered how some of them would compare.  Part of the trick is to figure out which cafe to visit.  This is where Urbanspoon can come in handy, not to mention reading recent bloggers posts.  So after doing my research I decided it would be the southern suburbs and a little diner called Flute Fine Food.

Coorparoo is not really that far away from the CBD, but it is outside of my normal stomping grounds so it was a bit of an adventure to find Flute Fine Food and with the help of Google Maps, we were soon pulling into the car park.  Flute is in a little strip of shops on Cavendish Road and I was quite surprised to see that the car park was full and most of the tables already taken up at 8am.  We've been getting to some of the most popular breakfast joints in Brisbane at this time and very rarely have the cafes had so many people already eating their breakfast.

Flute Fine Food opens up pretty early on the weekends and had clearly been in the swing of things well before we turned up.  While Coorparoo is not really suburbia, there is just enough of the suburban lifestyle that people get up early on Sunday morning and apparently all head over to Flute for breakfast! While I was parking the car, SC rushed over to get a table and took a seat outside the main dining area which was mostly protected from the elements by huge awning and plastic coverings to keep the wind out.  As I joined her, I was surprised to see the location she had chosen as the wind was quite fresh and SC hates the cold.  Choice made, it was too late to change over as the other tables were filling up fast.

Cheap Eats - Kotobuki


For years and years and years we used to get our fish and chips from a little shop in East Brisbane called Fish53, that was before we found out that the Fishmongers Wife was just a few hundred metres down the road.  We used to sit down and eat our fish and chips and wonder about a little Japanese restaurant down the alley next to Fish53.  No matter what time of the day or night we went for fish and chips, this little hole in the wall Japanese restaurant seemed to have queues of people waiting to get in.  Of course we never did anything about checking it out, we were in our fish and chip phase of eating.

Fast forward a few years and my blog dictates that I check out as many new places (to me) as possible and since I've been going through a Japanese phase recently, I thought it would be time to hit Kotobuki in East Brisbane.  Lots of people I know love this little Japanese hot spot, in fact it's one of the most popular eating spots on Urbanspoon.  It never occurred to me that the little hole in the wall Japanese spot next to Fish53 was Kotobuki, that was until I went to my trusty friend Google Maps, then it all fell into place.

We couldn't have picked a worse day to head out for lunch, it was pouring rain and the sky was so overcast and heavy with clouds it seemed like it was early evening, even though it was only 11:30am.  We had a choice, go or not go and my choice was to get out of the apartment for a bit, so we braved the wet conditions and crazy Queensland wet weather drivers and made our way to East Brisbane.  I'd read that parking was a problem around East Brisbane, but now knowing exactly where Kotobuki was, we were confident of scoring a park, and we did, right out front.  The problem was getting out of the car and into the restaurant without getting soaked, the mission was partially successful.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Au Cirque - now also known as 'Cirque by night'


There are so many new restaurants opening in Brisbane you would wonder why an established Brisbane breakfast institution would take the risk of opening up for dinner.  That's exactly what's happened with New Farm favourite Au Cirque, who've recently launched their 'Cirque by Night' dinner menu on Thursday and Friday nights.

I was invited along with a couple of blogger buddies and online publications to check out the new offerings and provide some feedback and thoughts.  Au Cirque is extremely well known as one of Brisbane's best breakfast spots, a reputation that is well deserved and well earned after years of hard work and toil.  I've written about my experiences with breakfast at Cirque and was blown away by the breakfast (see post here), so I was extremely keen to see what they would do with their dinner offering.

As is usually the case, I arrived pretty early for our 6:30 kick off, I really need to get better at my timing my arrival, but I would always prefer to be early somewhere than late.  I sat in my car for a while before deciding to 'bite the bullet' and head into Cirque, my fears of being a 'Nigel no-friends' quickly allayed once I saw our host for the night.  After some quick catching up some of the other guests for the night started to turn up and there was a great mix of known and new people.  It's always fun putting names to faces because most of us are connected through Twitter or Instagram, so I'm continually meeting people in person who I follow.

Peng You Chinese Kitchen and Bar - Gasworks gets another diner


I can't really remember the last time a new precinct in Brisbane generated so much buzz and excitement than the one being created by the Gasworks over at Newstead.  It seems like every week there is a new opening of a hip new dining spot under the purple haze of the brightly lit Gasometer Frame.  What's amazing about the Gasworks is the short timeframe that it's become a 'go to' destination for Brisbanites and the fact that there is still plenty of development to be completed yet.

During the week I was invited along to check out one of the latest dining spots, a place doing a modern take on a very old and traditional cuisine.  Peng You China Kitchen and Bar has one of the best locations at the Gasworks precent and is right next to the iconic Gasometer, which acts as a beacon for those in the general vicinity.  I would be dining with a number of other foodies on the night, which would be ideal when eating Asian cuisine, which is all about sharing and experiencing the food as much as just consuming.

Thinking that it would take ages to get from the CBD to Newstead in peak hour traffic, I arranged to be dropped off at the Gasworks but as luck would have it, it was pretty quiet on the backstreets and I arrived a little early.  I took the opportunity to get into the restaurant early and have a good look around to see what they had done to the space.  As I walked into Peng You, I was greeted by our host for the night, David Hung, who is also the Manager and son of owner Joyce Chiu who owns Obsession over at South Bank.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Tinderbox Kitchen - a great space in James Street


It's an exciting time in Brisbane, there are new restaurants opening up weekly and there are now more options than ever before to get your dinner fix on. It's becoming increasingly difficult to keep up the the pace of the new dining spaces across Brisbane and I often don't come across a new restaurant until it's not new any more.  In some ways I'm luckier than most, I have a network of fellow bloggers that help me keep in the loop and I occasionally help them out with a new spot I've come across.

One of the reasons why I love writing my blog is to let others know about the cool new spots that are worthy of their dining dollars.  I'm often encouraged by the feedback I get from my readers about how much they enjoy reading my blog and how it's their main source of finding out what's going on around town.  It makes me want to go out and check out more exciting and new spots, just so I can pass it onto my readers.

Just when you thought the James Street precinct couldn't get any more exciting, a new dining spot has sprouted up, and while not off the beaten track, it is tucked a way just a little bit.  The Tinderbox Kitchen has recently opened it's doors just behind it's big brother and perennial James Street favourite Harveys Bar and Bistro.  I first came across the name when one of my Blogger buddies shared on the interweb that she had just had an amazing meal, which of course got me pretty interested.  I certainly love amazing meals.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Breakfast Series - Eurovida


North, South, East or West, it doesn't really matter any more, you can head off in any one of these directions from the CBD and hit a decent breakfast spot.  When it came to deciding on where to go for breakfast this morning after a late night out on the Sunshine Coast I had to decide to which point of the compass we would head.  It would be great if I had a little spinning wheel with dining precincts, something like a twister spinner but instead of colours resplendent with dining areas.  At least then it might be easier to at least get a start on where to go for breakfast, spin the wheel and off you go!

After getting my somewhat foggy brain into gear, I decided that it would be West, inner West to be precise so I started to look for cafes in Paddington that we had not yet visited.  There are around nineteen cafes in Paddington that are doing breakfast on  Sunday mornings and we have been to most of them, so making a choice became a little easier.  One particular cafe caught my eye, somewhere that not only had we not been before, but I had never heard of, my spider senses were tingling, this could be the place.

Eurovida is an interesting name that conjures up images of European cafes and looking at their site, this is exactly the image that they are looking to portray.  In fact with a quite like "come and experience a little taste of Europe right here in Brisbane" you can guarantee this is the just the feel they are going for.  The cafe is located pretty close to the city at the beginning of Given Terrace and if we had been a little more energised we could have walked there in no time.  Energised was probably the last way you could describe how we were feeling so into the car we went and five minutes later we were cruising past looking for a park.

Casual Dining - Cicada in the CBD


Throughout your working life, you will work with heaps of people you like and for many it's the main reason why they keep getting out of bed in the morning and keep going to work.  When you manage people it's the same but unfortunately sometimes they will leave you and move onto bigger and better things.  While it's sometimes hard watching them leave the nest to spread their wings, it's also quite rewarding as well.

When you stop working with those people, it doesn't have to be the end and hopefully you can continue on with friendships to replace working relationships.  In the last twelve months I have had a couple of team members leave my team for greener pastures but I have continued to remain close to them and managed to catch up for a long overdue lunch.  It's not always easy to catch up with the 'dynamic duo' as I will call them for the rest of the post, they are both vegetarians and in many ways are like 'peas in a pod'.

Usually I am the dude that is recommending lunch spots but I was happy to accede the responsibility of choosing a lunch spot to one of the dynamic duo, one that would be right in the middle of our now diverse work locations.  While we all work in the CBD, the Brisbane postcode of 4000 now covers a lot of ground.  The spot that was chose was Cicada, which is underneath the Telstra building on the corner of George and Adelaide Street.  As it turned out I had the furtherest to go but still was the first to arrive, with RL coming along as short while later.  Of course SG was the closest to our lunch destination and was the last to arrive, something RL and I had to chuckle about.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

EDB13 - Solo Dining in Perth (Guest Post)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tuck-Shop-Cafe-Pie-House-and-Delicatessen/137377653025786
https://littlecreatures.com.au/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bread-in-common/514101252011636?fref=ts
http://www.must.com.au/

With EDB13 being held in Perth, I decided to tag along for the ride and have a long weekend away.  I knew that Saturday I would be on my own, with FoodMeUpScotty indulging in all things eating, drinking and blogging, so I decided to explore a little of the nation's western capital.

I'd hired a car for the weekend, and after dropping off FoodMeUpScotty at the Perth City Farm for his day of bloggy fun, took the trip back to Beaufort Street way for breakfast.  At dinner last night (see post here), I had been recommended the Tuck Shop Cafe as a great suburban breakfast spot, although was warned there may be a queue.  After driving around the block a couple of times (thanks GoogleMaps for the bum steer on a little alleyway), I was able to get a park only a little way down Newcastle Street and was early enough at this Northbridge favourite to score a table without having to wait (dining solo also helps!).  Not long after being seated I was provided with a big jug of water and a menu, and was able to order the usual half strength latte.

There is one thing I can say about Perth - they know how to do a good coffee over there!  Which was a relief, as while its only 2 hours behind Brisbane, my body clock was all out of whack. While I waited for my order I watched the crowds come and go, lots of locals getting takeaway coffees and the tables turned over pretty quickly.  I must admit it seemed to take a little while for my order to arrive, although I didn't really mind, as I had nothing else to do for a few hours and was enjoying reading my book.  Finally I was presented with my breakfast, a big bowl of poached eggs, tomato, bacon and sour dough.  As FoodMeUpScotty was not with me, I could indulge in a simple breakfast, and it was a good simple breakfast.  The eggs were poached well, the tomatoes really tasty and there were heaps of bacon rashers.  Unfortunately I felt I had barely scratched the surface when my stomach told me "enough is enough" and I had to admit defeat. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Bucci - The Italians invade James Street


I never really thought of Brisbane having a big Italian population or having a large number of Italian restaurants, but I've had to revise my thinking.  While we are not in the same league as Melbourne when it comes to Italian dining spots, they have over eleven hundred, Brisbane has almost three hundred, which is way more than I would have expected.

I've walked by Bucci so many times I have lost count.  It's on the way from my usual fresh food shopping spot at James Street.  Yeah, I know that you're questioning whether I eat at home, but I occasionally do and it's with fresh food from the Standard at James Street.  So, walking by Bucci early on a Saturday morning a heap of times has piqued my interest quite a bit but it wasn't until a few months that I saw how insane the restaurant can get in the evenings.

During the week I felt like some pasta or risotto, so I booked us in for a 6:30 sitting for dinner and neglected to tell SC what time dinner was, thinking she would easily be home in time.  As the clock started to tick towards 6:15 I started to get a bit nervous about our booking and after texting to check how she was going. As I started to call the restaurant to change the booking time, SC walked through the front door and I could immediately tell it had been a hectic day at work.  With some gentle urging, SC changed in record time (for a girl) and we were off to Bucci and just made our booked time.  I love living in the city!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Breakfast Series - Pablo of Newfarm


It's no secret that I eat out a lot, I mean my blog is like a personal journal of how much food I've eaten in the last twelve months.  As a food blogger, I'm always looking for an excuse to go out for dinner or breakfast or lunch, well, any time or reason in fact.  You would think this amount or rich restaurant food would take its toll on a body and I've been pretty luck, up until recently that is...

I recently went and had my eyes tested and apart from getting the news that I now needed glasses, the optometrist dropped a bombshell for me, I had cholesterol rings in my eyes and she recommended a doctors visit.  Crap, it seemed as if my lavish eating out lifestyle had finally caught up with me.  Timing is a funny thing but the day my glasses arrived I watched a documentary called "Eat Fast and Live Longer" by a guy called Dr Michael Mosley (see documentary here).  Talk about serendipity, were was a solution to all of my problems, a way to reduce my cholesterol and solve a myriad of other potential health problems and a way to possibly live longer!!  All I had to do was fast for two days a week, then I could eat whatever I wanted for the other five days - a bloggers dream.

You may ask why I am telling you this?  Well apart from now being completely sold on the idea and have been recommending it to everyone, its the first time I have typed up a post while fasting.  I'm not sure how it's going to go.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

French Martini - great food and better cocktails


I've been trying to get over to Southbank a little more of late.  Southbank has one of the highest concentration of restaurants in one spot in all of Queensland, perhaps even Australia.  Since I've been blogging, I've only visited a few of the restaurants and cafes in what amounts to a thriving dining scene.  We wanted to head out with some friends on Saturday night and one of the best things about hanging out with TB and CI is that TB is quite the foodie herself.  I'm not sure I know anyone, outside of the blogger fraternity, that spends as much time studying restaurants with a view to checking out as many as possible.  It was quite refreshing not to be the one making recommendations and when TB sent over her list of four possibilities, one jumped straight out.

That restaurant was Hatch & Co....  I had a bit of a chuckle to myself, Hatch & Co is one of the hottest restaurants in Brisbane at the moment and to think that TB thought we could get a booking on Saturday morning for later that night was amusing.  A quick call and a bit of a laugh later, we had sorted out that we would need to book a few weeks in advance for a Saturday night at that particular little hotspot.  There was another interesting looking place on the list and even better, we could get a reservation for four at 7pm with no trouble.

French Martini is one of the ever increasing number of French bistros in Brisbane and has been around for almost two years, which is a bit freaky to think about.  It's one of the many many restaurants located on Little Stanley Street, which has got to be one of the busiest for foot traffic, especially on a Saturday night, in Brisbane.  We'd arranged to meet at French Martini at 7pm and SC and I decided to take the short walk across the bridge from the CBD to Southbank.  Walking across the Victoria Bridge around 6:45 pm provided us with an amazing light show with a major electrical storm on the Gold Coast visible in the clouds on the horizon.  I was pretty thankful that the storm was not hitting us in the CBD, we needed a respite from the last few days' storms.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Restaurant Manx - Chicken and Lobster? Can it work? Should it work?


It seems as if we had been spending a lot of time at the airport recently and only a few short days after returning from Perth I again found myself at the airport.  This time is was a pick up job, with SC returning from an day in Cairns on business.  Usually when we come back from the airport, we have a ritual that we head over to our favourite restaurant, which is just across the street, and have a lovely and relaxing meal.  Unfortunately, when I went to book a spot for dinner I was advised that a private function was on and the dining area was not open to the public.  This presented a dilemma, what would we do for dinner?

Once SC had landed and I broke the bad news that we would have to go elsewhere for dinner, we took the pragmatic approach to checking out somewhere new on the way home.  This didn't leave us a heap of options but we did have one dining precent that we have not spent a lot of time exploring open to us.  We have eaten at Portside Wharf before when we checked out Sono Portside (see post here) but Hamilton is not an area that is generally on our radar when looking for a meal.  It's a little surprising actually given the concentration of reasonably good restaurants in such a contained little district.

We normally take the tunnel when returning from the airport to the CBD, which is the best of all the major road infrastructure programs over the last few years, but a quick detour through the old route took us right past Portside.  It was a relatively quiet Tuesday night and the under ground car park was pretty empty, so we thought that we would have no problems getting a table without a reservation.  After a short walk around the restaurants looking at the menus on display, we opted for Restaurant Manx, partially due to some of the menu items and partly because of our Entertainment Card.

EDB13 Perth Trip - Sayers Sister Northbridge


Phew, it was the morning after the night before and we were feeling in need of a top breakfast to re-energise for our long flight home to Brisbane later in the afternoon.  It was hard to believe that Eat Drink Blog 2013 was over, it had been an amazing 24 hours of meeting so many other passionate foodies at the conference.  

The morning before had started nice and early, especially so as I had arrived early to check out the Perth City Farm, which is an organic growers market and a perfect spot to hold a food bloggers conference.  I wasn't the only early bird and it was soon apparent that some of the other Queensland and Victorian bloggers were going to get an early start too.  I'd made up my mind before the conference that I was going to step outside of my normal shy and introverted nature and meet as many of the other delegates as possible, starting off with meeting all of the male bloggers.  A pretty easy first step because there were only about fifteen or so male bloggers!

As EDB commenced and the day progressed, there were so many interesting and relevant sessions from speakers that were well versed in the world of food blogging, I had so much to learn.  I'd actually met my first goal of meeting the boy bloggers fairly early on in the day, so set about the fun task of meeting the rest of the hundred or so bloggers.  I was going to be the networking king!  The breaks in-between sessions and lunch became my opportunities to walk up to individuals and groups and just start talking and I did just that.  You know what?  As scary as it seems to walk up to people that you don't know, it's actually not so bad, on the whole, everyone is feeling just as apprehensive about meeting new people as me!

Friday, 15 November 2013

EDB13 Perth Trip - Cantina 663


We were in Perth with full bellies from a fantastic lunch from Balthazar (see post here) and we had a few hours to kill before we would be catching up with a handful of Brisbane bloggers for dinner.  We had never been to Perth together before, so we had a really good opportunity to explore the CDB a little bit and being honest do a little comparison with Brisbane. 

The first thing we noticed is that the Perth CBD is long and skinny. I mean really long, the main street seems to go on for ever.  Thinking that we would tackle the long walk back to the hotel, we cut through a cool little arcade that transported us to London, England.  It was no wonder, it was called London Court and is a well known spot in Perth and I could see why, it was so cute with great little shops and a very Edwardian feel.

As we continued to walk around Perth, we noticed quite a few similarities to Brisbane, the climate is hot and people are pretty relaxed.  I mean really relaxed, there were more singlets and shorts wandering around the CBD than I have seen in a long time!  There's also not one mall but two, with one of them reminding me of Rundle Mall in Adelaide and the other a little bit like the Queen Street mall back home.  After a few hours of wandering around and finding where the hipsters live (around the hip and cool King Street), it was time to walk back to the hotel and get read for our visit to Cantina 663.

I'd heard a lot of great things about Cantina 663 and when I did my obligatory tweet to WA bloggers for recommendations, Cantina was one of the handful of restaurants that was almost universally loved.  I had arranged to meet Melissa Loh and Aga from A Matter of Taste at the restaurant but Aga had asked if she could bring another blogger along for the night, which was of course OK.  This was how we met Rachi from Le bon vivant who rounded out the six for dinner with Melissa's SO and SC.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

EDB13 Perth Trip - Balthazar


I've just had an amazing weekend over in Perth.  Yeah, I know! Perth is about as far away from Brisbane as you can possibly get, in fact it's pretty much the most isolated capital city in the world.  If you're wondering what would get a Brisbane foodie over to Perth, then wonder no further, I was off attending an annual food bloggers conference called Eat Drink Blog (#EDB13 on Twitter). That's right, a conference dedicated to food blogging, what a freaky concept, what could be more exciting (or scarier) than a hundred or so food bloggers all congregating in the one spot.

Both SC and I had been to Perth before, but never together, so when I found out that my nomination had been accepted to attend this years conference we thought it would be a great way to finally see Perth together.  We both decided to take a long weekend and made the long trip over to Perth on the Friday with a plan to hit a few restaurants and have some fun before the conference.  While I was pretty excited about the #EDB13 conference I was equally excited to be checking out some of Perth's hotspot restaurants and do a subtle comparison to my home town of Brisbane.

Leading up to #EDB13, I had been using the 'interwebs' to size up the best spots to visit while in Perth and a couple of restaurants kept coming up in discussion, Print Hall and Cantina.  The plan was to land in Perth just before lunch, collect the bags and then check out one of the newer and hipper spots in Perth, Print Hall.  Of course the plan went awry immediately, the only session that I could get into was a 12:30pm sitting and there was just no way that we could get from the airport to Perth in time.  I was a bit bummed out, but had to make the most of the situation, so I hit up Urbanspoon to see where else I could go on such short notice.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bishamon Japanese - authentic Japanese in Spring Hill


Once I get an idea in my head to check out a restaurant it can become a burning desire to go.  I was hanging out with a mate last weekend and the plan was to head off to Bishamon Japanese restaurant while the girls were at a ghost tour.  As it turned out DD was not so keen on heading to Bishamon after having some less than stellar experiences, so we ended up at Statler & Waldorf (see post here).  But I couldn't shake the idea from my mind and it just wouldn't get out, I had to get over to check out Bishamon.

I'm a big fan of Japanese cuisine and have checked out most of the great Japanese restaurants in Brisbane, but up until recently, I had never heard of Bishamon Japanese restaurant.  The restaurant is located in Spring Hill, which is not a part of Brisbane that I spend a lot of time in, in fact, apart from driving through from time to time, I almost never go there.  

I'd given SC a bit of advance warning during the day that I was wanting to check out Bishamon, so when she got home from another busy day at work I'd already booked in for a 6:30pm booking.  The big question for us was to drive or walk, which would ordinarily be an easy choice but I have a bit of a foot injury at the moment. Throwing caution to the wind, we decided it would be much easier walking up the hill than trying to drag the car out of our underground garage and drive through city traffic, after all it was only 1200 meters away from our front door.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Statler & Waldorf - Gastro Pub


It was a Saturday night and the girls had arranged to visit one of Brisbane's many cemeteries as part of a ghost tour.  It used to be that the boys were also invited to go along for ghost tours as well, but after a number acts of bastardry, we are no longer invited.  I guess that's what you get when you try to scare the bejesus out of your friends in dark and spooky spots.  So instead of hanging out with the girls at the South Brisbane cemetery, we decided that we would have a boys' night out and hit one of the many restaurants around town.

In a clear case of irony, we ended up hitting a new gastro pub in town called Statler and Waldorf, or for those of you who are not Jim Henson and Muppet fans, a place named after the two crabby old bastards that would shout abuse to the entire Muppet crew (see clip here).  While I wouldn't normally consider myself a bastard (defined as objectionable person), something comes over me when I'm in a dark and spooky spot with girls who are easily scared....

There are multiple cultural references to Statler and Waldorf, both names also reference quite well known hotels in the United States, with the Waldorf being one of the most recognisable hotel names in New York. Aside from the cultural references, Statler and Waldorf is is just a really cool name for a gastro pub and it conjures up all sorts of images about a stately and stuffy building.  Nothing could be further from the truth, with the new gastro pub located in Caxton Street pretty much being a hipster hang out.  

The Lab Bar and Restaurant - heritage listed fine dining


I felt like fine dining for dinner during the week and wanted to go somewhere new.  It's become increasingly difficult to check out restaurants that I haven't been to, especially in the CBD, so I had to think about places I hadn't visited in a while.  I also wanted to go somewhere that wouldn't break the bank, so I wanted to use my trusty Entertainment card and for a while I thought I was severely limiting my options.  That was until I flicked to the page that displayed the Lab Restaurant and Bar, one of the fine dining options out of the Treasury Casino.

It had been about seven years since my last visit to the Lab Bar and Restaurant.  We had just moved from the 'burbs' to try out city living and were renting an apartment having just sold our massive 5 bedroom house and were adjusting to a 2 bedroom apartment.  We had never been great in the kitchen, in fact we really tried to avoid the kitchen, so one of the benefits of moving to the city was the numerous restaurants that surrounded us.  The Lab Restaurant and Bar was just across the street from our new rental in George Street and seemed like a natural starting point for us to check out the CBD dining scene.

My overarching memory of the meal that night was of disappointment, so much so that it had been driven from my consciousness, never to be considered for a meal again..... that was until now.  After glancing at the lovely and extremely arty looking picture of a main course, I felt compelled to check out the menu online and what I saw intrigued me further, there were many items that jumped out at me as 'must try'.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Azafran - a suburban bistro thats worth raving about


One of the things I love about having a food blog is how often I bump into other food bloggers around town at restaurants and events.  There is a shared love of eating and an understanding of what it takes to keep a blog interesting and enjoyable for others to read.  It's amazing how often I will read someones else's food blog to inspire myself to continue writing, even when its quite draining sometimes.  Over the last six months or so a couple of us that regularly bump into each other have been meeting up to have our own little blogger events with no pressure and just to enjoy each other's company.

For our most recent catch up, we had arranged to hit a little Bistro over at New Farm and we were all excited about catching up with some new members to our little group.  A few days before the big get together we were hit with the sad news that our chosen destination was booked out and would not be able to accommodate our visit.  As luck would have it, we were able to get into our back up destination and as it turned out, it was a stroke of genius.

Our gatherings had been gaining steam since our first outing where just the three of us hit Carolina Kitchen (see post here).  Our aim for our get togethers is to try to find a restaurant around Brisbane that none of us had been to before and our first choice definitely fit the bill.  It's actually quite difficult to find a spot where a group of food bloggers have never been before but our eventual destination pretty much fit the bill, I was the only one who had been there before but I had not been back since moving away from the area almost a decade ago.

South Bank Surf Club - New Summer menu 'TweatUp'


I was pretty excited.  We had been invited along to a 'TweatUp' over at the South Bank Surf Club, a restaurant that I had been wanting to check out for a long time.  I say we because SC was invited along to join me for the TweatUp, she normally doesn't get to come along to events like this, so its probably more appropriate to say that we were pretty excited.

South Bank Surf Club opened up to much fanfare a few years back for a couple of reasons, firstly it was celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue's first restaurant in Brisbane and secondly it's uniqueness of being a Surf Club right in the middle of the CBD.  South Bank may at first seem like an odd location for a Surf Club but when you consider we have a huge man made beach that is as popular as Bondi on a sunny Saturday afternoon, then perhaps it's not really that surprising.

A few things have changed at the South Bank Surf Club in recent times, most notably Ben O'Donoghue parting ways with the diner and moving on to do his own thing.  What has not changed is the gorgeous location of the venue and its amazing views of the Brisbane skyline and proximity to the man made beach and lifeblood of the CBD that is the Brisbane River.  New head chef Tye Higgins has continued the tradition at the South Bank Surf Club and is heavily influenced by fresh local seafood with an eye to sustainable dining.  Tye officially took over the kitchen at the start of the year after working at well known restaurants the Zen Bar and uber fine diner Urbane restaurant.

London Porterhouse - Argentinian BBQ comes to town

No website just yet

Share dining is on the rise.  Well, it's actually been on the rise for a few years now with many menus across the restaurants of Brisbane showing 'bites' or 'small plates' that are designed to be shared amongst friends.  Many cultures around the world around the world have a version of share dining so it's hard to pinpoint where share dining originated, but it's certainly most popular in Latin American and large parts of Western Europe.


When you consider the ever increasing number of restaurants in Brisbane there is actually quite a diversity of cuisines available if you go looking.  Mexican cuisine aside, there is not a large Latin American food scene in Brisbane which is a little surprising given the nature of our move to share dining and the love of communal dining in this part of the world.  Amidst all of the doom and gloom about restaurants closing in Brisbane, a new restaurant has quietly opened with its eyes fairly and squarely on Latin American share dining.

London Porterhouse has it's roots firmly in the Argentinian culture with a view that eating and drinking are there to be enjoyed.  Located at Teneriffe in the converted London woolstore, London Porterhouse joins the stable of cool restaurants in bars that sits below the converted woolstore that makes up the London apartment block.  

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Lutece Bistro & Wine Bar - Canard a la Presse


There is something about French cuisine that is magical.  Of course it has been the most popular and dominant influence on general cuisine for hundreds of years, but there is a little more to it than that.  I've always admired the passion that the French bring to their cooking, it's something that is so European and so all consuming.  You can see the influence in the Brisbane dining scene with many dozens of restaurants showing influence from French cuisine and quite a few that identify solely as French restaurants.

2013 has been a tumultuous year for restaurants with a number closing but it has also seen many new restaurants entering the dining scene.  Bardon is one of my old stomping grounds and I was delighted to see a new French Bistro open its doors in July.  I was actually still touring New York when I found out that Lutece Bistro had opened up not too far away from my old house.

Lutece is the French term for Lutetia which was a Roman city where Paris now stands and is an appropriate name for a French Bistro established by a chef with the first name Romain.  Lutece has been created by Romain Bapst who is well known around Brisbane as the former head chef of Il Centro in the CBD.  While Romain has lived in Australia since 1990 he is thoroughly a French chef who has been classically trained in his native land before his move down under.  Romain has continued his passion for French cuisine as the President of the Bocuse d'Or in Australia as well as being the President of the Academie Culinaire de France in Australia.

Room with Roses - a hidden gem in a hidden gem


There is a tendency in Brisbane for old stuff to get discarded and replaced with shiny shiny new stuff.  You really get a sense for this when you walk down the Queen Street Mall at the moment, there are no less than two major redevelopments happening and a third on the way.  This is on the back of the major redevelopment at the Wintergarden and the tearing down of the Regent Cinema complex.  While I generally love shiny shiny new things, I also have a healthy respect for keeping a city's old buildings and architecture, it's how a city builds character. 

It's an interesting dichotomy that Brisbane has been copying the Melbourne idea that laneways are the coolest things ever and attempting to build a laneway culture, but at the same time are tearing down our own unique spaces.  So it's totally refreshing to know that we have our own slice of laneway history that has not been torn down and recently celebrated its 90th birthday.  

Brisbane Arcade is our version of southern style arcade and runs between the Queen Street Mall and Adelaide Street in the CBD.  The fact that the arcade has reached it's 90th birthday and has not been torn down or completely remodeled is surprising given our propensity for shiny new buildings, and this gives the mall some much needed character.  Nestled away on the first floor in the Brisbane Arcade is one of Brisbane's hidden gems, a cafe that is a sea of tranquility in the hustle and bustle of the CBD. 

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