Sunday, 24 February 2013

Baguette - open since 1976!

It's no secret that I eat out a lot!  Whenever I eat out, I always look to see if I can make my reservations online, I do this because it's convenient but mostly due to some of the great rewards systems out there for booking online.  I recently reached 8000 points with one of the online booking systems, Dimmi, which entitled me to a $50 dollar voucher, sweet!  When the scheme first started, the number of restaurants participating in the voucher scheme were very limited, but lately there has been an increase in the number, with some great restaurants now participating.

I was really happy to see that I could redeem my voucher at Baguette over in Ascot and with no hesitation booked SC and I in for a long overdue visit.  It's amazing to think that Baguette was first built in 1976 (SC was only 1 at the time) and has been so influential in the Brisbane dining scene over this time!  Over the years it has won countless awards and has managed to stay relevant in a time where restaurants come and go fairly quickly.  It has managed to remain a firm favourite in Brisbane and has picked up the LifeStyle Food Channel's award for Australia's favourite French restaurant in 2010, 2011 & 2012.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Casual Dining - JoJo's

In the 20 plus years I have been living in Queensland there has been one restaurant that has been a constant in my life.  It's not a fine dining establishment and it most certainly does not produce the best food in town.  If I had to put a number on the number of times I have been to JoJo's since I have been living in Queensland it would easily reach the 400+ number, which is quite amazing when you think about it.

So it was no surprise when we chose to introduce CI's new girlfriend to JoJo's as part of our regular Sunday night dinner before the movies.  Amazingly TB had never been to JoJo's before and had to spend most of the night hearing from CI, SC and I about our tales and histories here.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Ahmets - the Turkish experience

Our usual Sunday afternoon ritual is to find somewhere to have dinner in the city or surrounds and then head off to see a movie.  Last Sunday we ended up doing things a little differently and saw an afternoon session before heading off to dinner straight after.  You would imagine that this little change to our routine would have a minimal impact on our evening.......  As it turned out the whole evening was thrown out!

It was the regular Sunday crew of CI, TB, SC and I and we ended up going to an earlier session of Zero Dark Thirty because we could not choose between Flight and Hansel and Gretel, the only problem was that Zero Dark Thirty was a 3:30 pm movie finishing at 6:30, no problems, dinner after.  Once the movie finished we were at a loss of where to go.  We checked out a few places that had all closed for the evening and ended up in a queue at the Casino to visit the Fat Noodle.  However, after being told that we would need to wait 30 minutes for a table decided to wander over to Southbank where more restaurants would be open.

Breakfast Series - Tognini's Trattoria

What to do on a Saturday morning when you have had a super bad nights sleep and there is no cereal left in the house and you are out of milk?  The answer is simple, just leave the house and find somewhere to defer breakfast responsibilities to someone else.  SC's been sick all week and has not had a good night sleep all week and this has impacted my sleep patterns as well, so we were both in need of a nice relaxing breakfast.

There are a heap of well known breakfast joints around town that do a fantastic breakfast, often these places are hard to get into and sometimes have long queues, we could not be bothered with any of that. The choice for where we would go was simple, heading off to the Spring Hill / Valley border for one of the more under rated breakfast menus in town.  SC and I have been going to Tognini's for many years and love the breakfast menu and the quality of the food.  More often than not, its pretty easy to get a table, especially on a Sunday morning.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Bar Barossa - a slice of the Barossa in Brisbane

It had been completely insane at work over the previous 10 days or so and most days I had barely had the chance to grab lunch, let alone get out and enjoy some down time.  So it came as a shock to me to realise that after a few meeting cancellations I had a two hour window open on a Friday afternoon.  I sure knew how I wanted to fill that two hours, so emailed a regular lunch buddy, CN from work, and set a time to get out of the office and enjoy a nice meal.

I really wanted to go somewhere new and it had to be close to work, just in case we were called back for an emergency (which was entirely possible).  There was a place in the CBD that I walk and drive past at least a couple of times a week that I was keen to try out.  It's had some good reviews and feedback and SC had been there a couple of times and really enjoyed the meal.  So with this in mind I booked into Bar Barossa, which is a restaurant and wine bar.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Sono Portside - stunning Japanese cuisine

For many years one of my best friends has continually raved about how good Sono Portside is.  The Big Boy has been there many times and each time he has told me about the amazing food and experience to be had.  My experience with the Sono brand had been with the Sono in Queen Street, and I failed to connect the food and experience I had in that restaurant with the tales of wonder I was hearing.  It was time for me to put the Big Boy's ravings to the test!

Sono Portside was launched in 2007 with a view to providing a more modern and contemporary offering than its sister restaurant Sono Queen Street Mall.  The kitchen at Sono has a self professed guideline to produce consistency and creativity to ensure each meal combines authentic and traditional Japanese elements mixed with modern tastes.  Sono has earned a reputation as one of the finest Japanese restaurants in Brisbane and has some Australian Good Food Gude Chefs Hats to go along with the reputation.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Cheap Eats - Bitter Suite

Sunday night is usually movie night with SC and a couple of good friends, CI and TB, but due to a bit of a sore back from SC we decided to skip the movie and just have dinner instead.  We all wanted to avoid the usual Sunday dinner spots that we often frequent and try something a new.  After hunting around on Urbanspoon we finally decided upon a little beer bistro in New Farm called Bitter Suite.

As we booked into Bitter Suite, it struck me that I had heard the name before and went searching through my emails.  After a little digging I came across an email from the enterprising owner of Bitter Suite, Katherine, who had emailed me to introduce herself and the bistro.  I say enterprising because the email obviously stuck with me when I looked for a restaurant that we would not normally have frequented.

Bitter Suite is very much a beer bistro, they have seven different beers on tap and over 55 bottled beers available, as well as a pretty comprehensive cocktail menu.  TB was pretty excited about this...  Oh, I almost forgot, they serve food too!  As befitting a beer bistro the food comes out tapas style and is very much share dining.  After the CI and TB ordered cocktails and SC a beer, we set about ordering a pile of food to share.  We could not really decide on what to share as a quartet, so we ordered as couples instead.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Tank - Japanese Australian Fusion

Brisbane has some very well known restaurant precincts, but also some lesser known spaces where some real gems are located.  North Quay is one of those areas with a couple of gems!  I have recently posted about Public but thought it would be time to get back to the original North Quay gem, Tank.  Tank is located in a cool lane-way in between 400 George Street and Santos Place.  It's an extremely popular drinking spot for the suits up that end of town and has been one of my favourite restaurants ever since it opened.

When you first approach Tank, it appears as if out of nowhere.  It's a pretty isolated part of Brisbane at night but you can easily find it by the crowd milling around out the front and the raucous noise of after work drinkers.  It almost looks organic in it's design with architects Donovan Hill, who also designed Santos Place, using locally sourced and environmentally sustainable materials such as Orazia Gold marble and Spotted Gum timber.  It is a very pretty restaurant!

Tank hit the Brisbane dining scene just over two years ago and quickly became a favourite for many Brisbanites.  Accolades soon followed with Tank securing a coveted Brisbane Times Good Food Guide Chefs Hat, as well as a Gourmet Travellers One Star, one of a handful of restaurants in Queensland to do so.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Stokehouse - Melbourne comes to Brisbane town

A few years ago one of the final vestiges of Expo '88 was removed from Southbank.  One of my favourite restaurants, the River Canteen, was located in the far corner of Southbank near the Maritime Museum along with a number of other cafes and shops.  Sure they were looking a bit tired but I was incensed and outraged when I heard the news.  I dutifully went along to one of the final sittings at River Canteen and wondered why it was all coming to an end.

Fast forward a few years and we now have one of the most vibrant and amazing restaurant precincts in Brisbane with River Quay  now fully completed.  One of the first restaurants into River Quay was a southern interloper in the Stokehouse, a Melbourne institution located on the St Kilda foreshore.  The Stokehouse has been a favourite for Melbournians for over 20 years and a legitimate question about its fit into the Brisbane market is, would it succeed on the Brisbane River?

E'cco - Valentines day cooking masterclass

E'cco Bistro is one of the finest and most awarded restaurants in Queensland.  I have been many times and written about it previously (you can read the post here).  Leading up to Valentines Day, I was invited to attend a cooking masterclass by E'cco Bistro, which was an offer too good to refuse.  How often do you get the opportunity to get some instruction from a professional chef on how to prepare a three course meal?  The answer for me is never!!

The event was staged in the E'cco bar area just under the restaurant and walking into the bar area, I was a little apprehensive and did not really know what to expect.  Entering the bar there was a huge table set up with an impromptu kitchen area set up at the front.  Milling around, all looking slightly uncomfortable was a heap of men of all ages sipping on some beers and wine.


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