Friday, 31 May 2013

Vine Restaurant & Bar - Italian in the heart of New Farm

On a cold and rainy night the only option for me was to have a nice dinner somewhere.  I had originally arranged to visit Aria with some workmates as a special treat, but had to cancel the plans on the day due to unforeseen reasons.  Once the Aria plans fell through I went into research mode. I was keen to visit somewhere I had never been before.  I had a look at all the restaurants on my (long) list to visit but really felt like something different, so I turned to my friend the internet and began my search.

One of the restaurants I came across was Vine restaurant and bar in New Farm, which had a really slick website and piqued my interest.  What was surprising was that I had never heard about Vine, but it had been around for over seven years, so it was looking promising for a visit.  Next up was a trip to Urbanspoon to  continue my research and to see what others had to say about Vine.  It only took me a few seconds to see that Vine was our destination for dinner, it has a massive 92% of visitors liking it and there were heaps of great comments.  Perfect!

As we made our way through the back streets of New Farm, SC had a thought that this may have been a restaurant she visited a few years back.  Pulling up out the front and scoring a park right out front confirmed her suspicions; it was the same place.  Vine is an Italian restaurant quietly tucked away in Moray Street, a street we have walked by hundreds of times, yet I had never noticed it.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Breakfast Series - Comfort at My Table

Brisbane has to be considered as the centre of the universe when it comes to find a great place to have breakfast.  Every time you blink there is a new cafe or restaurant that is serving up breakfast and doing a great job of it.  Sometimes it's not even about new places, but discovering a spot that is on someone's list as their favourite breakfast joint.  Quite often, it's these little neighbourhood gems that provide the biggest surprise.  Comfort at My Table is one of those really popular breakfast spots that I had no idea about.

Comfort at My Table first came on to my radar late last year when SC and I were driving through Milton in Brisbane's inner west for some reason (which I can't remember anymore).  We were minding our own business driving down Cribb Street only to see the longest queue we have ever seen (maybe outside of a nightclub queue), which seemed to come from nowhere.  SC was driving so I managed to catch a glimpse of a name 'Comfort at My Table' and instantly became intrigued.  What was this place? Was it a restaurant?  Was it a homewares shop?.  A quick look on my trusty iPad and it all became clear, it was a cool little cafe and instantly went onto my list of places to visit.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Cheap Eats - Carolina Kitchen (A bloggers night off, sort of)

The American revolution is here!  You might say that I'm quite a bit behind the times by that statement and you may be right.  What I mean is that Southern American food is hot right now and there is a joint just like Carolina Kitchen in a suburb near you!

How did I end up in Carolina Kitchen with a couple of other food bloggers on a Friday night?  Great question.  The trick is to try and find an eating spot where none of us had previously eaten, was pretty casual and one where we all wanted to try out.  My new buddies ML and JC and I were pretty excited to all meet up and chill out and just talk a lot of crap.

Carolina Kitchen is in the most unlikely of spots, a side street in Coorparoo and if it wasn't for my trusty sat nav, I think I would have driven around for ages looking for it.  After parking my car and walking up to the front door, I was surprised by how small Carolina Kitchen was inside, just room for a couple of tables.  Taking a seat and waiting for ML and JC to arrive I thought that the place was the quintessential local hang out.

Il Centro - the forgotten fine diner?

When thinking of fine dining Italian restaurants in Brisbane, Il Centro is not one that readily comes to mind.  This is strange really because Il Centro is one of Brisbane's institution restaurants, it's been one of Brisbane's most popular restaurants since it opened in 1992.  Its also been one of Brisbane's most awarded restaurants throughout its history and currently has a Chefs Hat with the Australian Good Food Guide and a Chefs Hat with the prestigious Brisbane Times Good Food Guide.  So there is no denying that it's one of Brisbane's best.

So why then do I very rarely think of Il Centro?  It's in the Eagle Street precinct, which is one of the most popular dining hot spots in Brisbane.  In fact, it's just a stone's throw away from my apartment in the CBD and next to some of the most well known and awarded restaurants in Brisbane.

I had been trying to get to Il Centro for a couple of months now with one of my work buddies, but work had been so busy that we rescheduled a heap of times.  We were finally able to align our diaries this week and get a little time away from the office to reflect on what had been a huge week.  MK and I were pretty excited about heading over to Il Centro and the anticipation had been building each time we had to reschedule.

Libertine bar and restaurant - Vietnamese fusion

Sometimes you go to a restaurant and by the end of the meal you're just not sure about it.  You know the feeling, it's got a great reputation, it's in a great spot, everyone you are with is having a good time and enjoying the food, but it's just not doing it for you.  I experienced this feeling last year when going to Libertine for the first time.  It was with a group of workmates and was a chance to get together outside of work and have a nice meal, but by the end of the night I was a bit disappointed.

Fast forward a year and I decided I would give Libertine another go.  There had been some changes since my last visit and I was keen to see what the impact had been.  The biggest change was to the style of Libertine, which had always been a French Vietnamese fusion restaurant and has now moved to more generic EurAsian fusion style of cooking.  This is most likely from the influence of Kim Machin, formerly of Urbane and Spring, in his capacity as consultant to the well known restaurant.

As I have already mentioned, Libertine is in a great spot and is located at the Barracks in Petrie Terrace which is the old Police Barracks that was redeveloped into a cinema and dining hub in 2008.  There are a heap of great restaurants and cafes there with one of my favourite Spanish Restaurants, Peasant, being located in the same building.  It's pretty close to the CBD, so you can walk there fairly quickly or, if you choose, drive and and park in the complex.  The night that SC and I decided to visit Libertine was an unusually cold and rainy night, so driving was the obvious option. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Paniyiri - when Athens comes to Brisbane town

Well, its that time of the year again when all things Greek come together for the fantastic Paniyiri.  It's amazing how ingrained this wonderful Greek festival has become to Brisbanites.  Paniyiri has been going for as long as I can remember and SC and I have made it a tradition to head over to Musgrave Park each year to celebrate all things Greek, but mostly to enjoy the food!

The festival started in 1976 when a group of passionate Greek Australians decided to share their culture with Brisbane, a journey that the whole city of Brisbane has willingly taken.  Each year the Paniyiri festival has grown stronger and stronger and now you can expect to see over 50,000 willing participants queueing to partake in the rich heritage of this festival and wonderful Country!

Along the way, the Paniyiri festival has transformed into one of the must attend events on the Brisbane calendar and this year saw the biggest carnival atmosphere ever!  Each year there seems to be more and more amazing rides and show events that almost seems to rival the Ekka.  Along with the show-ground rides is the most important part of the festival for me, the more than 30 food stalls that showcase the wonderful Greek food from all over the country.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Casual Dining - The Burrow

What's up in Brisbane at the moment?  It's starting to get cold, seriously cold, the type of cold that you would expect in August, right in the middle of winter and not at the tail end of Autumn!  When it's this cold I often think of comfort food and stuffing yourself in a nice warm room.  So on a cold and windy night in the middle of May, we decided we would head over to West End and get some pizza!

When you think of pizza over at West End, the Burrow is the first place that springs to mind and is surprisingly one of the restaurants around town that I have never been to before.  The Burrow is a much loved and popular pizza joint in the fringe of West End.  I had been warned before that it's pretty hard to get into and had experienced this myself when trying to book in at short notice a few weeks ago.  Thinking ahead this time, I called up with plenty of notice and booked a table for two.

Being such a cold night, I dropped SC off out the front of the Burrow and then proceeded to find a park  and luckily found one just a few minutes walk from the restaurant.  I might add a few very cold minutes away and by the time I arrived I was pretty cold.  SC was already seated at our table and after joining her was disappointed to hear that they didn't have our booking but that we had lucked out and scored a table anyway.  I would have been mighty peeved if we couldn't have been seated after making a booking!

Breakfast Series - Moose & Gibson

I love this time of the year, the sun is shining and its a little cooler in the mornings.  It's the type of weather that makes you feel guilty for not getting up early and going for a jog or doing some exercise.  It's also the type of weather that inspires finding a great little spot and enjoying a leisurely breakfast and the sun, just because you can.  SC and I had been invited over to check out the latest offering from Malcolm & Danielle Watts and their partner Scott Higgenbotham over at Wooloongabba and a beautiful Autumn Sunday morning seemed ideal.

Moose & Gibson is the newest cafe in the burgeoning cafe scene over at popular Woolloongabba, situated in Jurgens Street, just around the corner from the well established cafes and restaurants on Logan Road.  Set amongst the semi industrial area of Woolloongabba, Moose & Gibson aims to bring a different type of cafe to the area, operating as a cafe during the day but also a live music venue in the evenings.  The fit-out at Moose & Gibson fits in perfectly with its surrounds and has that semi industrial feel to it with polished cement floors and exposed water pipes on the wall.

Moose & Gibson - Opening Party

There is a new venue in one of Brisbanes coolest food precincts and its certainly making waves already. Moose & Gibson is the second Southside cafe to be opened up by Australian Wallaby Scott Higgenbotham and his business partners Malcolm and Danielle Watts.  Located in semi industrial Jurgen Street, Moose & Gibson is just around the corner from some of the more established cafes of Logan Road, Wooloongabba.

Moose & Gibson aims to be a little different and will trade as a cafe during the day and a bar and live music venue at night.  Moose & Gibson opened with a bang recently with a grand opening party that included a mix of Brisbanes sporting elite and local personalities.  In attendance on the night were a number of Australian Wallabies both past and present along with some of the Brisbane Lions boys.

I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to the hottest party of the week (LOL) along with a number of other Brisbane based Food Bloggers, Melissa Loh, Miss Foodie and Feed Me Now Brisbane.  Its always fun when a group of bloggers get together and we all agreed that Moose & Gibson was a fantastic set up.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Anise - Intimate perfection

In a suburb flush with great dining and restaurants sits a gem that defies the usual concept of a fine dining restaurant.  Anise has been an institution in New Farm for what seems like generations, but is probably more like a decade or so.  This little bistro has taken a different approach to dining and is all about intimacy.  Anise seats more like a traditional bar than a diner, with practically every seat at the wrap around bar that dominates the space.

Anise has been on my list of restaurants to visit for as long as I can remember and its reputation as a beautiful little french bistro only added to its allure.  A reputation that not only led to a loyal and regular following, but led to recognition by way of a Chefs Hat from the Australian Good Food Guide.

Recently however, the Anise that most people knew and loved received a makeover by new owners Dan Finn and Thames Delaforce.  Dan and Thames, who many know from their time at 1889 Enoteca, completed the fit-out themselves and while doing so uncovered some wonderful history of the building by way of a massive Shell petrol station sign, which now dominates the interior.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Casual Dining - LIttle Greek Taverna

I love Greek food and have done so for as long as I can remember.  My first experience with Greek food was when I was a very young boy and my Mum serving me some Yiros (simply marinated lamb cooked over a spit) and then falling in love with the wonderfully flavoured meat.  Growing up in Adelaide I was exposed to a wide range of Greek restaurants due to a large Greek population and remember quite fondly eating many Yiros while there.

That all changed in 1992 when I moved to Brisbane and found that there was a relatively small Greek population in the Sunshine state and this was reflected in the number of Greek takeaway restaurants.  Simply put, I could not find any decent Greek cuisine and in particular I could not find any of the wonderful Yiros meat that I had grown to love.

What I did find was popular in Brisbane was the Turkish equivalent, the Kebab, which for me was the poor man's version of that delicious marinated lamb.  As time went on and I had given up hope of finding decent Yiros in Brisbane, I eventually found a number of establishments around Brisbane that served a half decent Yiros.  Then one day there seemed to be an abundance of places that served my favourite take away food, particularly in West End and this is where I first came into contact with the Little Greek Taverna.

Chester Street Kitchen - a transformation in the making

It's not too often that you get invited to a behind the scenes look at one of Brisbanes hottest teams putting together a new venture.  This is precisely what happened when the team from Alfred & Constance and Lucid Media invited a contingent of Brisbane food writers in for a breakfast to witness the Chester Street Kitchen redevelopment.

Chester Street Kitchen opened last year and is part of the ever increasing Damien Griffiths empire, which seems to be growing at a rapid rate in the Valley.  Originally a typical cafe, Chester Street Kitchen has been closed while it undergoes a transformation from a basic cafe into bar,  restaurant and bakery, which will have a much wider food offering including a pretty decent bakery!

At the heart of this transformation is an Alan Scott designed wood-fired oven which is a major centrepiece for the cafe.  Listening to the Chester Street Kitchen head baker Phil Agnew talking about the oven is spellbinding.  Phil is one of a handful of specialty bakers in the world that is confident enough (or crazy enough) to bake the specialty bread that will be produced at the Kitchen.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Breakfast Series - Anouk

In my never ending quest to eat at Brisbane's best, I decided that I would finally get along to one of Paddington's favourite breakfast joints, Anouk.  SC and I have been through Paddington many times and marvelled at how busy Anouk can get but never quite got around to going.  As you know, we really hate queuing anywhere for food so Anouk was always tucked away in our list of destinations for 'another time'.

We actually had a couple of options for breakfast on this Saturday morning in a few spots around Brisbane but were swayed towards Paddington due some mates moving into the suburb on that very day.  Knowing how busy Anouk can get, we had to plan well, so the alarm was set for an 'alarming' 6:45 so we could get to the cafe shortly after it opened at 7am.  As it turned out our plan was unnecessary with plenty of seats available when we arrived.  A bonus or our early arrival was scoring one of the prime seats inside, by the window, which had the early morning sun streaming in!

Anouk is in the part of Paddington that reminds me very much of parts of Melbourne and Adelaide and stepping through the front door of the cafe reminded me of some of the cool places down south.  The exposed brick walls and cool feel was juxtaposed with the ceiling fans that are so prevalent in Queensland.

Piaf - everyones favourite little bistro

A short stroll from the CBD is one of the best places in Brisbane and in my opinion one of the great spaces in Australia.  Where else in the country can you walk along the river to a man-made beach for a swim?  How many locations have literally dozens of good restaurants as well as many more cheap eats locations?  Southbank is arguably the cultural heartland of Brisbane, with amazing restaurants, theatres and museums, simply awesome.

I had arranged to meet SC after work so we could walk to Piaf together and we had no trouble finding the little French bistro.  We have walked by Piaf a million times (well, a slight exaggeration) so I knew where we had to go and before too long we were seated at our table looking over the menus.  Piaf is an interesting looking little bistro which has an even split of indoor and alfresco dining areas.  It's actually quite cozy inside with tables placed quite close to each other, but outside seems to have a little more space.  With the weather starting to cool down, SC and I were comfortable to be inside where it was a little warmer.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Le Bon Chiox - perfect for a Saturday afternoon break

It's Saturday afternoon and you are in that mid afternoon lull.  It's too soon to go for a run and there is nothing worth watching on the TV and you are feeling restless.  What do you do?  SC had the perfect solution.  She had just come back from looking over the balcony at Le Bon Chiox and declared that we must head across the road for some afternoon tea!

While there are a lot of great spots to go and eat just a stones throw away from our front door, none are as easy to get to as Le Bon Ciox.  Just a quick ride down the elevator, out the front door and cross at the lights and we were inside.  For those of you who have not heard of the Le Bon Chiox, it's one of the best French Patisseries in Brisbane and an awesome spot to get something sweet, or savoury if that's more your thing.

Walking into Le Bon Chiox can be compared to a kid walking into a candy story, but just the adult version of it.  There are cakes and pastries and sweet things in display cabinets that cater to most sweet tooths from the refined cakes for one, or the cherry danishes, or the macaroons or the croissants or the..... well you get the idea.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Breakfast Series - Cirque

There are almost too many great breakfast places in Brisbane, but that is no excuse for me having never visited Cirque before.  I have known about this New Farm favourite for quite a while and had it on the list of 'perhaps one day' breakfast cafes for me to visit.  Well today was that day and I am rueing the lost time and lost breakfasts from ignoring this gem for so long.

I had heard all the tales about how hard it is to get into on the weekends and that often there is a long wait to be seated and if I am being honest, this plays a large part of why I had not been to date.  I simply hate waiting for breakfast.  SC and I had a cunning plan, we would set the alarm for an early start and get to Cirque just as it opened.  I sure am glad we did this because even though we got there a few minutes after opening time, there were already cyclists and people streaming in.  I've always had a thought that cyclists tend to flock to cafes that do great coffee and food, and they certainly were flocking in to Cirque.

We managed to score a seat right out the front of the serving area on some of the tiniest tables I have ever seen, I mean, these were small.  Not only were they small, but they were pretty close together as well.  I took this as a sign that Cirque was keen to squeeze as many customers into their cafe as possible.  We were warmly greeted and offered menus and had our drink orders taken and then set about deciding on what to have for breakfast.  It's not an expansive menu but it is a creative menu with a good mix of contemporary and traditional breakfast offerings.  This morning SC and I both felt like traditional breakfasts.

Bistro One Eleven - I just keep coming back

Everybody remembers their firsts;  their first kiss, their first love, their first <ahem>, well, you know what I mean.  As a food blogger, the restaurant of my very first blog also holds a very special place in my heart.  The angst of not really knowing how it would be received or even if it was any good; would people be interesting in what I had to say?  Did it even matter?  After eating out for many, many years and having friends and family tell me I should stop talking and start writing about my passion, I finally put 'pen to paper'.  My very first blog was about Bistro One Eleven and I remember it well and it was their third night open.

Fast forward eight months (has it really only been eight months?) and I am still blogging strong and still loving Bistro One Eleven.  It was my turn to select the venue for our quarterly leadership lunch and there was no other place that entered my consciousness to visit, it was always going to be this wonderful restaurant.  In the months since my last visit, Bistro One Eleven had been recognised as one of the best in the state by winning a coveted Brisbane Times Good Food Guide chefs hat, a just reward for the effort of the Bistro One Eleven team over the last eight months.

Owner Philip Johnson has put it all together; an amazing team; a fantastic location; a great concept and most of all now, a loyal following.  Never resting on his laurels,  Philip is always looking to improve the team and now has a brand new head chef Mathias Anderson, who returns to the fold after spending some time at Alfred & Constance (Mathias used to work at E'cco Bistro).  The philosophy at Bistro One Eleven is simple, take the very best of raw ingredients prepared well and served without complication.  In this respect Bistro One Eleven is a standout.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Kitchen Sanitarium - The Vegetarian Experience

Vegetarian food is not a cuisine that I normally willingly submit myself to.  I'll be honest, I love meat in all of its forms, beef, venison, duck, chicken the list could go on.  When you're onto a good thing, stick with it I say.  I have a lot of friends who are vegetarians though, and they are forever espousing the benefits of a pescetarian, vegetarian or even vegan  lifestyle.  

There is a vegetarian restaurant in the CBD that is a stone's throw away from the front of my building and coincidentally right next door to my favourite restaurant Esquire.  Kitchen Sanitarium seems to be one of the more popular restaurants in town for lunch and I was keen to figure out why, so when the opportunity came to have a team lunch to say goodbye to a colleague, we decided to check it out.  Originally there were going to be two very dedicated vegetarians coming along with us to lunch, but at the last minute this number was reduced to one.  We would have to rely on the expertise of SG to get us through the lunch as our guide.

Kitchen Sanitarium is perhaps the best known vegetarian restaurant in the CBD and is run by the Sanitarium company owned by the Seventh day Adventist Church, who are considered pioneers of the health food movement in Australia.  Sanitarium are best known Australia wide for their successful breakfast series and one of my perennial breakfast choices, Weet-bix!  I would be interested in how Kitchen Sanitarium would go as a restaurant and if my poor previous experiences with vegetarian food would be repeated.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Tonic Espresso + Bar - something a little bit different

Let me start off by saying, I am not a big drinker.  In fact, you could count on one hand the number of times I have been inebriated in the last decade.  Sure, I have a drink every now and then, but normally it's a vodka and lemonade or a 'girly' premixed vodka drink.

I often get invited out to have some drinks in different situations and normally find a lame way out of going along....   But when I was invited to come along and check out the latest offering from Tonic Espresso + Bar, I was intrigued enough to overcome my natural aversion to having a few drinks and check it out.

Tonic has a really interesting background and history, with an unusual journey to becoming a hip bar in the Valley.  Tonic is actually an architecture and design firm located in Hynes Street in Fortitude Valley who have been extremely creative with some spare space and transitioned it's garage into an Espresso bar.  The espresso bar started out as a way for locals to get their morning coffee fix and grew rapidly in popularity, so much so that it was extended with tables and seating inside and out!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...