Sunday, 29 September 2013

Breakfast Series - Ponycat Cafe

We didn't really plan on going out for breakfast this morning, the plan was to lounge around in bed and sleep in after having friends around for the fireworks of Riverfire.  In the back of my mind I thought we might go for breakfast but we didn't want to go somewhere and wait in queue to start off the day.  As it turns out, I woke at around 7am and held off on having my normal bowl of cornflakes until I confirmed if SC would sleep in past 8am, my cut off for heading for breakfast.  While I watched the clock, secretly hoping SC would get out of bed, I looked over urbanspoon to decide on where to go.

Sensing my mental vibes to get out of bed, SC stumbled out of bed at 7:30 and the game was on, we were off to get some breakfast.  The plan was to head over to Ponycat at Cafe in New Farm, but there were a couple of back up places on standby in case there was a queue at the popular New Farm cafe. As we drove down Brunswick Street and parked the car, we noticed that we had beaten the rush and, apart from a few diners outside with their dogs, the place was practically empty.

I'd never been to Ponycat before, despite trying to get there a number of times over the years, but I had heard great things about it.  Ponycat is well known for being a really relaxed spot where it's cool to bring your pooches down to share a breakfast with you.  This was abundantly clear with about four dogs at the feet of their owners while they enjoyed their breakfast.  As we walked into space, I was struck by the amazing street art that is proudly displayed down one wall of the cafe.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The 5th Element - still searching for the last element

Southbank is one of the most vibrant precincts anywhere in Australia but it really comes alive during the annual Brisbane Festival.  Where else can you find an open piazza that seats over 2,000 people just a few steps away from a man made beach that is open all year round?  Ever since the transformation of the old Expo '88 site from wasteland to a city playground there has been something for everyone just a short walk across from the city CBD.  One of the reasons why I love Southbank so much is that it's one of the more exciting dining precincts in Brisbane.

I had been hitting Southbank a fair bit during the Brisbane festival, getting over to the Spiegeltent for the incredible La Soiree and the transformed Suncorp Piazza for the street circus spectacular that was Urban.  I've lost count of how many times I have walked by the spectacular Santos Light Show over the last few weeks but it's fair to say that I have heard the haunting Midnight City by M83 that is a highlight from the show.  With all the time I had spent over at Southbank, I figured it was time I visited one of the many cool restaurants while the area was alive with energy and activity.

There are around fifty restaurants to choose from over at Southbank, and that doesn't include all of the mall style eateries that inhabit the centre of people's area in the centre of the area.  Surprisingly, I have not been to many of the dining spots over at Southbank, but those I have gone to I have eaten at many times.  I had to decide if I was going to hit somewhere new or go back to an old favourite and after some contemplation I decided on a compromise, I went back a restaurant I had fond memories of but had not visited for many years.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Vintaged Bar and Grill - The Butcher Block

Is there anything better than a chef shoot out?  Especially when one of the chefs is a celebrity chef with a huge reputation to uphold.  Vintaged Bar and Grill recently held a spectacular dining event that pitted legendary meat chef Adrian Richardson against Vintaged Executive Chef Jeremy Clark.   Overseeing the battle royale and providing the amazing meat for the evening was 5th generation and celebrity butcher Anthony Puharich of Victor Churchill in Melbourne.

Vintaged is one of those hidden gems in Brisbane and is tucked away on the 6th floor of the Hilton Hotel.  I've been to Vintaged a number of times and am always amazed at the majesty of the transformation that took place a few years ago to turn the dining space at the Hilton into a world class restaurant.  Designed by respected architect Mark Landini and costing around two million dollars, Vintaged is a sleek and classy restaurant that specialises in delivering beautifully crafted meat dishes. 

As I entered the stunning dining area of the restaurant and wandered past the huge chef's table I couldn't help but notice the display that dominated the restaurant and would soon become the focal point for the night's festivities.  The theme of the evening was the Butchers Block and proudly on display were many cuts of meat, some readily identifiable but many not so.  As the guests for the night started to gravitate to the somewhat confronting display, Anthony Puharich commenced the evening with a lesson on the fine art of butchery.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

One Eleven Modern Grill - A new take from an old master

It's hard for me to believe that FoodMeUpScotty started it's life just one year ago.  What started out as just a little hobby has moved to an all consuming passion, one that has been extremely rewarding.  In a strange twist of fate, my very first post (see here) was about a brand new restaurant to hit Brisbane by a well known chef by the name of Philip Johnson.  Now, one year on and at the anniversary of my first post, I find myself again writing about the Philip Johnson restaurant, only this time the bistro has undergone a transformation itself.  

Bistro One Eleven is no longer, in it's place stands One Eleven Modern Grill.  The king is dead, long live the king.

Just over a week ago there was a call to arms of Brisbane's foodie and business community, there was to be an announcement about Bistro One Eleven.  Living in the same street and feeling that my blog was inextricably linked to Bistro One Eleven, I attended the event with a keen interest to hear what Brisbane cheffing legend Philip Johnson had to say.  Fearing the worst but incredibly curious, we were told the news that Bistro One Eleven was changing its name and its style to better meet the inner city dining market.  One Eleven was to become a Modern Grill in the fashion of culinary genius Wolfgang Puck's Cut.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Casual Dining - The Meatball Company

Its amazing how serendipity works. In my recent travels to New York, one of the hottest spots around Manhattan was a rustic and cool little restaurant called the Meatball Shop. I was so enamoured with this very popular and awesome little place that I dedicated a post to the humble meatball (see post here). It was while stomping around New York and seeing how fashionable meatballs had become that I wondered why we didn't have something similar in Brisbane, I mean, how hard could it be?  This is where the world works in mysterious ways.  In my email inbox was an invitation to come and check out a new dining experience coming to Brisbane, you guessed it The Meatball Co.

Chance?  Coincidence?  Serendipity?  I just thought it was awesome that something new and exciting was opening in Brisbane.  The Meatball Company is actually part of the redeveloped Fox Hotel over at South Brisbane.  The Fox Hotel closed it's doors a while ago and had gone under major redevelopment and part of that redevelopment is the addition of the New York style eatery.  I had so loved my experience at the Meatball Shop in Manhattan, I was hoping that the Aussie version would live up my lofty expectations.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Breakfast Series - Pawpaw Cafe

A couple of weeks ago I finally got around to visiting Foxy Bean for breakfast and noticed that there was another place high on my list of breakfast spots to visit right next door.  It's not enough that Brisbane has one of the hottest breakfast scenes in the universe, now great breakfast spots are 'eying each other off' right next door to each other (albeit with a street in between).  

Pawpaw cafe is another spot that has a huge reputation as being one of the best breakfast spots around town and I was keen to check it out.  Aware that there can be fairly long waits at Pawpaw, SC and I decided to head over quite early Sunday morning, then head off down to the Gold Coast for the annual Swell Festival at Currumbin.  I'm glad we did, we scored one of the last available tables, which ended up being a great table right over by a set of open sliding windows, which let the outside in.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Casual Dining - Passion Tree sweet inspiration

One of the things I love about living in the CBD is the almost constant state of change.  When I have free time I'll often grab SC and we will just go wandering around the city and surrounds looking for new stuff.  We get pretty excited when we see an empty or derelict space get transformed, or a new building go up, or a redevelopment of a site or....  well, you get the picture.  Sometimes things change pretty quickly and other times they seem to take a long time.

When we came back from New York, we initially have the post holiday blues, I mean New York!!  To help us shake our blues we got back into the familiar wandering around town to check out what had changed and what was new.  It's actually pretty surprising how much can change in just a month and we noticed quite a few differences.  There was one major change to little old Elizabeth Street that almost stopped us in our tracks.  Passion Tree!

We didn't go in to visit but I made a mental note of a new place in the CBD to check out and added it to my list of places to visit.  As things go after a holiday, I slipped back into my routine of work and blogging the remainder of my New York travels and put the visit to Passion Tree on the back burner.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Peel Street Kitchen - an instant favourite

It's not too often that I go to a new restaurant and walk away gobsmacked and with a new top five favourite restaurant, not to mention a top two new favourite dish (Beccofino's duck ragout is still number one, only just).  But that's exactly what happened this weekend when I visited the Peel Street Kitchen.  If the name is unfamiliar to you, its because the Peel Street Kitchen is very new and has only been open for about two weeks (at the time of writing).

The Peel Street Kitchen is just a little bit 'off the beaten track' but in a rapidly developing part of the extended CBD over at South Brisbane.  As the name suggests, its located on Peel Street, just around the corner from Merivale Street and in underneath one of the new apartment blocks that seem to spring up like mushrooms after a good downpour.  SC and I had driven past Peel Street Kitchen a few times and almost went there for breakfast on a previous weekend only to detour to Lock n Load at the last moment.

We were heading out with our regular dining buddies for a Saturday night of eating and drinking and wanted to go somewhere new.  Between the four of us, we have hit almost every restaurant in town and finding a new place to eat is getting harder and harder, but TB reminded us all of the Peel Street Kitchen and it was a 'lock'.  I was initially out and about when we decided to hit Peel Street and I tried to find the number to make dinner reservations and struggled to find a contact number, even Google let me down.  After some dogged digging around I found a functions number on the website and finally was able to make the reservation.  This is something for Peel Street to definitely look into and get the phone number up on Urbanspoon and Google, it's bound to make getting a seat easier.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Alfred and Constance - Summer's on the way

There is no better time in Brisbane than spring.  The cold winds that signify the end of the Ekka and therefore the end of winter have been and gone.  It's a time of renewal, of fine weather and of endless possibilities of things to come.  As spring starts and summer approaches it's also a time of renewal for restaurants as they update their winter menus with the spring and summer offerings.  It's my favourite time of the year, with perfect cloudless days and the end of the heavy winter menus that are comforting, but all so bad for the waistline.

The first week of spring has heralded some changes at Alfred and Constance with the early introduction of the new summer menu and I was invited along to the launch party, with a few dozen of my blogger buddies, to check it out.  Owner Damian Griffiths, along with patron Chef Jocelyn Hancock decided to introduce the summer menu earlier this year so they could take advantage of the amazing and fresh produce that is produced at this time of year.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Aria Brisbane - tasting menu that missed the mark

It's amazing how often the best laid plans can be disrupted.  A group of work buddies had asked me if I wanted to come along and check out the Aria tasting menu, and of course I agreed immediately.  Plans were made, dates booked, arrangements set for babysitters and hotel accommodations were locked in and we were all set to go. Then something came up and I couldn't make it and we all decided to change the date, with some considerable effort for some.

As the second date approached and plans were all set, again I gave the terrible news to the team that I couldn't make it and that they should go without me.  Again the date was changed as the team really wanted us to go together, and again the date was changed with much inconvenience.  This was all before my New York trip and the new date was scheduled well after the trip and was locked in, rock solid!

Finally, on the third attempt to get along to check out the Aria Tasting menu we managed to pull it together, albeit with a much reduced group, which I felt a little guilty about.  After the many false starts, there was a huge amount of anticipation about heading to Aria.  The team had read and loved my previous blog post about Aria (see post here) and all had the fine diner on their list of 'must do before I die' places to eat.  Aria, after all, is one of the best restaurants in the country.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The BirdCage - still some work to do

Double date night, a time to catch up with some good mates and see a movie and have a nice relaxing dinner.  All of the movies that are out at the moment I have either seen or have no interest in seeing, so I agreed to head to see a flick that SC and I saw in New York while we were there.  While I was happy to see a movie that I had previously seen, I definitely wanted to check out a restaurant that I had never been to.  So began the negotiations with TB and CI and the search for a dining spot that none of us had ever been to.  After a few false starts and a few restaurants that were booked out, we finally decided to check out the Bird Cage over at Woolloongabba.

The BirdCage is fairly new to the 'Gabba hot spot of Logan Road and replaced the old french diner, Bistro Bistro.  I had never been to Bistro Bistro but had walked by it a heap of times going to some of the other great dining spots at the start of Logan Road.  The space that the BirdCage occupies is quite a large area that has two street frontage and has turned into a little Pan Asian restaurant.  

Sunday, 8 September 2013

New York Series - Colicchio and Sons the Tap Room

It was getting towards the end of our holiday in New York and we had ticked off all of the restaurants that I had researched and wanted to visit.  Of course this didn't mean we had visited all of the  best restaurants, it just meant that we had to get back to the drawing board and get a new list of great dining spots to visit.  We were still in our apartment in Chelsea, which opened up most of the West Side districts to continue to explore.

It was SC who had the idea of visiting Colicchio and Sons one afternoon when we were a bit stumped for a restaurant to enjoy for a dinner.  Once she mentioned the Tom Colicchio restaurant, I got pretty excited.  We are big fans of Top Chef and Colicchio is the main judge on the show, so we felt as if we knew much about the Colicchio vision about food.  It was time to put the vision to the test, so we quickly made a booking for later on that night and proceeded to make our way to the restaurant.

Colicchio and Sons is located on 10th Avenue, just behind the Chelsea Markets and was a relatively short 20 minute walk away from our apartment on the corner of West 25th and 9th.  Amazingly, after such fantastic weather for our first three weeks in Manhattan that included a heat wave, the rain had settled in, so we had to huddle under an umbrella on the way to the restaurant.  When we eventually arrived at the restaurant, we were a little wet, but the staff didn't seem to mind and welcomed us in warmly.

Esq - a new menu thats out of this world

I have found myself falling to Esq as my default 'go to' restaurant when I don't feel like cooking at home, which admittedly is a fair bit.  This might seem strange, a Three Hatted restaurant as the 'local' but I live really close and the food is simply amazing.  I have written about Esq and Esquire a few times over the last twelve months.  So it's no surprise to my regular readers that I love the food that owner and head Chef Ryan Squires and his amazing team put together.

While I really love the food, I have been telling my best friend (the Big Boy) about Esq and Esquire for a long time and he had continually refused to come along and check it out with us.  It's not a complete surprise that the Big Boy didn't want to check out my recommendation.  There is a history between us, whenever I have recommend a restaurant and we go to check it out together, the night we go the food ends up being sub par (just for his visit.....  he is cursed!).  The Big Boy now lives overseas and happened to be back in Brisbane for a quick visit, so I decided to take the risk and get him over to Esq to check it out.

There was a dual purpose for wanting to write about this particular visit, Esq has a new menu and it's definitely worth writing about.  

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Ethos Eat and Drink - creativity and symmetry

Google Maps is a lifesaver.  A bit melodramatic?  Maybe, but it's certainly pretty handy when you are in an unfamiliar city, it's dark and you are running a little bit late for a reservation at a restaurant and you have no idea where you are going.  I've always been terrible at directions and forget about the ability to read a map, I am hopeless.  I recently found myself in Hobart with an early dinner reservation and unusually for me I was running a bit late.  I had a booking for Ethos Eat and Drink and it was in a part of town that I had never been to and it was dark and I have to say that the street signs are infuriatingly missing in Hobart.  Anyway, thanks Google Maps, you got me there on time.

When I was looking around on the 'interweb' for a restaurant for dinner, there were a number of restaurants that excited me, many of which were recommended over twitter (thanks again Lani). Unfortunately my choices were restricted somewhat by the limited opening hours of restaurants in Hobart, they seem to be a Wednesday to Sunday affair in the capital of Tasmania.  Nevermind, I still had a few great options to choose from and I was particularly captivated by the approach to the menu at Ethos Eat and Drink, so it became an easy choice.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Smolt - My Hobart Experience

Hobart is just about as far away as you can get from Brisbane, excluding Perth of course, and I recently had cause to visit the capital city of the 'Apple Isle' for a whirlwind 24 hour period.  There are not a lot of direct flights to Hobart from Brisbane, but I was lucky enough to score a direct flight that would leave me with enough time to grab a late lunch.  So the question any reasonable foodie will ask in a situation like this is 'where do I go for lunch?'  

There are quite a few lovely looking restaurants in Hobart, but there is not a big blogger scene in the city, so I didn't have as many points of reference to do some research.  Of course I did a little bit of a poll on Twitter and had a few good suggestions (thanks Lani) but most of the great restaurants in Hobart are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Not being able to chose the day of my visit, it was a Tuesday and I had to deal with the hand dealt to me.  While I was somewhat limited, there were still some great options available to me and I had to decide on one.

There is a really cool area on the harbour at Hobart called Salamanca Place, which is well known for its Markets and shops, so I thought that this would be a great place to start looking.  Salamanca Place consists of rows of old sandstone buildings that were formerly warehouses for the port of Hobart Town, now converted to restaurants, galleries and 'ye olde worlde' shops.  I have to say its really cool looking and there is nothing in Brisbane that really compares, in fact it really reminded me of the Rocks in Sydney.

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Spaghetti House - not what I was hoping for

Where do I begin?  I had heard many great things about the Spaghetti House over at West End and was really excited about getting over and checking it out.  We had witnessed the development of the Spaghetti House late last year and thought it was just what was needed in the area, something a little different from the cool cafes in West End.  I also thought that another great Italian restaurant wouldn't go astray either, you can never have too much great Italian on offer.  Boy, was I wrong...  
It was not quite a last minute decision to head over to the Spaghetti House, we decided earlier this morning that it was time to check it out after having breakfast just down the street from Lock n Load. So I called up the reservations number to make the booking and was completely surprised when I was advised that the restaurant operated under a two booking system.  I could either have the early session from 5pm to 6pm and out by 7:45, or we could have the 8pm session.  I was a bit blown away, the Spaghetti House couldn't be that popular, could it?

I had locked us in for 6pm thinking that we would easily be out by 8pm, busy or not, it doesn't take us two hours to eat at a fine dining restaurant, surely we would get through a pasta dinner in this time?  I had dropped SC off at the front door while I looked for a park in busy West End, and by the time I made my way back to the restaurant, I had revised my estimates of how long it might take.  The restaurant was completely packed.  

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Number 8 - Southbank on the Yarra River

What do you do when you are at a conference and the food is not so good?  Well, if you're like me, you will head off and look for the closest decent restaurant and rectify the situation.  That's pretty easy to do when you are in Melbourne in the Crown complex, in fact, there are an abundance of great restaurants to choose from.  The only minor problem is choosing one of the many on offer, and when you are with a couple of other people, one a vegetarian, it makes the deciding a little more interesting.

We spent a few minutes considering our options, which all ranged from fine dining to ultra fine dining, thinking that we didn't want to break the bank for a quick lunch, but also didn't want just any old food. Luckily, we came across a restaurant called Number 8, which had a great looking menu and an even better looking special deal going.  The 'Lunch Indulgence Offer' jumped right out at us as being almost too good to be true, a two course meal for only $45 dollars, or a three course meal for $55.  What really stood out about this was that all of the mains were over $45 dollars anyway, so it was like getting an entree for free...  Sweet.

Breakfast Series - Lock n Load Bistro

If you sit back and think about how many cool restaurants or cafes you have walked by and thought about going into, but didn't, I'm sure it would be a long list.  There are plenty of places over the years that I have made a mental note to visit and never have.  I might also say that that list seems never ending!  

Lock 'n' Load is one of those bistros I have walked by a thousand times and always wanted to go visit.  I've walked by at different times of the day and night and it always seemed to be be filled with people enjoying themselves, be it for evening drinks or Sunday breakfast.  So when it came time to decide on a Sunday breakfast, I ran through my very long list and came up with the popular West End bistro.

Lock 'n' Load is one of many popular dining spots in boheme West End and really feels as if it belongs. Walking by, you can often hear funky live music on a Friday and Saturday night coming from its open doors and windows.  There was no live music playing when we stepped through the front doors early on a Sunday morning, and we had to settle for tunes through the speaker system.  


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...