Sunday, 27 October 2013

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.

The idea behind the TweatUp was to get a heap of foodies together and taste the new Summer menu then tweet like crazy and the tweeting started well before the first sign of food.  After we had walked through the spectacular and beautiful bougainvillea arbour to the Surf Club and climbed the stairs to our dining spot for the evening, we were taken aback by the stunning views of the Brisbane CBD - snap, photo taken and up on Twitter (#SouthBankSurfClub).  There are a number of dining areas at the South Bank Surf Club but none is more amazing than the top deck area which is large enough to seat forty people comfortably.  

As is our usual custom, SC and I were the first to arrive so we had a great opportunity to chat to restaurant manager Ben Roberts about the night and the restaurant.  Interestingly enough having a celebrity chef's name associated with a restaurant doesn't always equal great success.  In the early days the restaurant suffered a little from really high expectations of customers coming in looking for a fine dining experience provided by Ben O'Donoghue.  While Ben O was heavily involved in the set up of the menu and restaurant, he was not the day to day chef, which was what people were expecting.

Being first also provided us the option of picking our seats and so I orchestrated seats with a great view of the CBD but also great lighting, I did want to take a heap of photos after all.  It was not too long before the area was packed with foodies and guests of South Bank all eager to snap off photos of the food from the new menu and tweet them over the blogosphere.  Ben Roberts kicked off the evening explaining the concept of the new menu and running through some of the items that we would be trying on the night.  The style is all about fresh produce and simple flavours, letting the local produce speak for itself.  It became very clear that we were in for a treat!  

As we chatted to our new friends around us at the table the first of the starters was delivered, smoked sardine soldiers - South Australian smoked sardines on sourdough soldiers with fine herb mayo, watercress and fresh lemon.  The little soldiers were lined up on the plate as if they were going into battle and in a way they were, but unfortunately none of the little soldiers would survive the battle.  There was a lovely smokiness to the sardines which was offset nicely by the slightly bitter watercress and the sweetness of the herbed mayo.  I went back for seconds and then thirds for these little troopers. Snap - #sardinessoldiers #SouthBankSurfClub

Head chef Tye Higgins gave our table a lovely little anecdote about the next course, the Moreton Bay oysters Rockefeller.  The sauce was originally made to go with escargot but the richness of the sauce also went well with oysters, with one customer commenting that the sauce was as rich as Rockefeller, the richest man in America at the time.  I actually prefer my oysters au natural but if I had to choose a second favourite way of devouring the lovely delicacy it would be with that rich Rockefeller sauce.  Snap - #OystersRockefeller #SouthBankSurfClub

Last of the shared starters of the night was a chunky tomato bruschetta with basil, garlic, goats curd and Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar.  There were some great flavours on the bruschetta with the acidity from the vinegar and tomato balancing out the goats curd.  I'm not a big fan of bruschetta normally but as far as this type of starter went, it was quite nice.  Snap - #bruschetta #SouthBankSurfClub

The idea on the night for the TweatUp was for the entrees to be share plates and for us each to select a main and dessert option, this is quite hard when all options look great.  The main items were chicken, bugs, salmon and ribs so the choice was somewhat easier for me, I was only going to get a seafood option from the menu. After agonising right up until the last minute I blurted out the Bugs as the option to the waitress, which seemed to be a popular choice for those around me.  The marinated chargrilled Moreton Bay Bug looked beautiful when presented and had a lovely aroma that wafted around the table to get my saliva glands operating.  The bug meat was cooked to perfection and slid out of the shell very easily, it was sweet and delicious and carried a bit of heat from some chilli, not too much but enough to make it interesting.  The mango, beansprout, mixed lettuce and capsicum salad that accompanied the bug was refreshing and lovely.  My only issue with the dish is that I wanted more bug!  Snap #MoretonBayBugs #SouthBankSurfClub

The other dish I got to sample was SC's BBQ Beef Ribs, sticky house glazed ribs with crispy chat potatoes, smoky paprika salt and burn scallion sour cream.  The ribs were humongous and looked incredible with a heap of meat on fat bones and as soon as SC touched the flesh with her fork the meat just fell away from the bone. The sauce was sticky and a little sweet from the hint of the paprika and worked wonderfully with the tender beef.  The chat potatoes were cooked round and flat like fat potato crisps and were lovely after being dipped in the sour cream.  Snap - #Ribs #SouthBankSurfClub

Dessert was a little easier for me to decide on, there were only two practical options for me, the creme brulee or the dark chocolate fondant.  The fondant won out easily and came delivered with rhubarb beer jam and mascarpone with the rhubarb beer jam really intriguing me.  My fondant was cooked extremely well and once I cracked open the outer shell of dark chocolate the gooey centre oozed out all over the plate.  The dark gooey chocolate and the slightly bitter rhubarb jam worked pretty well together but once I included the creamy and sweet mascarpone to the mix the result was a party going on in my mouth, a wonderful disco party where everyone was invited.  Snap #Fondant #omnomnom #SouthBankSurfClub

It was amazing how quickly the evening passed by, before we knew it many of the invited guests for the night had bade their farewells and left for the evening.  The night was a success though, I had been tweeting like crazy and so had all of the guests around me.  It was pretty amusing really, there would be lots of chatter and raucous behaviour one minute and then complete silence the next as photos were taken of delivered food and tweets sent.  My strategy for the night was to use Instagram and link it through to my many other social media, which worked a treat.

There is no point having an event like a TweatUp if the food is not up to scratch and I'm happy to say that all of the food we sampled from the new summer menu was lovely.  There is a great mix between creative, fresh and interesting food to keep the foodies happy with a diverse range of options that would keep any Surf Club member contented and delighted.  

There is a lot going on at the South Bank Surf Club, it's in a fabulous location where the only way to arrive is through one of South Bank's many and famous Bougainvillia arbour paths or along the wonderful Brisbane River.  The views of Brisbane make this a great place to come along and have a meal, but the quality and freshness of the food will keep you coming back, and back and back!

**SC and I were invited guests of the South Bank Surf Club for this event

What better start to a meal at a Surf Club than lifesavers?  The TweatUp details and ## hashtags
SC chose the Australian Cheese selection for dessert, there was a lot of cheese!
The creme brulee looked lovely too but I wanted the fondant
Snap - #TweatUp - so many phones and tweets going on at once
The South Bank beach and Brisbane river in the background
Head Chef Tye telling us about his food philosophies!
Just in case you didn't know it was a surf club - surfboards
The amazing view of the bougainvillea arbour, beach and CBD lights
There is a huge bar section that fills up on a sunny Saturday afternoon!
Our table with the glorious view of the CBD in the background

South Bank Surf Club on UrbanspoonSouth Bank Surf Club


  1. Great post and stunning photography! South Bank Surf Club really does have super views... and the food looks delicious! Yum.

    1. Thanks Deana, the photos came out nicely :) There was some top nosh there alright! Amazing views and perfect weather for a good night at the SBSC

  2. Sad I missed out on this one, looks like it was an awesome night!

    1. Its a shame Jess, but you were off enjoying another night at the Birdcage, I think the SBSC would have been a better one though, it was great :)

  3. Nice photos and you guys really are amazing and doing good work with South Bank Surf Club. Looking at these photos above I can guess that how much you have enjoyed that night at the restaurant.

    1. Thanks James, it was a fun night and a great spot. We did enjoy the night, great company and amazing food :)


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