Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Festival Series - Gerard's Bar launch of the James Street Food and Wine Trail

There is so much cool stuff going on in Brisbane it really is hard to keep up with it all.  July has seen the fun that was the Good Food Month which included the Night Noodle Markets as well as the annual Regional Flavours festival at South Bank.  The fun and frivolity doesn't seem like ending anytime soon with the third annual James Street Food and Wine Trail kicking off from the 31st of July to the 3rd of August.

The James Street Food and Wine Trail is a way to share in the celebration of all that is food and wine from one of Brisbane's top food precincts.   There will be fresh produce stalls, cooking demonstrations from live pop up kitchens, tasting corners and family fun zones to tease and tantalise the tastebuds and excite the soul.  Run by the James Street collective of bars and restaurants, the Food and Wine Trail is an event not to be missed.

You can check out the details here

Monday, 28 July 2014

Mons Ban Sabai - reminded me of why I love Thai

Everyone has their favourite Thai place and usually it's quite local and within short walking distance. Living in the CBD has robbed me of a local Thai restaurant, although, believe it or not Jo Jo's in the CBD has a pretty mean Thai red curry beef that I indulge in from time to time (see post here). But when I think about our time in the 'burbs, we always had a great Thai restaurant within walking distance (although we'd normally drive, but that's another story).

In years gone by, I'd have ranked Thai as my favourite Asian cuisine but for some reason, I stopped eating Thai food, I think I'd just eaten too much of a good thing and went off it.  SC will tell a tale a little bit different, a story where I'd read an article that Thai food was the highest in calories.  Pffft, as if! Anyway, for what ever reason we stopped eating so much Thai food and Japanese became the preferred Asian cuisine (I mean gyoza and sashimi, right?!)

So I was intrigued when I was invited along to an Instagram event at one of Brisbane's best loved Thai restaurants, Mons Ban Sabai in Camp Hill.  Mons Ban Sabai, which is a mouthful of a name, is part of the Venzin Group, which runs a number of Asian inspired restaurants, most notably renowned breakfast spot Paw Paw Cafe (see post here).  I'd never been to Mons Ban Sabai before and a quick look online to see where exactly in Camp Hill I needed to go told me that it was definitely going to be a SatNav job in the car.  

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Festival Series - Night Noodle Markets

In a month that just kept getting better and better, for the first time Brisbane was host to the Night Noodle Market. As part of the Good Food Month, the Night Noodle Market pulled together a heap of Queensland and interstate eateries to South Bank for an Asian Inspire hawker style market.

Taking over the cultural forecourt at South Bank, the Night Noodle Markets has added a fresh new event on the annual calendar, which this year coincides with the annual Regional Flavours event (see post here).  Bringing together over two dozen food stalls and bars, the Night Noodle Market became a beacon of great food and fun drawing people from all around the South East.  

We decided that we would head over to join in with the festivities and check out some yummy Asian cuisine on a chilly Sunday afternoon.  Arriving a little before sunset, we were able to slowly wander around the markets and get a sense of the food available.  Near the entrance of the markets, we bumped into Jake Harris, formerly of My Kitchen Rules, running Chitty Banh Banh, who'd been surprised by the success of the markets.  Jake explained that on the previous day, they'd sold out of Banh Mi within the first two hours - thats over 900 Vietnamese rolls in short order.

As we slowly wandered around the market stalls and soaked up the atmosphere, the sun set and the Night Markets really came alive, with the lights of the stalls, the colourful lanterns and the various bars taking over from the natural sunlight.  It was quite spectacular to witness.  The only problem was with the departure of the sun came the drop in temperature!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Breakfast Series - Customs House Breakfast

After what had been a pretty huge couple of weeks at work and eating, we were feeling pretty exhausted and in need of a sleep in.  It doesn't happen very often, we're usually up fairly early on Sunday mornings so we can grab a table at one of Brisbane's burgeoning breakfast spots.  But, on this occasion, exhaustion definitely won out and off-went-the-alarm and we had a blissful sleep in until around 9am.  The only problem with lolling around in bed until 9am was that we were super hungry when we got out of bed and really felt like breakfast somewhere - oh!  The irony...

It just so happens that there is a great little breakfast spot in the CBD, right next to my apartment, that is only open on Sunday mornings from 9am.  We'd been to Customs House for breakfast a few times before, but not since I started my blog, but it immediately sprung to mind once I realised what time we'd crawled out of bed.  After a quick call to the restaurant and  a quick confirmation that we could just pop over without a reservation, we got dressed in our slightly less casual Sunday duds and made our way across the street to Customs House.

One of the most striking buildings left standing in Brisbane, Customs House was designed by Charles McLay of the Colonial Architect's office and work commenced on its construction in 1886.  Taking around three years to build and costing thirty eight thousand pounds, the riverside building was a fine example of Victorian Free Classical style and most recognisable by its copper sheathed dome. Customs House was a functioning government office building until around 1994, at which time it was sold off to the University of Queensland and is now used as a function facility.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Next Door Kitchen and Bar - the South Bank curse strikes again

I've not had a lot of luck when dining over at South Bank and over the last few years have had some pretty mixed experiences.  Ranging from the superb, Stokehouse (see post here) and Aquatine (see post here), to the fairly average and to the really poor, most of our dining experiences in the precinct had not been brilliant. So when we decided to go out with our usual dinner buddies, I was a little bit hesitant when I saw Next Door Kitchen and Bar on the list.  I'd heard mostly good things about the little restaurant in Little Stanley Street, so I thought that I'd take the chance and get in and test it out.

Next Door Kitchen and Bar poses as a 1920's style restaurant and while I could picture it in my mind if I tried really hard, I didn't really get the connection.  Sure, the tables and chairs could have resembled furniture from the '20s, the fit-out of the kitchen and main dining area more closely resembled a contemporary style restaurant with mismatched and stylish black tiles and dark wood panels.  It was a freezing winter's night, so I suspect that the very modern 'mushroom' heaters didn't help with the theme either.

We'd been to Regional Flavours earlier in the day (see post here), which had taken over a large part of Little Stanley Street and Next Door Kitchen had been pretty packed at the time.  It was also really busy when we arrived for our 7:30pm reservation and it looked as if it hadn't let up all day, so I was feeling a little more comfortable that we could be onto another winner at South Bank.  We'd arrived a little earlier than our dining companions as were able to have a look over the menu and get a bit of a feeling on what we'd order.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Festival Series - Regional Flavours

Something is always going in in Brisbane these days, it seems.  No sooner does one event finish, than another takes its place, and what's better, is that much of the festivities revolve around food.  Regional Flavours is the latest of the year's big events and is South Bank's signature food and wine festival, which has been running for six years and has fast become the highlight of the foodie calendar.

I still remember my first Regional Flavours, which was only three years ago, and the impression it has made on me.  It was a beautiful sunny winter's day, with Little Stanley Street completely transformed with food vendors from around the state showing their fare.  I resolved at that time to make sure I marked Regional Flavours into my diary and attend every year...  Of course, at the time I didn't realise that I would miss the very next year, the festival coinciding with my trip to New York (see posts here).  But as much as I loved my Regional Flavours experience, I certainty loved NYC more!

So, Regional Flavours 2014 became my first as a Food Blogger and the experience was enhanced by being a #Hunter for the Hunting Club, set up by the South Bank Surf Club (see post here).  Leading up to Regional Flavours saw me helping find other #Hunters to join in on the fun and spread the word about the event on social media.  

The Hunting Club was one of a number of major features of the 2014 Regional Flavours, with Eat-Show-Tell, All Day Breakfast and Savour at River Quay all providing opportunities to watch cooking demonstrations and celebrities involved in the food industry.  There were book signings and some pretty special guests strutting their stuff at the main stage at the Courier Mail Piazza.  We were wandering around when Master Chef's Matt Preston was performing and then doing a book signing!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Good Food Month - GOMA Harvest: Art, Film + Food

July just keeps getting better and better.  Good Food Month is a relatively new addition to the Brisbane calendar but it's already transformed the Brisbane foodie landscape.  Not only are there amazing festivals, such as the Teneriffe Festival (see post here), Regional Flavours and the Night Noodle Markets but a raft of top restaurants holding special Good Food Month events.  With so many amazing opportunities during the month, and no real way to get to them all, I've had to bee a little choosy about which ones to go to.

I started off the month heading to the Young Chef Dinner at E'cco (see post here), where some of the state's top young chef talent put on a show and demonstrated why Brisbane is fast becoming a recognised foodie destination.  One of the chefs doing-his-thing on the night was GOMA Restaurant's young gun Josue (Josh) Lopez, who has shot into the spotlight in the last few years with his creative take on native Australian food.  Winning a coveted Chefs Hat from the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide has only reinforced what an up and comer Josh is.

One of the highlights of Good Food Month was the alignment with the QAGOMA's Harvest: Art, Film + Food exhibition. Taking advantage of the food based exhibit, the restaurant, which is normally only open during daylight hours, has decided to open on Friday nights for the duration of Good Food Month.  Facebook buddy and aspiring Martha Stewart style domestic goddess and blogger, Digella arranged for a night at the museum (without Ben Stiller) for a group of Brisbane foodies and I was stoked to be part of the group.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Bavarian Bier Cafe - so.much.food

What an interesting turn of events. I'd been invited along to check out the Bavarian Bier Cafe a while ago and kept putting it off, there just always seemed to be something else on or somewhere else to eat.  I finally made a concerted effort to make a booking for lunch, but I needed to pick the right person to dine with, after all, the Bavarian Bier Cafe was as much about the beer as it was about the food.  I thought long and hard about which of my mates I'd bring along and decided that sometimes lunch buddy and former work buddy C would fit the bill.  After all, we would be doing a beer flight and it would be wasted on me.

Now I'm not saying C is a booze hound, I'd leave that up to him to say, but he does like a drop of the amber fluid and it had been a while since we'd enjoyed a break away from the office for a meal.  It was a freezing cold Friday afternoon in Brisbane, the type of day where the southerly breeze is blowing in and making the city and uncomfortable place to be.  The type of day that would be perfect being in a warm environment and eating some comfort food and sinking a few to boot.  As I made my way to Eagle Street and the Bier Cafe, I had my hands in my pockets and was just trying to keep warm as the cold breeze did its best to strip me of life.

I'd been to the Bavarian Bier Cafe once before with another mate, quite some years ago, and of course am a local, so I knew exactly where I needed to go.  Located just upstairs from Grill'd at the Eagle Street precinct, the Bier Cafe occupies a huge space and is right next to Sake (see post here). There was no way I was waiting outside for C to show up, so I made my way inside and was shown to my table, which had fabulous views of the Story Bridge.  While I was waiting, one of the waiters kept me entertained for a while and we chatted about many things, one of which was the loaded question 'had I been there before?'.  I was quite upfront in noting that I had been, a few years before, and had left pretty disappointed with the meal and the value.  Recovering quickly, he noted that both their food and approach had improved significantly over the years - phew (but I thought I'd know more in an hour or so).

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Casual Dining - Firefly pizza in the CBD

I find it interesting that the Brisbane CBD, while not overly huge compared to Sydney and Melbourne, still has little clusters of restaurants and cafes.  These little clusters almost become tribe-like during the working week, with city workers streaming out of their high rises and flooding the surrounding eateries. Importantly though, you mainly stay close to your local tribe, never venturing too far away.  Usually its just a quick bite to eat before heading back to the desk and continuing on with the daily grind, but towards the end of the week, things start to slow down a little and you can take a little more time over lunch.  It's these days at the end of the week that you might consider wandering just a little further away than usual.

My workplace is in midtown (haha, we don't officially have a midtown, but it sounds very cosmo) and my tribe rarely ventures further afield than Post Office Square.  I was recently invited to venture a little further than my usual lunch haunts, up to the top end of the city, to check out a little spot called Firefly espresso - bar - pizza.  I'm not a stranger to the top end of the city, often meeting in the Telstra Building on George Street and sometimes frequenting Cicada for lunches when in the neighbourhood (see post here).  I'd often wondered how a Firefly pizza would go and I was about to find out.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Black Hide Steakhouse - the newest Gambaro restaurant

I'd known there was going to be a new steakhouse opening up in Brisbane's Caxton Street and I'd heard that it was going to be set up by the Gambaro family, most famously known for their seafood restaurant.  What surprised me when I saw the restaurant take shape along one of Brisbane's oldest party streets was the name, Cut Steakhouse and Tapas. Now, if you're a meat aficionado or love your steak restaurants, you might have become very excited indeed.  That name is very well known around the country and the world - firstly Sydney has it's well know 'The Cut bar and grill' (see post here) and internationally renowned chef Wolfgang Puck has 'Cut' (see post here).

I'll admit to being a little disappointed when I realised that neither of these two institutions was coming to Brisbane, in particular 'Cut by Wolfgang Puck'.  It wasn't long after opening that the Caxton Street version of the Cut changed it's name to the Black Hide Steakhouse by Gambaro.  

I'm definitely a huge carnivore and I was always going to get along and check out the Black Hide Steakhouse, but it wasn't until the recent Brisbane Times Good Food Guide list of new hatted restaurants that I was sparked into action.  Not too many steak restaurants in Brisbane have chefs hats, so I wanted to get in and see if the Black Hide was indeed better than some of my other favourite steak joints (see list here).  

We'd decided to get along for a mid week visit, knowing that Caxton Street can get a little crazy on the weekends.  While it's close enough for us to walk, we hopped in the car and cruised over to the Barracks, where we could score a free park (as long as we were less than two hours).  Black Hide is only a quick stroll from the Barracks and we were soon standing out the front of a very masculine looking restaurant.  The wood facade gave the restaurant a modern feel, which was reinforced once we walked inside to the modern looking fit out, with big bar down one side and dining tables, the other. The feeling of masculinity only increased once we realised that apart from one waitress, SC was the only female in evidence.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Deer Duck Bistro - New Chef and new styling

I always find it intriguing how a restaurant will survive with the loss of a venerated and successful chef. Will it dive, survive or thrive? Urbane is a great example of not only surviving when a chef leaves, but thriving to whole new levels - think of the chain there - Ryan Squires to Kym Machin to Alejandro Cancino.  All award winning chefs and all able to keep Urbane one of the most relevant and successful restaurants in Australia (currently number 12 on the Gourmet Traveller list of top 100 restaurants and two BT Good Food Guide chefs hats).

One of the edgier restaurants in Brisbane over the last few years has been Milton's Deer Duck Bistro, a suburban bistro with an interesting edge (see post here).  It's unusual to find such an eclectic and interesting restaurant in the 'burbs, but Deer Duck Bistro had managed to find its footing and thrive, all thanks to creative owner Nicholas Cooper and his equally creative head chef Minh Le.  Minh, with huge aspirations of his own, had left Deer Duck to make the big step from chef to owner-chef with his (now) award winning restaurant The Foraging Quail (see post here).

Minh moving on from Deer Duck had left a hole that would be hard to fill, but with change comes opportunity and owner Nicholas Cooper grasped that opportunity by securing new head chef Chris Hagen.  With two and a half years under his belt as sous chef at Urbane, Chris had developed a style learning from some of the best chefs that Brisbane has seen with an aim of taking that learning to produce technically brilliant and highly flavoursome food.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Breakfast Series - Deedot Coffee House

Who would have thought that visiting a suburban cafe for breakfast would cause such a divide?  Last weekend, we decided to get out of the city and visit The Rare Pear (see post here), but in doing so, exposed a simmering competition.  Located within sight is another Holland Park favourite cafe called Deedot Coffee House, and it seems as if it has as many fans as The Rare Pear.  I needed to get along and check out Deedot to settle the neighbourhood debate, once and for all.

There is a strip mall of shops along Logan Road, which went through one of those council rejuvenations a few years back.  The idea was to pretty up parts of Queensland suburbs with the lure of making them attractive to retailers.  I'm not sure that its effects were immediate, but there is no doubt that a few years later, there seems to be the type of energy in a suburb that brings a couple of cool little cafes to the same strip.

We'd seen how busy Deedot was the previous week and resolved ourselves to an even earlier start to ensure we secured a table without the dreaded long wait for a table.  If we'd thought it was cold on our previous visit to the area, we were assaulted by an even colder morning, not great when you're up so early.  I even had to pull out my leather bomber jacket from storage, just to make sure I'd stay warm.  It's funny how things go, there were hardly any diners when we arrived at Deedot but the Rare Pear just up the street was going gangbusters!  We easily secured a table of our choice and had a look over the menu.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Good Food Month - Young Chef Dinner

If you're a foodie and/or you love eating out, then you'd be pretty excited about the Good Food Month, a time for celebrating the amazing restaurants and chefs we have in our beautiful riverside City.  For the last couple of years, the Fairfax Group have expanded their well known Good Food Guide from Sydney and Melbourne to include Brisbane.  This is not only recognition that Brisbane has arrived on the national scene, but has been there for a long time.

The month of July is filled with many different events, sponsored by Brisbane restaurants, which highlight just how fabulous the produce, incredible talent and dedicated the foodies are.  One of the first events in Good Food Month was the Young Chef Dinner, this year held at Brisbane's iconic chef Philip Johnson's E'cco bistro.  The dinner was a six course degustation prepared by the six finalists of the Good Food Guides Young Chef of the year.  

You'd imagine that a meal prepared by Brisbane's best and brightest up-coming and already here chefs would be pretty special, and you'd be right.  Festivities kicked off with welcome from E'cco's Philip Johnson and the Good Food Guide's Natascha Mirosch and a brief introduction to the young chefs, before the culmination of a day's (and lifetime's) hard work kicked off.

I've eaten at E'cco many times in the past and it was great to see the venue decked out with white linen and share tables, and every spare nook and cranny filled with diners, all with anticipation in their eyes.  I was really happy with our table, which was at the front near the kitchen and had the proud mothers of Ben Devlin of Esquire and Braden White of Ricky's on the Sunshine Coast.  Sharing the meal with the proud mothers was a fantastic experience and gave us a pretty unique view of the meal.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Breakfast Series - Felix Espresso & Wine Bar

As a foodie, I'm forever looking for those hidden little gems.  As a self confessed 'city-slicker', I get a huge sense of satisfaction stumbling across a little part of Brisbane that is new to me.  Combining the two into my food blog means that I get to tell all of you about these little parts of our fair city that you may not have known about. Felix Espresso and Wine Bar in Burnett Lane is just such a gem.

I must admit that I'd walked up and down Burnett Lane a heap of times before I even noticed that there had been an addition to the Brisbane bar and cafe landscape.  Tucked right out of the way, Felix fills out the space that for the last ten years has been used as Adelaide Street's Record Exchanges store room.  It's not until you actually stop, take a breath and look around you that you notice these things and it wasn't until I'd taken that moment that I'd even observed the other changes to the lane.

As is often the case, once it had entered my orbit, I was destined to get along to check Felix Expresso and Wine Bar out.  One of my good buddies, DruBoy, had been visiting Felix since the day it had opened and asked if I'd want to get along and share a breakfast with him one morning, in what had become his favourite city resting spot.  DruBoy did warn me that Felix was a little different to other cafes around town and that I'd have to be open to selecting something other than my usual bacon and eggs for breakfast.

We'd arranged to meet for a 7:30am breakfast on a Friday morning, which just co-incidentally happened to be one of the coldest mornings on record.  We both live within easy walking distance of Burnett Lane but I arrived just a little bit earlier and was able to secure us a prime spot in the very little cafe.  Felix, which is quite tucked away, is just up a flight of stairs that takes also takes you to the back of the Record exchange, has enough room to comfortably sit about fifteen people.  It's small, but it uses space spectacularly, with the main dining area residing in a sunken lounge area that looks out over colourful Burnett Lane.  The view is made even more colourful by the tinted windows that dominate the front of the room.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Flaming Olive - New winter wonderland of a Menu

April this year saw the introduction of a new restaurant to the Brisbane dining scene, one that went largely unnoticed by many, but one that caught my eye. There was a bit of a tale about how I first came across the Flaming Olive, which involves the Courier Mail and McDonalds, two brands that I don't often mix with (see post here).  Always on the lookout for new dining experiences, I booked in and went along to check it out.  Not having super high expectations, I was a little gobsmacked at the quality of the meal and the amazing job Head Chef Wayne Brown had done with the menu.

I was super excited to learn about the Flaming Olive's first major menu change and could hardly refuse Wayne's kind offer to come in and check out the new Winter menu.  Changes of season often mean changes of menu and I was keen to see what it would mean for the Flaming Olive and what wonderful tweaks Wayne would make to the menu.  I'm usually not enamoured with winter menus, which are heavy on the slow cooked meats and root vegetables, so I went in half fearing that I'd not love the changes.

We arrived a little before our 7pm reservation and took a risk on McLachlan street by securing a park 15 minutes before the street opened up for parking.  It was a calculated risk because pretty much every street park was taken and I could hardly resist the vacant spot 'calling my name' right out the front of the M&A Lane, the home of the Flaming Olive (and half a dozen new Valley dining spots).  It was a score!

We were shown to our table, right up the back of the restaurant and next to the kitchen and after a few minutes of perusing the new menu had Wayne come over to say hi and explain a little bit about the menu. Suffering the effects of a lost voice, the ordinarily quietly spoken head chef struggled through letting us know that it was a little different from normal winter menus and he hoped we'd enjoy it.  We had the option of picking some items on the menu that caught our eye or letting Wayne send out a selection of courses in a mini tasting menu (turned out to be more than SC could eat).

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Cheap Eats - Spoon Deli at Festival Towers

I was having one of those days.  You know the type, back to back meetings to all parts of the city with little or no time in between.  It seemed as if I was going to have to go without lunch, which I am OK with on a fast day (see five two) but definitely don't love doing the day after a fast.  I was pretty darn hungry.

Rushing from one side of the city to the other has it's challenges but I'd managed to gain fifteen minutes by leaving a meeting early, which meant that I could grab a quick bite to eat.  The problem with wandering around the CBD at lunch time is that just about everywhere is packed and I didn't have time to wait in a queue.  Walking past one eatery after the other, I was getting close to my destination and I'd still not found somewhere to grab a bite.  Panic was setting in (well, not really but it adds to the drama).

Reaching the corner of Albert and Charlotte Streets, I wandered past a little cafe that is usually quite busy but was strangely quiet.  Given it was one of my last options, I wandered into Spoon Deli at Festival Towers.  I'd been intrigued by Spoon, which at one point in Brisbane's history was just about the hottest cafe chain going around.  I remember trying to get in for breakfast many times and giving up due to the long queues.  That was before the rise of the unique-little-cafe and the spurning of the cafe chain which eventually led to a reduction of Spoon Cafe's around Brisbane.

It was the lure of a cheap hamburger that had me walking through the doors.  I could have tried the Miel Container just around the corner (see post here), but at 12:15pm, it would have queues to the botanic gardens (well, not quite that far).  I'd walked past Spoon on many occasions, which has a big banner advertising $10 dollar burgers.  I was sold, a burger and shake would go down a treat, especially in my post fast hunger daze.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Casual Dining - Sugo Mi

I could not believe how much Oxford Street at Bulimba has changed.  It's quite staggering really, but then again, it has been around twelve years since I was a Bulimba local.  I remember when I lived just around the corner, off Riding Road, thinking that the sleepy little street had heaps of potential.  It's fair to say that Oxford Street is no longer that sleepy little strip that was crying out for more.....

Continuing my latest quest to seek out the best pizza joints in Brisbane, I was lured back over to my old stomping grounds with the promise of some amazing pizza.  A little Italian restaurant with a funky name had garnered a reputation for producing some of the best pizza this side of Naples.  Sugo Mi, which roughly translates into 'sauce me' was the object of my desire and it would have taken more than a freezing cold winter's Sunday evening to keep me away.

I'd called earlier in the day to make a reservation at Sugo Mi, but was given a very definitive 'no reservations' over the phone before the phone abruptly cut out.  Not sure if I'd experienced a soup nazi moment (Seinfeld fans get it, but for the rest see here).  Undeterred, I didn't bother to call back but made a mental note to get there early, just in case we'd miss out on a table (this has happened at Beccofino when arriving too late).

Monday, 7 July 2014

Breakfast Series - The Rare Pear

I've recently struggled to get some inspiration for Sunday morning breakfast.  Every time I look down my list of breakfast spots to try, the list gets shorter and shorter.  I'm not yet ready to start revisiting all of my favourite breakfast spots or even checking out some of my favourite dinner spots, that have awesome breakfasts.  

During the week, one of my FoodMeUpScotty followers had posted some great looking photos on Facebook that started a lively debate about which breakfast spot is better in Holland Park.  Using that, I decided that I'd get out of the city and travel to find out which of the Holland Park cafes was best and after a flip of a coin, commenced our journey to The Rare Pear.

Not getting out of the CBD for breakfast very often, it was no surprise that I'd never heard of The Rare Pear before.  But, as is usually the case, there was a serendipitous moment when I realised that the Holland Park cafe had recently made the UrbanList '50 Meals You Should Have Eaten if You Live in Brisbane | Reader's Choice' (see link here).  

If you will pardon the pun, The Rare Pear is from a pair of cafes, one in Holland Park and the other in the Samford Valley.  The Holland Park Rare Pear has head chef Mathew Bird in control of the kitchen and he's designed a breakfast menu that is quite creative with a range of contemporary and traditional breaky options that looked quite appealing.  Having one of his dishes included in the UrbanList is a big deal and showcases that the menu created is a beauty.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Festival Series - The Teneriffe Festival

I still remember my first time fondly.  We were blissfully unaware that the inaugural Teneriffe Festival was underway and out for a morning walk through Newstead and Teneriffe.  It was pretty random to be honest, we just picked a direction and head towards Teneriffe, thinking a long walk along the river would be a great idea.

As we rounded the corner of Commercial Road, we could see some commotion a little further up the road and as we got closer, we could see that the street was closed off and there seemed to be some sort of street party (big understatement).  That first year of the Festival was a random occurrence, but we've made our way to the Teneriffe Festival each year since.

In the five years that the festival has been running, we've watched it slowly consume more and more of  the trendy inner city suburb and this year was it's biggest yet.  I couldn't believe how vibrant and incredible Teneriffe becomes during the festival, with live music, fashion shows, laneway parties and all-so-much-food.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

127 Bar and Bistro - another CBD restaurant that just made my favourites list

I've mentioned many times in my blog that I'm a 'city-slicker', which is a term I don't really like but describes me pretty well.  I live and work in the CBD and love every minute of it.  Working in the CBD with offices in a couple of different locations means that I often walk from one end of the city to the other for meetings.  This has two impacts, it helps keep me fit and slim :) and it means that I often walk the city streets and get to see the subtle and not so subtle changes that happen in Brisbane every day.  My most common route takes me up Charlotte Street, which leads me to the point of this blog.

I'd been watching with interest over the last few years as a new apartment block called the Midtown slowly take shape.  I always pay attention to new apartments, you never know when a beautiful new home becomes available, but also because most buildings going up nowadays have some sort of cafe or restaurant attached.  I walked by 127 Charlotte Street hundreds of times watching and waiting, waiting and watching before something started to take shape.  The space in 127 Charlotte didn't look too big, so I naturally thought that it would be a small cafe, servicing the apartments above.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I received an email inviting me along to the opening of an exciting new bistro in the city and was delighted to see that it was the little spot in Charlotte Street, now called 127 Bar and Bistro.  This post is not about the opening part for 127 Bar and Bistro, although I went along with over a hundred guests to welcome in the opening of Brisbane's latest inner city dining spot and had much fun and frivolity.  MC Sofie Formica did a wonderful job keeping us all entertained, while head chef Travis Crane impressed the crowd with an experimental dessert buffet.  It was a sight to behold and I will sneak in a couple of photos from the party at the end.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Casual Dining - Colle Rosso

It had been a little while since I'd fallen into a Sunday night rhythm of hitting an Italian restaurant for either pizza or pasta, but after our visit the weekend before to Sorellina for pizza (see post here), we felt inspired.  I've checked out most of the Italian restaurants in and around the Brisbane CBD, but not all of them, and after a quick look around, decided that Red Hill favourite, Colle Rosso was long overdue for a visit.

Colle Rosso has been around for a couple of years now and it's slowly been building a loyal fan base of locals.  Located on Musgrave Road, Colle Rosso is only a few minutes out of the CBD and actually much more convenient than you'd expect.  It was a freezing cold Sunday night when we decided to visit, so it was definitely a trip in the car, but it's close enough to the CBD that we'd be comfortable walking in warmer weather.

We'd parked the car just across the street from the restaurant and made our way across busy Musgrave Road and by the time we'd hit the front door, were eternally grateful to be out of the freezing (well, cold for Brisbane) wind and into the warm and inviting dining room.  It was a pretty quiet night, with only one table occupied when we arrived, and were shown to our table, which was right at the front of the restaurant.  We had a chuckle about our location, which was strategically great for the restaurant (showing that diners were in the restaurant), but being next to the massive plate glass windows, it was a little cold!

The dining room at Colle Rosso is quite an inviting space, with lots of Italian memorabilia over the walls including an homage to the world game - a glass enclosed number 10 guernsey from a much loved football side (soccer).  We didn't have to wait for menus to be delivered, they were already at the table and we set about deciding on what to have for dinner.  My intention had been for us to have a couple of pizzas again but SC was soon in a quandary, with some sensational looking pasta options.  In the end, we ended up mixing it up with pizza and pasta.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...