Music at Tokonoma

From 3pm this Sunday (August 2) you can enjoy the sounds of Yu Sammy, a locally-based Japanese singer and songwriter at Tokonoma Gallery & Green Tea House.

The Japanese Australian food at Tokonoma is quite unusual and deserves to be tried. On my last visit I particularly liked the artistic presentation of food.

Margaret Price who owns Tokonoma says Yu Sammy plays acoustic guitar beautifully and sings with a rich and soulful voice. He will be performing some classic Japanese songs plus his own. Magaret will also be introducing Yumi, a Japanese R&B singer and Isa, an 8-year-old songbird, performing for the first time.

It's a free entry (no cover-charge) event so just head along and enjoy! The café will be open as usual from 10am till sunset. Please check out our website for the menu. Most items will be available on this day as takeaways if you wish to eat while enjoying the music. And, yes, Tokonoma is licensed.

Margaret also says Tokonoma is looking for musicians interested in showcasing their talent by playing at the café.

442 Gold Coast Springbrook Road, Mudgeeraba, Gold Coast. p 5530 2378
Café Open Wednesday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 10am-sunset
Gallery: Wednesday-Sunday 11am-3pm


Melbourne my way - Bar Lourinha

Bar Lourinha is a great restaurant in Little Collins Street. It's a small walk from the city centre but easily achievable. We walked past it the first time as the sign is quite small. I even noticed it and thought that it looked like a good spot for dinner but continued because we were on a mission. Luckily we found our way back.

It was quite crowded when we rolled up early on a Saturday night. We had a cocktail in a corridor while we waited for a better seat and a spot for dinner. Next stop was a cosy seating area at the front of the restaurant and then it was on to a stool at the bar. The restaurant was very busy and we felt lucky to be there at all.

The decor is quite eclectic with and obvious Spanish influence. Lots on the wall to inspect while you wait for your meal.

The tapas style menu was interesting and well described. For my companion and me the standout dish was Yellowtail kingfish pancetta with lemon oil (see photo). We are both still thinking about this nearly a month later. The lemon flavour was just divine.

Another surprise was the Baby carrots ( see photo) with lavender and dill. Who would have thought carrots could taste so good? They were heritage carrots from Daylesford according to the wait staff and deliciously tender but with a unique carrot flavour. Mmmm - want some more right now!

We also ordered Roasted cauliflower & pistachio but this dish was probably a little too similar to the carrots for us to fully appreciate it.

The couple beside us were enjoying Mooloolaba prawns on skewers. I'd bought some of those at the market recently and can only agree with the wait staff on this one - they are the best prawns in Australia, especially in winter when they are sweet and firm.

They also enjoyed some churros which also looked wonderful.

The service was prompt considering how busy the restaurant was and courteous. Bar Lourinha does not accept dinner reservations but does take lunch reservations. Their menu changes frequently but prices range between $15 to $16 for tapas style mains.

Bottom line:
This is a buzzing restaurant with interesting food that's well worth a visit.

Bar Lourinha
37 Little Collins Street,
p 9663 7890

Bar Lourinhã on Urbanspoon


Search for the perfect cupcake - More Judy C

A visit to JudyC's Ashgrove shop is not recommended for those on a diet - there are just too many good things to resist.

I tried three cupcakes. The red cherry topped cake is a moist, dense but not too heavy sponge with a light creamy icing which is a good foil.

The peppermint cupcake is green all the way through with a lingering, refreshing peppermint flavour. It's also dotted throughout with choc chips and there are choc flakes on the peppermint icing on top.

The marshmallow topped cupcake was marbled pink inside the dense, moist cake which had a subtle marshmallow flavour.

Judy says the secret behind her cupcakes is good butter and vanilla. And that oh so smooth icing? Judy whips it steadily for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the mix so that the butter lightens in colour and the mixture becomes light and fluffy.

Born into a family of cake makers, JudyC has been decorating cakes for 18 years and it is her passion. Judy's cakes not only look amazing but they are delicious on the inside as well. The cakes are baked on premises daily by small team of pastry chefs and quality decorators.

JudyC cupcakes are available at all Bar Merlo coffee shops, Olive Grove Kenmore, Global Fine Foods Ashgrove, Veneziano West End, Monty's Chocolates Paddington and the Caddy Shack at Victoria Park Golf Course. Some of Judy's special cupcakes are only available direct from her.

Shop 1/227 Waterworks Road, Ashgrove.
p 3366 9111

Cupcake reviews coming soon:
Sweet, Southport
Sweetopia, Southbank
Carousels Cupcakes, Chermside


Denim, Southbank

Walking along Southbank on Saturday morning I stumbled on Denim and stopped for a heart starting coffee. It was Lavazza and good.

The cabinet filled with goodies caught my eye. Love the look of the Italian Peach sweets - almost too nice to eat!

There were some other serious sweets but unfortunately it was too early to put them to the taste test. I'll try to head back here to sample the wares properly.

Breakfast looked good and there were plenty lining up for a meal. There's quite a bit of seating, but much of it is backless benches so it's probably not a place to linger all day long.

Little Stanley Street, Southbank
p 3844 0302


Coffee excellence

A long time coffee drinker, I have recently become determined to find out more about the bean.

Di Bella’s Cup of Excellence and Coffee Appreciation course recently held at their Bowen Hills Roastery was an excellent opportunity to learn more.

It was hosted by Di Bella’s head roaster Anne Cooper, who took a small group through a two hour presentation covering a variety of coffee related topics with tastings. The session was held for the Brisbane Slow Food convivium (chapter) but ring-ins were allowed. The tastings were of coffee roasted the day before.


Naked sushi at Siana

The folk at Siana in Eagle Street are truly inventive. They've come up with more than a few ways to tempt diners over recent months - including a $20 curry buffet.

Now they've turned their attention to sushi with a Naked Sushi Buffet. For $20 per person diners can eat Sushi till they can’t fit in another roll with a offer that is valid Monday to Wednesday from 5.00pm with any drink purchase. The menu of sushi favourites rotates on a weekly basis with fresh produce driving the menu choices.

You might want to save this one till you are really hungry because $20 can buy a lot of sushi and all that rice is very filling. However I'd be willing to pay a little extra for Siana's superb river views.

Siana,Upper Level Riparian Plaza, 71 Eagle Street, Brisbane.
3221 3887


Broadbeach Restaurant Week

It's a hit in New York, London and Melbourne and now you can experience restaurant week at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. The inaugural Broadbeach Restaurant Week is on from 17 to 26 July and includes more than 30 local Broadbeach Restaurants.

You can visit any of the participating restaurants and enjoy a three course set dinner menu for either $35 or $55 per person depending on where you dine. Find a full list of participating restaurants and their menus at

The list includes many restaurants. The only one I've dined at is Room 81 at The Sofitel Gold Coast and certainly I enjoyed the meal.

Spicers Clovelly Estate

I've long been a fan of Cameron Matthews who has been Executive Chef de Cuisine at Siggi's at the Stamford Plaza for several years. A recent lunch there only served to remind me of the exquisite flavours he extracts from food.

Well Cameron is on the move and is now heading up the kitchen at the new Spicers Clovelly Estate high on the mountain at Montville. The word is think modern French cuisine with curing, smoking and fresh local produce like spanner crabs. His menus are promised to be online soon!

The web site says the newly opened Spicers Clovelly Estate truly is a feast for the senses and waxes lyrical about coffee and cake on the terrace, a three course dinner in the dining room, and an old-fashioned Pimms in front of the fire. Sounds like my kind of place!

It's hidden on a hill in the lush hinterland and is described as part retreat, part European estate and part home away from home. There are just 10 suites. I would expect much the same level as at Peppers Spicers Peak Lodge and Peppers Hidden Vale, both of which are very attractive places to stay with a finish of a very high standard.

Wherever possible, Spicers Clovelly Estate says they choose local suppliers, both for freshness and taste, and also to reduce food miles - a concept of which I am hugely in favour. Their list of local producers includes Spanner Crabs Noosa, Noosa Redclaw, Noosa Reds, Maleny Chilli Growers, Maroochy Springs Wines, Maleny Mountain Wines, Flame Hill Vineyard and Blind Man’s Bluff Vineyard. Some is organic, but most is the result of great care and passion on the part of small growers who are changing the face of agribusiness in Queensland, and for whom biodiversity and sustainable agricultural practices are firmly on the agenda.

This is a place to watch. Love to know what you think when visit and experience Cameron's food.

68 Balmoral Road, Montville, 4560, Sunshine Coast Hinterland. 1300 836 822


Perfectly preserved

I've been making my own apricot jam for many years from a recipe handed down from my great grandmother. It's a family tradition now and my son is the chief rum taster (a more than good slurp of Bundy is our secret ingredient).

But several other attempts at preserving have been disasters – passionfruit jam that nobody liked, orange marmalade that wouldn't set... there are more that have been conveniently forgotten.

So I can see the advantage of Taste's new monthly workshops on preserving where they are planning to cover everything from mandarin marmalade to coriander pesto.

Taste preservation expert Suzanne Combes says its a good way to cut costs and get creative in the kitchen when times are tough. Instead of a paying for overpriced cooking ingredients you can easily make many in your own home for a fraction of the cost.

“People love cooking with dried foods, exotic jams, flavoured vinegars, oils, pickles and cheeses, but buying these from up-market delis or even farmers markets can become expensive, especially when they are so easy to make yourself,” she said.

I'm so there Suzanne - my shelves have an overseas holiday's worth of preserves!

Not only is making them yourself cheaper, you'll also avoid nasty things like MSG, starchy thickeners, salt and excessive sugar.

So if you want to learn how to make Indian Spicy Carrot Chutney or Mediterranean Pickled Lemons and many others head to Taste’s in store preservation demonstrations on the last Saturday of every month from July to November. Best of all, it's free.

11am – 12noon at Taste, 3 Montpelier Rd, Fortitude Valley.

Melbourne - my way

Here's another taste of Melbourne from my long weekend visit in early July. Still got some very special eating places to share. Stay tuned!

Melbourne, My Way from Verity Stone on Vimeo.

Slow coffee

The Brisbane Slow Food Convivium (chapter) is presenting a Cup of Excellence and Coffee Appreciation course at Di Bella Roastery this Saturday.

Di Bella’s head roaster Anne Cooper will present the two hour course which runs through a variety of coffee related topics and provides tastings.

The Cup of Excellence builds a bridge between farmer, the trade industry and the consumer. It is a competition and internet auction for small, high quality growers, which rewards them financially for their niche. Otherwise, these third world farmers are tempted to increase their holdings by clearing the forest to grow lower quality high yield beans. The small quantities of beans are supplied around the world to exclusive coffee houses for education purposes. They are used for quality control and to understand the difference between regions or ‘terroir’.

Di Bella Coffee says they are the only Queensland business to have Cup of Excellence samples of winning blends from Colombia, El Salvador, Bolivia, Guatemala and Rwanda.

Brisbane Slow Food leader Dr Robert MacLennen says Di Bella’s Cup of Excellence and fair trade plan is a perfect match for the Slow Food philosophy. The Slow Food movement was formed to promote the principles of ‘terroir’ and protect small growers around the globe.

Date: Saturday, 18 July
Time: 12:30- 2:30
Location: Di Bella Roastery, 80 Abbotsford Rd, Bowen Hills
Cost: $20 Slow Food Member $30
Booking: Ring Mary O’Shea at Slow Food 07 3371 3609
General Public Price includes 500g of Di Bella Coffee
All proceeds from the event will go to Slow Food Brisbane Convivium.


Search for the perfect cupcake - Bittersweet

It's a tough job searching for the perfect cupcake but someone has to do it. This week's search uncovered tiny cupcakes at Bittersweet, a great chocolate shop at The Barracks on Petrie Terrace.

They are made by Bittersweet owner Ann Aitkinson who uses a mud cake base rather than the traditional sponge. The topping, a rich callebaut dark chocolate ganache, is a lovely velvety chocolate pile which I enjoyed and was a good contrast to the cake which was quite dense.

The small ones (pictured) are $2.50 and large $5.

When you pop into Bittersweet, make sure you drag your eyes away from the chocolates on display to check out the Acticoa chocolate which has some great health benefits. There are some new Atticoa truffles which you can use as your one a day guilt-free chocolate treat as well.


Bittersweet, The Barracks, 61 Petrie Terrace. p 3367 3323.

There's plenty of parking underneath and it's free for 2 hours if you spend $10.


Le Bon Choix

Last time I walked into this building at the pointy end of Queen Street it was a bank. Now it looks decidedly French and way too tempting.

It was Jodie's recommendation that send me on the hunt which revealed not only delicious hot chocolate but also a great muffin.

Priced at $4, the hot chocolate was not only very good but very reasonable, rich and thick with a full chocolate flavour. It didn't come with marshmallows but they certainly weren't necessary. The hot chocolate expert gave it 8/10.

The chocolate muffin was studded with delicious choc bits but still lacked a little flavour - 7/10. The texture was good but a little dry.

But the real delight was the pain au chocolat which was light, crispy with a rich, moist chocolate filling - everything you could hope for!

I've been told the baguettes are particularly good here and there's also a good range of sweet treats. It's definitely a place to check out but not if you work close by, as it might be too hard to resist regular visits. And people tell me there's another one of these on Racecourse Road - I may consider moving....

Le Bon Choix
379 Queen St
Brisbane 3229 9260 


Le Bon Choix on Urbanspoon


New at The Barracks - French Twist

Newly opened at The Barracks on Petrie Terrace is a welcome addition to the dining options, French Twist.

It only opened on Tuesday and the staff were very generously wandering around with samples of the pastries and cakes. The range was extensive and the ones I tasted were delicious.

As well as small sweet treats, there's also larger cakes and a range of breads, all French-themed.

The coffee I had was okay - I think it was a house brand but will investigate further.

The decor is decidedly French with rustic tables and chairs, old style art and shabby chic decor.

Inside there are some delightful sitting areas with comfy armchairs. It's much like being in someone's very flash lounge room. There's plenty of atmosphere here with a good adaptation of a heritage building.

Outside there are lots of tables and chairs so there should be no shortage of seating.

French Twist has stores in many locations around Brisbane including James Street and several shopping centres, so we are not talking artisan stuff here. However if they can keep up the standard from today I'll be a regular visitor, if only to read the latest magazines which are strewn over the tables. Enjoy!

Update: I've had a couple of coffees at French Twist now and can say the coffee is okay, but undistinguished. It's a house brand of Douwe Egberts which lacks any full flavour and is probably a 'safe bet' option. And the magazines are definitely not the latest - some date from 2000! If you want to browse old Gourmet Traveller mags and see how food trends have changed, this is the place to go.

French Twist is open seven days a week for breakfast until around 9pm every night except Sunday and Monday.

Update: I've been back again and the coffee is still the same. We enjoyed several desserts, mini citron tart, apple crumble and lemon cheesecake, which were rich and sweet but a little too big for all of us to consume. They've also added some planters to the outdoor seating area which makes it much more pleasant.

Update: Their custard slices are definitely the pick here. Truly delicious.

French Twist on Urbanspoon

Melbourne - Exhibitions

Wow, Melbourne – love the place. Yes it's cold (but it is winter), yes the weather has been schizophrenic (sun, rain, wind, sun – all in an hour, constantly) but wow the food is fabulous and there's much of interest to see and do.

Here's my take-


Dali – showing at the National Gallery Victoria.

Really enjoyed this very extensive showing of Dali's works. What an inspired, intelligent and crazy man. There was more than enough to look and wonder at and some creative displays (loved the room padded with red velvet cushions. We visited on a Saturday afternoon which I later found out was a record attendance. It certainly felt crowded and it was hard to see some of the works because of the sheer crush of people. A little crowd control would have been a good idea. Also many people brought their small children and babies. What three-year-old wants to sit in their pram quietly for an hour or more with nothing to see but people's legs? Not many, it would seem, most voice their displeasure, even the babies. Nuf said.

Bottom line – great exhibition but don't visit on a weekend. Do pre buy your tickets on line and jump to the head of the queue. Don't miss the amazing leadlight ceiling.

Pompeii – showing at the Museum of Victoria

My 'How and Why Wonder Book of Pompeii' was a childhood favourite so I was excited by the prospect of this exhibition. It was an interesting look at the eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pomepii with some amazing artifacts and plenty of photos and plans. The one thing missing was the human element, how the people of the city felt before and after. They were not given a voice at all, instead it was a very academic and no doubt politically correct show. Shame. I wanted to feel the earth move! It's also a lot smaller than Dali.

Bottom line – Well worth seeing but don't expect the human element. Do book online and miss the queue. Shop at the end has some great Pompeii jewellery.

Stay tuned - markets and food to come...


Bastille Day at Belle Epoque

Wow! The ways to celebrate Bastille Day in Brisbane keep coming - Belle Epoque with Lemercier is offering a three-course menu with the chance to see a Can-Can!

It's over two nights (July 14 and 15) with two sittings (6.30 and 8.30) and there's also the sultry sounds of Paris Dreaming, a classical guitar and accordion duo.

The menu is French, of course, especially designed by chef de cuisine Sebastien Labbe.

Price: $85 per head
07 3852 1500 or


Search for the perfect cupcake - Little Cupcakes

Wednesday is cupcake day on Eat, Drink and be Kerry - so cupcake hunting was on the list for my recent trip to Melbourne.

When I first walked into Little Cupcakes in Degraves Street, Melbourne, it was only for a look as it was before breakfast! The bench was filled with tiny cupcakes being beautifully decorated – so hard to walk out without one!

Little Cupcakes is a tiny but cute little shop with a French provincial style interior and just enough room for three, tightly packed tables outside in Degraves Street, one of Melbourne's very cute lane ways, filled with places to eat and shop.

We came back, of course, and bought a four-pack for $8. Individual tiny cupcakes cost $2.50 each. Mint, white chocolate, red velvet and mocha were our four choices. Each was carefully placed into a neat little box with spacers to stop them from marking. These small but incredibly satisfying bites were a delicious combination of moist cake and smooth, creamy icing. The red velvet was very similar to the one I've sampled at Poppy Cakes at Emporium in the Valley, Brisbane. Very moreish so I'm glad there were only four!

Little Cupcakes, 7 Degraves Street, Melbourne. 03 9077 0413

Little Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Bastille Day dinner

Want kick up your heels on Bastille Day? Baguette is hosting a Bastille Dinner and Party on 14 July where everyone has to dress French.

The menu includes Veloute of artichokes, sea scallops and fresh black truffles; Duck salad with foie gras; Roast venison, wild mushrooms, spinach a la creme and cassis and Crepes Suzette. There will also be live French music. Cost: $95 per person.
Bageutte, 150 Racecourse Rd, Ascot. p 3268 6168


Weekend Breakfast - Lure on Latrobe

Looking for somewhere to go for a leisurely weekend breakfast?

Every Saturday I'm going to profile a different destination where you can sit back and enjoy good food and good times.

First cab off the rank is Lure on Latrobe, on Latrobe Terrace, Paddington. I put this on my must try list when I saw a queue one Saturday morning with people waiting to get in. A good recommendation.

 It's a pleasant place converted from an old house with a large front treed courtyard and dining under umbrellas and the verandahs.

Lure has been operating on Latrobe Terrace for several years but I've only previously visited for coffee. This time we went for a late breakfast but midweek – a real indulgence.

My choice was the field mushrooms with haulomi, rocket and poached eggs on sour dough. It was very good and I'd love to have it again.

My friend went for the avocado/sourdough combo and also liked her breakfast.
The only downside was the coffee which was bitter - definitely not great. This is a real let down at breakfast when you really want a good caffiene hit. I've also heard this comment from others. My best tip is get there early and perhaps stick with tea.

Kerry Heaney

Lure On Latrobe, 24 Latrobe Tce, Paddington

Lure on Latrobe on Urbanspoon


Search for the perfect cupcake - Nourish

Listen up all you cupcake addicts - Wednesday is now cupcake day on Eat Drink and be Kerry!

I'm going to scour Brisbane for the best cupcakes available and I'd like your suggestions on where to go.

My visit to Nourish was inspired by two cupcake twitter queens @CITYPUBLICITY @MarissaTree with further encouragement from @Princess_Zo. I am holding you all personally responsible should my cupcake intake exceed my gym calorie expenditure! There will be consequences!

But how could I resist the temptation of visiting Nourish when it was touted as better than Poppy Cakes! After sampling the wares, I'm not totally sure this is true as the Poppy Cake cupcakes are a different style, but I am sure that Nourish is a place for cupcake lovers to visit and enjoy.

It's been open five months today and is run by sisters Vanessa and Carlie Oram. They are using their grandmother's recipes and boy, she must have been one heck of a cook. These are cupcakes like no other. The exceptional flavour comes from plain good cooking with a lot of love according to Vanessa who says she truly loves her job.

It was a hard choice but we tried Chocolate Devil, which has icing that tastes like uncooked chocolate cake mixture in a very good way, and Purist's Delight which reminded me of the fairy cakes my grandmother used to bake. Now she knew how to bake a sponge! The edible glitter was a definite winner.

The cake was moist and flavoursome, you could almost taste the real eggs and butter, and the butter icing a perfect compliment - not too sweet and delightfully moist.

The coffee is Australian Estate Coffee which hails from northern New South Wales. It's a light, flavoursome cup that compliments the cupcakes without overpowering them. A good choice. It's also roasted to order so it's very fresh.

Nourish has a minimum of seven varieties every day. On Thursday and Saturday look for Nanna's Orange Cake as well which is made with real orange juice and zest - none of that essence stuff.

Nourish does do high tea but you'll need to pre book as they don't normally carry the savoury items.

They also have some tiny cupcakes for just $1.50, which give a taste for those who don't want more. Go there and enjoy.

Nourish, Shop 3/68 Racecourse Road, Ascot. ph 3268 7774.
It's at the back of a courtyard strip shopping centre and there's parking out the front

Rating - Seriously good

When is Aria opening in Brisbane?

Here's the latest from Matt Moran - Aria Brisbane opening Monday 17 August.

The restaurant will seat 150 people and there's a private dining room for up to 40 guests.

The menu has been designed by Matt with his sous chef of many years, Ben Russell overseeing the kitchen. Peter Sullivan, co-owner and maître d’ of ARIA Sydney will guide the front of house and service of the Brisbane restaurant with assistance from Madeline Nieuwenhuizen.

Matt says “The menu will feature some of the ARIA signature dishes including Kurobuta pork belly and Peking duck consommé but will also have a large emphasis on seasonal local produce from some of the great Queensland suppliers, as well high quality aged meat sourced from premium producers such as Blackmores and Rangers Valley.

"We are very excited about being able to open a restaurant in Australia’s fastest growing and very dynamic city. Brisbane seems to me to have a perfect balance between work and lifestyle with a great climate to match”

Brisbane Sommelier, Adi Schuetzeneder, who has worked at Gianni’s in Brisbane, will oversee the ARIA Brisbane wine list. The list will boast a range of over 400 wines showcasing many of the great Australian wine styles. The list will focus on iconic wineries such as Penfolds, Henschke, Wendouree and Torbreck. It will also carry some locally produced wines from the emerging wine district, the Granite Belt region of Queensland - good to see.

Alexander Tzannes , the architect who was responsible for the interior design of the Sydney restaurant, has designed the refurbishment of the old Pier Nine Restaurant site.

Bookings for ARIA Brisbane will be taken from Monday August 3 on 07 3233 2555

1 Eagle Street, Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane