Friday, 27 November 2009

Search for the best brekkie – Café San Marco

If you are looking for a breakfast with a river view, it’s hard to go past Café San Marco on the board walk at Southbank.

It’s a bit of a South Bank institution, having been opening its doors for more than 15 years.

Located a little upstream from Southbank’s famous beach and just across from the CityCat stop, this café has outstanding views across, up and down the river.  We sat on the outdoor terrace and watched a parade of craft, from jet skis to ferries, work their way up the river. The passing parade of people jogging, cycling and strolling showed just how well loved this part of Brisbane is.

A CityCat would be the perfect way to arrive here plus you’d avoid paying South Bank parking fees, although we managed to find street parking for just $4.


We were here for breakfast, but the house specialty is seafood.  Their special Sunday offer of Moreton Bay Bugs and champagne for two persons @ $45 each would be worth checking out.

Today’s breakfast was also on the specials list and included Mimosa Eggs Benedict, with a glass of champagne orange juice and eggs benedict ($13.90). Our other selection was a berry pancake stack.


The two eggs had rich yellow yolks and came perched on English muffins and smothered in Hollandaise sauce.  There was a choice of smoked salmon, ham or spinach as an extra. The touch of chervil was delightful.

The pancake stack came with a rich berry sauce and decadent thick cream for an unbeatable combination.

Breakfast on weekends from 8 to 11.30am.

41b South Bank Parklands, + 61 7 3846 4334

www.cafesanmarco.com

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Search for the perfect cupcake - Vampire Cupcakes at Cafe Le Net


If you don't understand all the fuss about New Moon or think Twilight is just a time of day your @nowhere.com

Lift your street cred with a quick trip to the movies to catch the latest vampire flick and satisfy those unnatural cravings with a vampire cupcake from Cafe Le Net at Indooroopilly Shoppingtown made by the lovely Lisa Magnus, priced at $3.50.

Like the movie, these cupcakes have a soft marshmallow exterior icing with the touch of otherworld fangs. Bite in deeply and you'll discover a luscious red berry centre hidden in the moist sponge cake.

Bottom line:  good cupcakes with a red twist (probably better than the movie)

Find them at Cafe Le Net next to the cinemas at Indooroopilly Shoppingtown, 318 Moggill Rd
Indooroopilly. +61 7 3878 1679

Monday, 23 November 2009

Hunter Valley Chateau with style

I lunched at 1889 Enoteca in that quirky top end of Logan Road at Wooloongabba last week and the meal was outstanding. However the credit goes this time to Executive Chef of the yet-to-open Château Élan at The Vintage, Tony Maher.

Set in the Hunter Valley, Château Élan is a new, five-star golf and spa resort opening in February 2010.

And if I wasn’t sold on features like special menus to entice teenagers, sky walk ways that provide a less public way of entering and leaving the spa, and beds that move at the flick of switch, I would go for the food alone.

Tony whipped up two courses that had everyone at the long table in the Enoteca cellar commenting on the flavour. Generously, he is sharing the recipes (see below) so do give them a try. I was most impressed.

The $30m development, just two hours north of Sydney, has been co-conceived by the group behind the prestige Château Élan brand in Atlanta, Georgia.

Offering luxury retreats for up to 200 guests, the resort comprises a new ‘Destination Spa’, a collection of super-luxury spa suites and a series of private lifestyle villas. All rooms include original artworks, spa baths, Nesspresso Essenza coffee systems, French Thalgo bathroom amenities, digital entertainment and online connectivity – my sorta place.

It sits among the celebrated fairways of The Vintage – the Greg Norman-designed golf course and home to the NSW Open. Its elevated position means views over valesand vines as standard.

Chateau Elan




Seared chilli salt tuna
with a salad of apple, fennel and spanner crab, lemon dressing

Wine match - 2008 Brokenwood Semillon

Ingredients 1pax
Tuna sashimi grade 100g
Chilli salt 20g
Caramel dressing 20ml
Spanner crab cooked 40g
Green apple julienne 20g
Fennel shaved 20g
Pickled lemon julienne 5g
Eshallot julienne 5g
Micro celery cress ¼ punnet
Micro Basil ¼ punnet
Lemon dressing 20ml

Method:
Lightly coat tuna portion in chilli salt, sear in hot pan on all sides, and reserve at room temperature. Mix together salad ingredients. Slice tuna, dress with caramel, place crab salad on plate and dress with lemon dressing.

Chilli salt 20pax
Fried eshallots 100g
Fried garlic 100g
Dried chilli 40g
Sea salt flakes 75g
Castor sugar 75g

Toast dried chilli, in a robo coupe process eshallots, garlic, chilli and salt to fine powder, mix in sugar and reserve for use.

Caramel dressing 20pax
Palm sugar 100g
Dark coconut sugar 50g
Black pepper corn 20g
Garlic clove 2
Red wine vinegar 100ml
Fish sauce 50ml

Lemon Dressing 20pax
Lemon juice fresh 100ml
Forum chardonnay 50ml
Pukara lemon evoo 100ml
Grape seed oil 200ml
Castor sugar 50g


Pickled lemon
Lemons 6
Rice vinegar 100ml
Caster sugar 100ml

Julienne lemon peel without pith, bring to the boil, refresh under cold-water repeat process two more times.
Bring sugar and vinegar to the boil, add blanched lemon. Remove from heat and allow to cool reserve for use.





Hunter Valley duck breast
with confit leg parcel, celeriac and pear puree and steamed gai lan

Wine match 2006 Tyrrell’s Stevens Shiraz

Ingredients
Duck breast cleaned and scored 1
Confit duck parcel 1
Celeriac and pear puree 40g
Truffled pears 5pc
Gai lan ½ bunch
Duck jus

Method:
Sear the duck breast on lightly salted pan without oil, cook to render out fat, lightly sear bottom and finish in oven. Duck to be served medium rare.
Roast duck parcel in the oven for approx 10minutes, reheat puree and spoon on plate, reheat pears and jus. Steam gai lan and season with salt flakes.
Slice duck along the grain and fan out, place pears on top and finish with jus. Place parcel on gai lan.

Confit duck
Duck Maryland 10
Rock salt 400g
Garlic 3clove
Star anise 8pc
White peppercorns 20g
Cinnamon 2
Juniper 20g
Thyme 1bunch
Bay leaf 3fresh
Tarragon 1bunch
Parsley stalks 2 bunch
Duck fat to cover

Rub salt with half quantity of all herbs and spices to release flavours. Lightly salt duck for a minimum of four hours and no longer than six. Heat fat & remove salt from duck and place in fat with remaining spices. Cook at 120C for 11/2 to 2 hrs or until soft to the touch. Remove from fat and shred while hot, place in a shallow gastro norm tray that has been lined with greaseproof paper place another sheet on top and press overnight under weight. Once pressed remove from tray and cut into rectangles.


Duck parcel
Confit duck
Tunisian brik pastry
Butter
Roll as per spring roll wrapper.

Celeriac and pear puree
Celeriac cleaned and diced 800g
Pears peeled cored and diced 6 each
Pink peppercorns dried 20g
Thyme 1/2bunch
Milk
Water

Place thyme and pepper in cheese cloth and tie, place the celeriac, pear and cheese cloth bag in a pot and cover with equal quantities of milk and water, simmer to soft and puree in a bar blender, pass and season, reserve for use.

Truffled pears
Corella pears pealed cored 17cut into 6th
Butter 100g
Castor sugar 100g
Truffle oil to taste
Sea salt

Sauté pears in butter and sugar until lightly caramelised add oil and salt remove from heat and reserve.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Beaujolais Nouveau Day at Belle Epoque

It is the law…French law. Corks will pop, snails will race, music will sound and French cuisine will be plentiful when Brisbane’s Belle Epoque French Bistro at Emporium stages a celebration for Beaujolais Nouveau Day. 

Each year the new Beaujolais is ceremoniously released on the third Thursday of November, beginning one of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world.

Thanks to fine tuned logistical precision planning, Brisbane’s Belle Epoque French Bistro has 11 cases (132 bottles) of Beaujolais Nouveau winging their way from Paris at exactly one minute past midnight on 19 November to arrive less than 33 hours later in time for the venue’s own Beaujolais Nouveau uncorking celebrations - "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!".

The party on November 20 from will feature free flowing Beaujolais Nouveau available from multiple bars plus food stations dishing up Black Pearl cheese and charcuterie, freshly shucked oysters and other seafood along with a patisserie station of mignardies, pastries, macaroons and live crepe flambée.

More information: +61 7 3852 1500 Belle Epoch 
Belle Epoch, 1000 Ann St, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Read this and weep

Read this and weep! 

Bar Barossa’s Triple Treat Dinner with Hutton Vale, Radford & Spinifex is on tonight and fully booked says Darren Davis. And at $90 per person that’s no surprise.

Here’s the menu -
Freshly shucked Coffin Bay Oysters with lime & lemon
Fresh local Prawns
2008 Hutton Vale Eden Valley Riesling
2008 Radford Eden Valley Riesling

Salt & pepper Quail on shaved cucumber and watercress salad with Barambah yoghurt
dressing
2009 Spinifex Barossa Grenache Cinsault Mataro Rosé
2009 Spinifex Luxe Barossa Valley Mataro Grenache Noir Shiraz Grenache Gris Rosé

Kassler (smoked Pork loin) on baby potatoes with sauerkraut, Dutch carrots, baby balsamic
onions & jus
2008 Spinifex Barossa Papillon Grenache Cinsault Mataro Shiraz
2007 Spinifex Barossa Taureau Tempranillo Carignan Cabernet Sauvignon Graciano

Braised lamb shank pie with Careme sour cream pastry on potato mash with green
pea puree and shiraz jus
2005 Hutton Vale Eden Valley Grenache Mataro
2006 Hutton Vale Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Barossa Valley Cheese Company Wanera & Blushing Princess & Udder Delights Heysen Blue
with Maggie Beer condiments, muscatels, crisp bread and Barossa Bark
2006 Radford Eden Valley Shiraz
2002 Hutton Vale Eden Valley Shiraz

Is your mouth watering and are your eyes filling up? Me too....  I loved the food last time I was at Bar Barossa.


Search for the perfect cupcake - Mountain Larder Deli



A yen for a bike ride saw us heading to Mt Tamborine on Sunday.  It was a great morning with blue skies although a little hot.

Find for the day was the newly opened Mountain Larder Deli owned by ex chef Michael Taylor. Although eating options are plentiful on what's known as 'Gallery Walk' on Tamborine, there are few places where you can put together your own meal to take out and enjoy in the the wonderful World Heritage listed surrounds.

Mountain Larder Deli has got it sewn up with a great range of meats, cheeses, sandwiches, wraps and other speciality foods. Michael really knows his cheeses and his range includes imported items you won't find elsewhere. He's happy to offer a taste as well.

I'd love to go back when I have an esky to try some of the locally cured bacon. Yum.

Another great idea of Michael's is the picnic packs that he has available for hire for the day or free with food purchased from The Mountain Larder.  I would certainly go one of those filled with their food.  They'll even wash up for free when you bring it back.

But the most important items, the ones which made my eyes light up, were of course the cupcakes.  Made by staff member Caroline, the cakes come in small and large sizes and have very cute printed paper cases around them.  They are a rich butter cake recipe with a sweet, slightly crunchy, well flavoured icing.  The strawberry cupcake had a small dollop of strawberry jam near the base and I saw another with a similar treatment. I love those unexpected surprises when you bite into a cupcake.

Do yourself a favour and check out this shop on Gallery Walk.

We also visited the MT Brewery and had a coffee at Olive Cafe.

My favourite place to stay on Tamborine is Witches Falls Cottages.

The Mountain Larder Deli,
Shop 1, 151 Long Road,  Gallery Walk
Tamborine Mountain. +61 7 5545 4111

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

FBI expands hospitality

Sometimes it’s all about who you know and a great example of the power of connections is FBI, the Queensland Food and Beverage Industry (QLD FBI).

QLD FBI is an independent organisation created by chef, restaurateur, business owner and industry identity, Martin Duncan. It aims to provide opportunities for like-minded professionals and encourage beneficial business relationships. The organisation generates events within the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast regions which provide attendees the opportunity to get together, meet, network, share information and resources in a relaxed, fun environment.

The ongoing philosophy of the QLD FBI is that strong industry relationships encourage professionalism and stability which provides longevity for businesses. Great things can happen over a beverage and conversation.

I've attended many FBI events and can only agree that the sharing and contacts have been more than worthwhile.  Many of my media colleagues also attend.

Martin Duncan is relaunching the FBI website at an industry event on Monday 30 November 2009, at Merlo Coffee headquarters in Bowen Hills.

www.qldfbi.com.au will provide free information to the public as well as value added membership content including contact databases, tips from industry experts, online advice, industry news, event calendar listings and downloadable educational recourses specific to the industry.

QLD FBI is run as a membership association and membership fees are $200 per annum. To
celebrate the website re-launch memberships are being offered at a discounted price of $150/annum with payment not required until February 2010.

The people who can most benefit from this organisation are restaurant and café owners, managers and staff, chefs, local producers, suppliers and beverage representatives, media and Government departments.

The website re-launch event is an opportunity to meet some key people in the industry and to learn more about what QLD FBI has to offer. If you’d like to attend the launch RSVP to 07 3262 3077

Friday, 13 November 2009

Low stress cocktails


I’m the sort that likes to keep options open, so friends dropping in for a drink or a sudden urge to picnic at the beach are often on my agenda.  That’s one of the reasons why I’m liking these new cocktails from Smirnoff.

Die hards will say they are not as good as the real thing, but given that they take a fraction of the time, I’m prepared to compromise (and it’s not much of an ask).

With one or all three of these bottles in the fridge, I am ready for a Friday night drink on Monday or Tuesday or Sunday.

I reckon I could hide the bottle and impress some of my friends with my cocktail making ability as well.


There are three flavours:
Vodka Mojito –a  blend of Smirnoff Vodka, Kaffir Lime Liquor and natural mint flavour.(my fave)
Grand Cosmopolitan  -Smirnoff Vodka, Triple Sec Liquor and a splash of cranberry juice.
Pomegranate Martini - Smirnoff Vodka, pomegranate juice, Meyer Lemon Flavoured Liqueur, and natural lemon flavour.

Here are some comments from my testing panel of seasoned drinkers-

Baristerboy: I was surprised by the Mojito - it wasn't syrupy and sweet. The Pomegranate Martini was like a Double Black with red stuff.
Perpetualstudent: A cheap solution to a cocktail when you're out that hasn't lost any of the taste. Sweet but still has a subtle bite.
Che13: The Mojito had an interesting taste - definitely a cheap but still classy way to drink. Not too sweet or strong. I really like it. It's good with mint.

Top tips
  • Keep your Smirnoff Cocktails chilled in the fridge
  • The Grand Cosmopolitan is good chilled, poured straight into a tall glass over ice, or shaken with ice first. Garnish with lemon or lime.
  • The Vodka Mojito can be topped with soda water and garnish with a wedge of fresh lime and a handful of mint
  • The Pomegranate Martini can be served chilled or with the juice of 1/2 an orange and a 1/3 lemon squeezed in a Martini Glass

Smirnoff Cocktails retail at $22.99 at bottle shops.

Win a three pack of Smirnoff Cocktails!
To win one of five gift packs leave a comment below and share the name of your favourite cocktail!

Search for the best brekkie - Seafood Lovers Cafe, Margate



It sounds a bit silly to send you to a seafood cafe for bacon and eggs, but I can tell you it's worth it.  

This place is a little gem with well priced food and great ocean views. At $9 for a 'big brekkie' I was not expecting the world, but when it arrived I was amazed at how much there was on the plate.  A little inspection showed that careful arrangement created the illusion of abundance and there was no more food than normal, but it certainly was good value for the price.  My only criticism is that they used cheap margarine on the toast instead of butter or something that tasted like butter, and the sausage - not my sorta thing at all. The rest of the meal was great and the views, despite the cloudy, sometimes rainy day, were of the sandy shore of Moreton Bay. 






For the uninitiated, Margate is near Redcliffe, about 50 minutes' drive from the centre of Brisbane. It is a coastal strip which features one of Moreton Bay's longest mainland stretches of sand beach. It also boasts a long, flat boardwalk promenade, making it ideal for those who like to walk, cycle, rollerblade or even scooter.


Seafood Lovers Cafe, Shp 2/ 139 Margate Parade, Margate.

 

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Best burgers - Freestyle Tout




On a recent visit to Freestyle Tout I discovered their Freestyle burger special which includes a gourmet burger, chippies, alioli and a beer - all for $15. If you don't want the beer, you can have a soft drink instead.
I loved the burger and the chippies (I am something of an expert on chippies) were just as I like them - crisp, hot and not at all fatty.

Freestyle's menu has quite a few things I would like to try including Chilli salt calamari served on an Asian style salad $18.90 and a Peking Duck Salad with watercress and bean sprout salad $17.90.

If you have a late start on the weekend but still crave a real brekkie - Freestyle Tout at Emporium and West End do all day breakfast from 9am on weekends. There's nothing more disappointing than being unable to get a bacon fix when you need it - thumbs up to all day brekkie!

Of course Freestyle is best known for it's desserts. I've tasted many of them but my favourite is the chocolate macadamia brownie which comes swimming in dark chocolate sauce with chocolate fudge ice cream - be still my beating heart!

I've also seen a Chocolate Delux Sundae, which includes marshmallows, vanilla, chocolate fudge and macadamia ice creams, disappear amazingly fast.

Freestyle West End also has The Red Room, a semi private room which seats 14-18 guests.

Freestyle Tout, West End
Corner of Browning, Melbourne and Boundary Street
West End +61 7 3255 3288

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Search for the perfect cupcake - Dukes Deli


My eagle eye spotted this cupcake while I was shopping for lunch on Sunday at beautiful Sunshine Beach, just south of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.

This area is the world's best kept secret. Great coffee shop, great deli, several very good restaurants and a welcoming bar all in one strip of shops in Duke Street.

If you feel adventurous, just wander down the road a bit to the Surf Life Saving Club for above standard club food and views to die for.  On Sunday arvos there's even great live music.

But back to the really important stuff - the cupcakes!  The cabinet included both small and large cupcakes and they were well priced - just $2.90 for a large one.  From experience, I was not expecting much at that price and was very pleasantly surprised.  The cake was moist and flavoursome, despite coming from a cold cabinet, and the icing was shiny, hard and sweet - like royal icing. There was a jaffa on top and a touch of yummy chocolate under the jaffa.  

Bottom line - A good cupcake - well worth the money.

Sunshine Beach Deli, 46 Duke Street, Sunshine Beach  +61 7 5474 5611.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Belle Époque Duck Liver Parfait

This Duck Liver Parfait recipe from new Belle Époque Head Chef Trent Robson could be just the thing for the silly season when we tend to do rash things like entertaining large crowds of people. It would be perfect served with condiments like confit onion, cornichons and warm French bread.

Well travelled, Trent has spent time at The Firestables in Wimbeldon Village, UK and also at Kew Gardens working at two-Michelin-starred restaurants, The Glasshouse and The Trompette under Chef Antony Boyd. Trent won several Gourmet Traveller red stars at establishments like Double Cream in Coorparoo and Luxe on James St and then went out on his own at Noi on Brunswick St; a tapas and wine bar, before becoming Executive Chef at Pier Nine. In 2009, Trent put his stamp on 1889 Enoteca creating some innovative Italian cuisine. He now calls the French Bistro Belle Epoque home, where he creates authentic, inventive French bistro food.

Duck Liver Parfait
Makes 2 large terrines

2kg duck livers cleaned
¼ bunch picked thyme leaves
120g butter
800g softened butter
90ml Cognac
35ml Grand Marnier
750ml Madeira or port

Soften shallots and thyme in butter then add liquid and reduce until liquid is 300ml volume.
Cool. Blend together with the cleaned livers and softened butter. Pass through a drum sieve and repeat (blend and sieve). Season with salt and pepper.

Line the terrine mould with Glad Wrap with a little excess overhang and before placing mixture inside and covering with excess. Cook at 75 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes depending on size of terrine moulds. Serve with

Belle Époque, Emporium, 1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, +61 7 3852 1500

Monday, 9 November 2009

Play and stay

If you are planning a big night in the Valley tonight but have a Cinderella side, The Limes is the place to be at midnight.

Guests on their roof top bar until closing time at midnight can stay the night at for $99 – the price of a nice bottle of wine or a CBD parking fine.

Guests and Cinderellas must visit the front desk in person at midnight to make their booking which is dependent on room availability.

It's another of the quirky differences on offer at Limes. (I'd be tempted to stay the night just to eat the Dello Mano brownies on offer in the rooms.)

You also get to wake up in plush ‘Ploh’ beds and breakfast under blue skies on the rooftop – all inclusive.

I've enjoyed the roof top ambience of the Limes several times and can report that lounging under the cabana is an enjoyable way to pass the time - especially with a few hot chippies (the food kind). When it rains they drap the cabanas with tarps and it's just like having your own cubby house again - true!

This super special offer is only available in person to patrons at the roof top bar and is offered subject to room availability. Rooms for the special cannot be pre-booked over the phone or internet.

The Limes Hotel, 142 Constance St, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
+61 (0)7 3852 9000

Thursday, 5 November 2009

What are you doing for Christmas - Kingfisher Bay


Kingfisher Bay on Fraser Island is another of my top spots to stay. I've been there several times with family and just as a couple and had delightful experiences. I would highly recommend a full island tour with one of the rangers who will take you to places you never would discover on your own.

I like the idea of escaping Christmas madness and heading to an island for the silly season – if only I could take my dog. (Note to my nearest and dearest – I would take you too!)

Kingfisher’s Seabelle restaurant has a six-course Christmas menu featuring fresh produce with a bush tucker twist. Traditional turkey breast will be served with pepperberry and illawara plum stuffing, and the Christmas ham will be glazed with honey – that’s me.



There are several more casual restaurants at the resort and they are serving up local seafood amongst other menu items.

Christmas Day lunch sittings start from 11.30am. Christmas prices start from $90 per person (or $45 for children 8-14 years) and include marine transfers. Ferries will depart from Urangan Boat Harbour to the resort at the special times of 0900, 1000, 1100 and 1145; returning 1500, 1530, 1630 and 1700 (approximately 45 minutes).

My tip would be forget the ferry and just stay.

If you don't know where Kingfisher Bay Resort is - just head north of Brisbane till you hit Maryborough and turn right to Hervey Bay (about 4 hrs drive or fly much quicker). Take a ferry over to the island. It's a world heritage area and absolutely fabulous. Go and enjoy.

Kingfisher Bay Resort


Unleash your inner Vinyl Star


Have you ever mimed into a hairbrush in front of the bathroom mirror? Been caught dancing and singing at the top of your lungs to your favourite track in peak hour traffic? Wondered what your face would look like on the cover of a bestselling album?

Add a twist to your visit to the Good Food and Wine Show (6 – 8) November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and unleash your inner Vinyl Star at the [yellow tail] at the Vinyl Bar.

At their Vinyl Star photo booth you can choose your favourite music style, get your picture taken and wait as it is immediately transformed into your very own album cover. Whether it’s Bob Marley’s dreadlocks, Madonna’s purple leotard or Bono’s trademark sunglasses. You will get a photo of your cover to take home, and the best covers of each day will be displayed in [yellow tail]’s very own Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame at the Show. The album cover will also be available for download at www.yellowtailwine.com

www.goodfoodshow.com.au

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Search for the perfect cupcake - Oliver & Co


I first stumbled across these cupcakes when investigating Jimbour Wine's new city cellar door which also is housed in the Oliver & Co premises.

Oliver & Co is a great foodie find. There's plenty of parking underneath (how rare is that in South Brisbane?) and the store is filled with all the sorts of goodies you might need for a great meal - lamb roasts marinated in native mint (got to check that out further), pre cooked duck breasts, a nice selection of quality fruit and veg, pantry staples and gourmet treats.  Just about anything you could want really.  There's also a row of old fashioned lolly jars where I found sour ears (don't ask) which my little boy likes.  I got both kiddies a lolly bag.


Food options are extensive and I saw a good range of pizzas on the menu but my mission was cupcakes and coffee, a very necessary refuel after a big Melbourne Cup day (thank you Kimberley and the Brisbane Hilton).

The cupcakes here are made by Lulu, according to the very helpful and pleasant counter staff. She lives at West End and makes for a couple of outlets, they told me. They are well priced at $3 each.

Although they all looked very visually appealing, we just choose three to try. Rose, lavender and choc mint.

The rose had a delightful piece of turkish delight on the top and a lightly flavoured rose icing on a plain butter cake.  I would have liked a little more flavour in the icing and something more in the cake.

The lavender cupcake was strangely appealing with its lavender coloured icing topped by a red cherry.  The icing flavour was stronger but the cupcake still a plain butter cake.

The choc mint cupcake had nice crunchy bits in the icing which had a pleasant milk chocolate flavour. The same choc flavour was also in the cake.


Bottom line:  I liked these cupcakes but there was no surprise factor which I've come to expect in a great cupcake.

Find Oliver and Co at 104 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane. +61 7 386 5342

Monday, 2 November 2009

The meal that feeds twice


The 2009 StreetSmart Australia ‘Dine Out to Help Out’ campaign kicks off from November 9.  Now in its sixth year, the campaign makes it easy for anyone to get involved and raise vital money for grassroots charities supporting homelessness.

For six weeks leading up to Christmas, diners at restaurants across Australia can support Streetsmart by making a voluntary donation of $2 to their table’s bill to aid StreetSmart.

Highest StreetSmart fundraiser for 2008, Andy Georges said that Il Centro is backing the cause 100 percent.  One of Brisbane’s favourite CBD restaurants, Il Centro was named National and Queensland Fundraiser of the Year 2008, for raising $6,542.00 in last year’s campaign.

“StreetSmart is a unique bridge between the community and small, grassroots agencies that assist people experiencing homelessness.  I encourage people to make the choice to dine out at participating restaurants and contribute to the campaign.  It’s a simple action that really has big impacts for those on the fringes of our community,” he said.

Running from 9 November to 24 December, ‘Dine Out to Help Out” sees 41of Brisbane’s best loved restaurants participating in the initiative including Freestyle Tout, Mecca Bah, e’cco Bistro, Montrachet, Brett’s Wharf, Baguette and Boardwalk Bar + Bistro.

“The beauty of this campaign is that anyone can be a part of it and make a valuable contribution. Why not book a table at a participating restaurant with your group of friends? Or organise your annual work Christmas party at a StreetSmart restaurant? It’s an immensely enjoyable way to help those people who, at this time of year, can find life on the streets tougher than ever”, Mr. Georges continued.

StreetSmart Australia is calling for local diners in Brisbane to take part in the ‘Dine Out to Help Out’ event over the next two months.  Every single dollar collected is then donated directly to support homeless refuges and charities selected based on their need and proximity to participating restaurants, and will help support the 25,000 people in Queensland who go without a bed each night.

See the complete list or donations can be made at any time on the StreetSmart website .

StreetSmart last year generated $260,000 with a grand total of $830,000 since commencing in 2003. Adam Robinson, StreetSmart Australia CEO, says the organisation is aiming to surpass the $1,000,000 mark with this year’s campaign, and attributes the success to the simplicity of the concept:

“The amount generated every year is remarkable, given that the campaign only runs for six weeks. It’s easy for both the diner and the restaurant. We’ve found that diners are proud to be part of the grassroots movement, adding $2 onto a meal they have already enjoyed and helping to feed the homeless on their doorstep”.

With the proceeds of the 2008 initiative, StreetSmart funded 63 grassroots projects that are delivering emergency aid as well as longer term programs helping to move people out of homelessness. 100% of funds raised through participating restaurants go to homeless organisations. All administrative costs to run StreetSmart are covered through sponsorship and volunteer efforts.

Grants support a diverse range of projects and services including food, shelter, and funding for projects which assists disadvantaged people to reconnect with their community and tackle longer term issues. 

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