Gunshop Cafe, West End
Hard not to be impressed when Chef/owner Jason Coolen spoke so passionately about his many local suppliers, about the fishermen who tweet and text details of their latest catch so he can have the pick, and the fun they have in the kitchen.
It's the sort of place where the menu is constantly changing to reflect the best available produce and there's not a laminated menu in sight!
Jason's special Queensland Tasting menu was a great round up of local tastes. The night started Stradbroke island rock oysters with a tomato and 50 year old sherry vinegar dressing. Michael Dalton of Fino Foods was on hand to explain a little about the oysters. He said they are little young at the moment and will be bigger and creamier when they come into full season in about three weeks. They are grown off Peel Island near Stradbroke Island and are Sydney Rock oysters by breed. The oyster flavour was mild and Jason's light dressing a perfect compliment. Look for them on the Gunshop Cafe menu.
Seared Hervey Bay scallops, salmon pearls, persimmon with squid ink dressing was another delight. These scallops are thicker and plumper than normal as Jason has found a source that normally only goes to export. Well done Jason! The persimmon was an unusual touch and some had to be convinced that it wasn't sweet potato!
The combination of West Queensland wild boar, Morton bay bug, ham and pineapple was an unusual but well flavoured and surprisingly addictive.
It didn't take long for my fellow diner to start gnawing on the bones of the Goondiwindi lamb rack. I'd never tasted salsify puree before and it reminded me of parsnip, sweet and white. Jason says it's quite expensive with a small finger sized tuber costing about $2. The accompaniments were Toowoomba olives and fresh peas.
Anyone who thinks Queensland doesn't make good cheese should wrap their lips around this selection - Witches Chase cloth wrapped 18months aged cheddar, Kingaroy Bunya Black brie, Gallo Washed Rind from the Atherton Tablelands and Gympie Farm ash rolled cherve. We dived onto these and almost demolished the lot. My favourite was the Gympie Farm cherve but all were stunning.
New season peach soufflé, raspberry ice cream and Queensland vanilla crème anglaise was the dessert. Loved the crunchy, fruity icecream but the peach flavour in the souffle was a little to subtle for me. I'm a full flavour gal.
The wines we enjoyed on the night came from Michael Dalton's family vineyard, Ambar Hill, on the Granite Belt. They were very good.
Bottom line: Head to the Gunshop Cafe for breakfast and then head back for lunch and dinner. You'll be pleased you did.
the gunshop café
53 Mollison Street, West End | 07 3844-2241 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 07 3844-2241