Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Beans on the Green, Bardon


Sometimes life just is a little unfair, especially when a kick arse coffee shop opens just 20 metres from your front door just before you move.

I'm already developing a habit of walking the dog down for an energising cappuccino at Beans on the Green, a new coffee shop that has opened at the front of Bardon Bowls Club on Bowman Parade.

It's got all the winning ingredients - friendly, welcoming staff, great coffee, home made goodies, pleasant seating areas, plenty of parking and easy access.


The people behind Beans on the Green are locals. Pictured above are Hannah, Toddy and Candy who were working hard at the launch event to make everyone welcome.

It's not hard to feel at home at this relaxed spot.  There's plenty of room for everyone to get comfortable and multiple copies of daily papers will see everyone happy.  Just a hint here to other coffee shops - daily papers (more than one please) are an incredibly cheap investment in customer satisfaction for very little effort.

I can see this spot taking off in a big way as the locals in Bardon are very communal and love meeting friends when out and about.

Beans on the Green is also opening early every morning to catch commuter traffic.  If you see the sign out you can pop in for a heart starter on the way to work.





The menu is limited at the moment to a few home baked goodies, including muffins, biscuits and cupcakes, but there are plans to expand into lunch type offerings.

This is a child friendly and dog friendly venue as well with plenty of room to roam and few traffic issues.





The coffee is Rouge with two blends on offer.

Full marks to every energising person who turns a disused shed like this one which has languished at the front of Bardon Bowls Club for as long as I can remember, into a great coffee shop and community meeting place. More power to you. 

Bottom line: Lots to love here
Best tip: Walk there and you can justify that cupcake.

Beans on the Green
69 Bowman Parade, Bardon.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Brisbane's hottest restaurants


The Australian's list of Australia's hottest 50 restaurants is out and Brisbane has managed to score five entries.

Included were -

Pablo Tordesillas, Ortiga.

Ortiga, Fortitude Valley
Ortiga has won awards on many levels and continues to prove it's dominance in the Brisbane food landscape. A perfect accompaniment to a trip to GOMA to see Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado

Alejandro Cancino

Urbane Brisbane CBD
New Chef Alejandro Cancino continues the tradition of innovation at Urbane with a menu that delights on so many levels. 

Petit fours at Seaduction
Seaduction, Surfers Paradise
Lifting the food offering at Surfers to a new level, Seaduction delivers on both food and position.

Ben Devlin, Ryan Squires and Cameron Murchison are the brains behind Esquire.

Esquire, Brisbane CBD
Brisbane's only three hat restaurant is no surprise on this list.

Alastair McLeod, Executive Chef, Tank

Tank, Brisbane CBD
I lunched at Tank recently and enjoyed both the food and the presentation of dishes with sauces and smokes to amuse and beguile.

Outside the Top 50 but on The Australian's must do list for Queensland were-

Stokehouse at Southbank
Stokehouse, South Bank, Brisbane
Alchemy, Brisbane CBD
Sake, Brisbane CBD
Helenika, Gold Coast
Wasabi Noosa, Sunshine Coast

Sake flight tasting at Sake Restaurant

My local must do list would be slightly different, but what about yours?  Who would you put on the list? Please leave your restaurant inclusions in the comments below.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

I went to Food Bowl and this is what I saw


It's the last event of Brisbane's first Delectable food festival today, Food Bowl, and the city Botanic Gardens is alive with food lovers.

An initial problem with 'Delectable dollars' (rumour is that they ran out) has been solved and there are plenty of happy people tucking into great food.  There's heaps of seating available with large groups gathered around tables or sitting under the trees.

And the gardens are looking just perfect.

Here's what, and who I saw.



Caroline Jones from Boucher and Three Girls Skipping

My dessert from Boucher - Meringue with mascarpone cream, babinda banana and salted caramel butterscotch sauce

Mark and Narelle Tognini, Tognini's Bistro Deli.

Andrew Buchanan and Drew Patten, The Laneway, Euro and Urbane

Peter Marchant

 Josue Lopez with friend Natalie

Morag Kobez, Emma Dalley and Sally Lynch

Javier Codina from Moda
PJ McMillan, Harvey's

My lunch from Harveys Bar and Bistro  - Beef oyster blade braised in Pedro Pedro Ximenez Sherry, root vegetables, walnut and white anchovy gremolata - so delicious

Alastair McLeod, Tank and Bretts Wharf

Bob Hamilton, Era

Ewen and Elissa Macpherson, Symphony Hill Wines

Rudy Cheong, Royal on the Park

Russell Armstrong from Armstrongs

Dan Clarke , 1889 Enoteca & Addley Clark Fine Wines.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Delectable gastronomic goodbye at FOOD Bowl


Brisbane will get a taste to remember when the inaugural delectable Brisbane food festival waves a gastronomic goodbye at FOOD Bowl, City Botanic Gardens tomorrow, (Sunday 29 July).

The culmination of the two week food-fest will be a palate pleasing parade of Brisbane’s best restaurants plating up some of their Queensland favourites.

Delectable Brisbane creative director Anthony Bastic said FOOD Bowl was a great opportunity to experience Queensland’s cooking and musical talent together.

“It’s like the closing ceremony of the Queensland Culinary Olympics,” Mr Bastic said. “This is one of those rare moments when the best chefs in town get together and strut their stuff.”

“22 of Brisbane’s leading restaurants will take their kitchens to the Gardens to offer a unique insight into how taste sensations are created - and then you get to eat it!”

The FOOD Bowl menu includes Moda’s tapas plate of marinated Hervey Bay scallops with lemongrass and grapefruit, Brents crispy confit duck with Eureka lemon and liquorice, and Harveys beef oyster blade braised in Pedro Ximenez sherry.

Visitors can bring a picnic blanket and spend the day grazing, listening to the beautiful music and enjoying a glass of wine or local craft beer knowing that FOOD Bowl ticketholders get free Translink transport to and from the event.

Entry tickets are available at the gate (from 10.30am) or online at www.delectableqld.com.au.

Tasting plates cost from $8-12; alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks from $4.

Delectable Brisbane is supported by Events Queensland and Brisbane City Council.

FOOD Bowl featured restaurants include:
           1889 Enoteca
           ARIA
           Armstrong’s
           Boucher French Bistro
           Brents
           Bretts Wharf
           Confit
           ERA Bistro
           Harveys Bar & Bistro
           Il Centro Restaurant & Bar
           Moda Restaurant
           Ortiga
           Restaurant Rapide
           Restaurant Two
           Ristorante Tartufo
           SakÄ“ Restaurant & Bar
           Stokehouse Brisbane
           Tank
           The Jetty South Bank
           The Walnut Restaurant
           Urbane
           Vintaged

Kitchen confidential - Baked eggs Spring style


I do love eggs for breakfast.

I've invested in an egg cooker which turns out boiled eggs just the way I like them with reasonable consistency.

But after making these Baked Eggs in Napoli, courtesy of a recipe from Kym Machin and Spring, I'm a convert.

This is such an easy way to prepare enough eggs for a crowd at the same time and they are truly delicious.

The secret is, of course, in the sauce and the use of rich red Noosa Red tomatoes. Vine-ripened tomatoes might do at a pinch but I really recommend getting the best flavoured tomatoes you can find.

Here's how to do it.


Ready to go into the oven

These cute micro herbs were supplied to sprinkle on top but torn basil leaves would work well too.


Can't be bothered cooking breakfast or feel like breakfast out? Spring does breakfast five mornings a week - Monday to Friday.

Bottom line: So easy, any one can make this.
Best tip: Buy these cute, flat ramekins first and tell me where you got them.  I want five more.

Spring

Friday, 27 July 2012

Bean to Bar Chocolate Adventure


I don't think it's a dietitian's delight, but chocolate for dinner certainly is filling, especially if you think of it as 10+ courses.

"Don't eat much before you come" were the instructions from Carla Burns who owns Vanilla Pod, a delightful cafe deli at Ascot on Brisbane's northside. Carla organised Steve Sheldon, who has Monty's Chocolates at Paddington, to share his 15 year chocolate journey to a packed room of chocolate lovers. 

Steve's chocolate is a perfect fit for the first of my top food criteria - it's definitely worth the calories. There's a double whammy punch of flavour in every mouthful.  He imports his chocolate from around the world but one of his faves, and mine, is Pralus from France.  Joining him in this workshop was Hugo Pralus, son of the chocolatier.

There's a lot that can go wrong in the complicated business of making chocolate but at Steve's shop you'll find those chocolate manufacturers who have gone to a lot of trouble to get it really right.

Steve's stories certainly kept us entertained throughout the night, especially his recollection of his first Brisbane storm.  The only thing that stopped him thinking that the world was going to end as the rain pelted down and the sky thundered, was the nonchalant attitude of others on the footpath.

Carla Burns and Steve Sheldon

I learnt a lot about chocolate on the night including -

*despite rumours to the contrary, chocolate is not high in caffeine, but there is a chemical is chocolate that behaves similar to caffeine.

* chocolate grows in a band around the world about 10 - 20 degrees north and south of the equator.

* the best way to taste chocolate is to start with a small corner of the block, put it in your mouth and move it from cheek to cheek and then take a deep breath through your nose.

*dark chocolate is suitable for vegan, vegetarian and gluten free diets. 

Steve started our chocolate tasting journey with a piece of chocolate made with no sugar at all.  We worked our way around the plate to finish with the sweetest pieces last.

Hugo Pralus holding some truly delicious chocolate - a must try.


My favourite chocolate on the night.

Bottom line: A great treat for chocolate lovers
Best tip: Don't eat before you go.

Vanilla Pod
Monty's Chocolates


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Chefs' Table at Spring, Brisbane CBD


Deepening Brisbane's culinary offerings, Spring Food and Wine has come up with new twist on the Chefs' Table concept by linking with local producers to create a bespoke three course menu available four nights a week.

Diners will sit around the long Cooking School table with Queensland's Chef of the Year Kym Machin working with fresh produce from the Lockyer Valley, Noosa, Maleny and the restaurant's own Red Hill garden, to create a new dining experience.


I was invited with other foodies to experience the Chefs' Table for lunch. Spring owner Sarah Hancock said the menu would change daily and give guests the opportunity to chat as their meals are created before their eyes.

And it certainly worked like that.  Kym Machin talked about the delicious leek tarts, not diet food according to him, and where he obtained his leeks.  I promised I wouldn't mention the location. :)

He also explained the process behind the creation of the delicious whipped butter (made on premise and whipped before service each day) and the warm-to-touch bread that was so fresh it was hard not to gobble up completely.

Here's Kym preparing the tartlets

House baked artisan bread and hand made cultured butter

Slow braised leek and sour cream tartlet
South east Queensland produce that will appear on the table includes potatoes from Bauers in the Lockyer Valley, poultry and eggs from Bendele Farms, haloumi and buffalo milk curd from Trevor Hart's Cedar St Cheeserie.

A small amount of the produce is grown in Red Hill by former breakfast chef Joshua Garrard. Joshua's garden is based on the principles of permaculture and allows Josh to provide a box of seasonal produce each week including kale, carrots, micro-herbs and lavender. He's also going to grow items specifically for the chefs' table.

Side salad

Tasmanian truffle
 A truffle was sitting carefully wrapped on the bench and we were able to revel in its distinct aroma before it was grated over our lunch in front of us. Bliss.

Ballontine of spatchcock, truffled polenta, chicken jus

Peanut butter mousse, raspberry whip, caramel, chocolate chantilly, French toast

Spring Food and Wine Chef's Table will run Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from July 30.  The Spring Cooking School will operate in the space on Thursday evenings.

Dishes to be introduced to the menu include Noosa spanner crab souffle with spiced mussel and tomato bisque; veal wrapped with prosciutto and sage, braised red cabbage, caramelised apple and pan juices; and Bendele Farm chicken breast served with baby peas, leeks, onions and roasted chicken jus.

It's part of a general revamp at Spring which has given much more of the premises over to tables and seen the exit of the homewares section.  There's still a casual take away bar for lunch and other goodies on the run but the restaurant is now open from 7am for breakfast through till dinner, Monday to Friday.
 
Bottom line: A great experience for food lovers
Best tip: Get the table right in the centre for the closest cheffy action.

Spring
07 3229 0460
26 Felix Street, Brisbane.

Disclaimer: E,d+bK was a guest of Spring.

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