Shiraz on the Granite Belt

No, this isn't another new wine, it's a great new restaurant.

I first sampled John Rogers' cooking when he prepared a special meal for a group of guests at the Girraween Environmental Lodge. It was fabulous food and the question on everyone's lips was 'why aren't you running a restaurant'.

Well just over a year and a half later I was able to once again dine on a fabulous feast prepared by John at his restaurant Shiraz at Ballandean which has been open 10 months. It's on the main highway so you can't miss it.

John has a thing for seafood and great connections so his seafood menu is always very special. I started with a dozen freshly shucked Coffin Bay oysters with lemon and cracked pepper which I not so graciously shared with my partner. Few things come between me and a good oyster.

This was followed bywinter 2008 Seared scallops, truffle oil potato, coriander salsa, leek, salmon caviar, a dream combination of all my favs. My partner chose winter 2008Black Angus rib fillet, sweet potato mash, port mushroom and thyme jus and was pleased he did.

After my oysters I left the dessert choice to Glen and he went for the simply described winter 2008Chocolate fondant, double cream and Baileys. Went for it was the right description - I was busy chatting with John and barely got a mouth of it because it was sooooo good. Just like liquid chocolate inside.

John told me he sources much of his produce locally, often organic and the menu changes weekly. The meat comes from Toowoomba and the seafood from Brisbane.

Other local items you'll see on the menu include venison, hare and rabbit from Ballandean.

John's plans include a four to six course degustation menu featuring organic produce sourced from within a 100 mile radius with wine matched by the glass.

There's also a great range of local wines on the list - with some available by the glass.

Photos: Top - the scallops (yum), John, Chocolate fondant dessert (double yum).

Find Shiraz at 28200 New England Highway
Ballandean. 07 4684 1000
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