Top cuts - Food news, views and reviews for Brisbane and beyond

What's happening food wise in Brisbane this week? Here's some top cuts from the news pile.

Get the urge


The boys at Burger Urge are back to their old tricks with more marketing that has rubbed people up the wrong way. They have come under fire for a condom letterbox drop to promote their new premium beef range with 15,000 Burger Urge branded condoms  branded “Get intimate with our new premium beef” letterbox dropped to houses in New Farm, West End and Kelvin Grove.

It seems some households are outraged by finding these in their letterbox but in these suburbs I expect many residents would just laugh or find them useful.

These guys are old hands at pushing the advertising envelope. A Burger Urge letterbox drop of 20,000 syringe pens and a recent postcard campaign of a couple intimately exploring their “one and only urge” both caused wide-spread community backlash.

If your personal stocks are running low, race into a Burger Urge store as they are giving them away in house as well. 

What's new in town

Gramercy Espresso & Eats , set to open next in the heart of the city, will be run by local Mitch Suchowacki as Queensland’s only café serving Reuben Hills coffee.

“People have been telling me how hard it is to find good, boutique coffee, and tasty lunch
options in the city,” Mitch says. “Gramercy is for people looking for quality espresso and delicious eats prepared in house daily.”

Find it opposite Georg Jenson in the Edward Street laneway of the newly refurbished Wintergarden.

Also look out for The Spaghettihouse Trattoria, new on Boundary Street in West End.

Moonshine madness



Step back to the times of moonshine, bootleggers and homemade hooch with Harun Gencerler’s Next Door Kitchen and Bar modelled on speakeasy establishments of the 1920s which opens Tuesday night. (December 18). A cocktail bar with an emphasis on shared dining, Nextdoor’s extensive drinks list includes old-style cocktails, craft beer and boutique wine served in kitsch jars and milk-bottles. Head Chef Dean Brewer has created a menu filled with shared plates such as whisky beef cheeks with creamed blue cheese polenta and smaller dishes including fresh oysters with gin and cracked pepper vinaigrette. The glamorous fit-out includes smooth timber, vintage décor and mirror detailing. Find it at Little Stanley Street, South Bank.



Barambah Wines received an early Christmas present with James Halliday’s award of a 94 point ranking for their First Grid Rack Dried Semillon 2010, the first Queensland dessert style wine to be achieve 94. It also made Halliday’s Best Wine by Variety elevating Barambah to a winery rating of 4.5 stars. Wine maker Peter Scudamore-Smith MW says “It is not a high sugar ‘sticky’ white wine but a savoury one which finishes amazingly dry to suit Christmas pudding and Stilton.”  Now there’s a tip for your Christmas table!

Go Darren!



You know Darren Davis as the former face behind Bar Barossa and Purple Palate.  Now his new ventures include Darren Davis Wine and a joint venture with Flight Centre Global, ‘Grape Therapy’ plus a mission to allow cheese lovers to access the amazing range of quality artisan products that we generally only get to see in the fancy restaurants via Corporate Cheese.

Darren's goal is to provide access to cracking cheeses, not just the plastic ones that the PA has been sent to Woollies to buy that afternoon, and he is working with directly premium wholesalers and producers to become Australia's cheese hub.

The launch is planned for the end of January.

Keep 'em busy

Melanie Townsend, Executive Chef at Vanilla Zulu Culinary Adventures, is sharpening her humour and stocking her fridge for holiday fun with a new Kids in the Kitchen course created especially for kids aged eight years and older.

“We cover a whole range of skill sets including knife skills, food presentation, pastry making, both  sugar and chocolate work, creating delicious stocks, sauces and dressings, and cookery techniques, as well as curing, reductions and preserving," says Mel.

Personally, I think anything that encourages kids to cook for themselves and fills up idle holiday hours is a big bonus.

Talk to Melanie  about dates and costs. Vanilla Zulu is located at Wilston,

Naughty or nice?


If you'd like to have a laugh with Santa's shopping list check out this clever Facebook connect experience produced by some talented locals which will pull a few strings with the big man and get you off the naughty list. Beware the bag sniffing bunny!

More lollies



I thought I had done good with my gingerbread house until Lucy Moore sent me photos of hers. Lucy decorated three houses - one each from Ikea, Aldi and Coles. Lucy says "The Ikea one was the trickiest as the gingerbread is quite firm (think biscuit) while the Aldi one was almost too soft and I fear the house will not be upright for long. I added an exuberant layer of snow (icing sugar) before wrapping them in cellophane.Thought your house looked great, but maybe you could have used more lollies!" 

After seeing yours Lucy, I agree.

It's a bake-off!


Look out for The Great Australian Bake Off book in 2013 which will accompany Channel Nine’s forthcoming The Great Australian Bake Off series, presented by Shane Jacobson and Anna Gare with Dan Lepard and Kerry Vincent as judges.

In the series, ten home baking enthusiasts will be put through a series of gruelling elimination challenges, baking a mouth-watering selection of cakes, pies, tarts, pastries, bread, biscuits and desserts, all in the hope of being crowned Australia’s Best Home Baker. The Great Australian Bake Off book will be inspired by creations from the series, with new and classic favourites for every occasion with expert tips and practical advice on how to achieve baking perfection. 

Local seafood extravaganza



I can't seem to get enough of the plump, juicy fresh local prawns around at the moment so this seafood smorgasbord of local produce at Drifts restaurant, located at SurfAir on Marcoola Beach sounds like a good idea.

SurfAir’s General Manager Martin O'Brien said the concept was designed to build support for local fisheries and producers on the Sunshine Coast as well as providing an affordable dining option for locals and travellers. “Our smorgasbord will include a selection of premium seafood, sourced from local farmers and producers on the Sunshine Coast,” O'Brien said. “For just $49 per person, guests will have unlimited access to some of the finest seafood that our region has to offer.”

Highlights include fresh Mooloolaba prawns, whole Salmon and Moreton Bay bugs. Bookings  essential.

Disclaimer:  Just sharing food love.