7 top new food cuts - news you can use

This week – it’s picnic time at Camp Hill, getting slammed on the rooftop or shaking at South Bank, new dining option at New Farm, Queensland winners and lots of asparagus love.

Anyone for a picnic?

Opening today at Camp Hill is Picnic Café, serving all-day breakfast, delicious cakes, tapas and wine cocktails for dinner.

I’ve been munching on some of their melting moments and picnic brownies and can vouch that these are indeed, very yummy.  Too yummy, in fact, as I kept their little stash of goodies all to myself instead of sharing with the family – bad Kerry. Picnic also offers gourmet foods and gift baskets for those on the run.

Owner Giorgina Venzin describes Picnic Café as a little sister to their family-owned Venzin Group Pawpaw Café at Woolloongabba.  Picnic joins the group’s other Martha Street restaurant, Mons Ban Sabai.

Coffee cool down

You don’t have to give up your favourite brew just because the temperature is soaring says  Dean Merlo (pictured above) showing his style with a Shakerato, direct from the espresso bars of Milan, Rome and Portofino.  This is a new twist, or shake, on an iced coffee with fresh espresso, milk, a touch of sugar and ice all shaken in a cocktail shaker!  Hip movements while shaking are completely optional.  Dean says it’s huge in Italy but don’t ask for it at Merlo stores until after 12 noon daily.

Game on!

Just emerging from a serious makeover, Dandys Rooftop Bar at The Fox Hotel in Melbourne Street, South Brisbane is the new evening arena for game, set and match with ace décor and a smashing cocktail line up. The fluro, tennis-themed fit out and open-air rooftop location (see top photo) makes this bar stand out from the crowd.  If you are feeling tightly strung, a Pat Cash Smash with fresh raspberries, mint and lemon curd with Bulleit Rye, Jim Bean Cherry Bourbon, lemon juice and bitters will smooth the court or the Andy ‘Bring the Heat’ Roddick Champions Margarita with jalapeno-infused Don Julio Reposado, Illegal Mezacal and house-made agave cucumber puree is sure to get the match moving.

Shake, rattle and roll

Are you a sucker for tall frosty milkshakes, swivelling bar stools, cosy booths and a pumping jukebox?  Start practising your twist and shout for the opening of South Side Diner on Grey Street, South Bank in October.   It’s another one from Harun Gencerler who has the also American-themed, popular Next Door Kitchen. When it comes to the menu, think apple pie, pancakes and retro chic eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week from October 9.  www.southsidediner.com.au

Doors open at Balfour

New for New Farm, boutique Spicers Balfour Hotel has opened its bistro-style restaurant to the public offering uncomplicated, wholesome and locally-sourced food with the generosity of home cooking but amped up with skilful techniques and fresh flavours.

"We put a lot more heart and soul into our menu compared to a high-end restaurant,”says. Head chef Peter van Lunn. "Many of our dishes keep with the theme of the old converted Queenslander - classic dishes but with a twist."

Expect mains including cider braised pork belly with white bean puree and pickled apple; hot smoked salmon with whipped goat's cheese, asparagus and crisp breads; roast eggplant with buffalo mozzarella, semi dried tomato and aged balsamic; and the wild barra with saffron, mascarpone risotto and seafood bisque; and truffled eye fillet accompanied by baby potatoes, leeks and porcini cream. Mains are priced from $14-30 and are designed to be consumed individually or shared.

Tuesday night is Spice Night where there’s adventurous twist on some of the world's most famous spice dishes like barra vindaloo, black Angus massaman and sweet potato and spinach dahl complemented by a selection of Asian boutique beers.  More at www.spicersgroup.com.au.

Go Queensland!

Congratulations to the Queensland culinary team from The Brisbane Club for taking out first place at the Fonterra ‘Battle of the States’ Restaurant of Champions in Sydney. The coveted competition saw teams of three competitors from each state battle it out in a live kitchen, cooking and plating up a two course menu for 35 guests over two hours.

The Brisbane Club team representing Queensland was captained by Australia’s 2015
Bocuse d’Or candidate and two time Culinary Olympian Shannon Kellam, alongside
Shane Keighley from The Regatta Hotel and The Brisbane Club’s apprentice chef Tara

Queensland’s entrée consisted of low temperature Huon salmon, furikame seasoning,
Hervey Bay scallop, spanner crab and cucumber, citrus meringue, with Flowerdale
Farm sprouts. The winning main course was a delicious Milly Lamb lamb loin with Rougie foie gras, and smoked belly, braised neck, brown butter and sage jus, with Flowerdale Farm
heirloom vegetables.

The meals were judged by a series of world-renowned chefs, with the Queensland
team scoring 99 out of 100 points and rave reviews to match.

This week I’m liking – Asparagus

There’s some beautiful asparagus around at the moment thanks to early winter dry conditions but they are not as bright green as normal because of cold growing conditions.

Look for firm, bright, smooth spears with closed, compact tips when you are buying and eat it as soon as possible.  If you are storing, wrap the asparagus in a damp tea towel, pop it in a plastic bag and store in the crisper compartment of your fridge.

As well as tasting great, asparagus is great for healthy blood pressure and is packed full or antioxidants and folate.

There are plenty of asparagus addicts amongst Eat,drink+beKerry followers.  Check the Ed+bK Facebook page for some of their great dining suggestions

There’s also some delicious recipes here

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was given a box of asparagus
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