Top cuts - 8 food news nibbles for Brisbane

News nibbles x 8 - Qld’s Gourmet Traveller Awards, cook’s heaven, champagne room, winning chocolate, new venues and cheat’s dinner.

Winners are grinners

The good folk at Urbane  must be feeling pretty damn fine.  Not only have they earned a position at No. 12 on the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 Restaurants list, but they've also beaten Esquire  (no. 19) fairly handsomely and seen their twin venue The Euro come in at No.66. Congratulations owners Andrew Buchanan and Drew Patten (pictured above) and chef Alejandro Cancino (pictured below).

It's a shame that Ortiga, No. 28, is no more, but also good to see Aria, No. 39 and newcomer Gerard's Bistro at No. 64.

Gold Coast's The Fish House made No.74 and the Sunshine Coast's Long Apron at No 79.  Finishing off the Queensland contingent in these national awards are Stokehouse No 92 and Wasabi No 92, Nu Nu from beautiful Palm Cove in North Queensland at No. 99 and 1889 Enoteca at No 99.

That's 12 out of 100 which is no too bad when you consider how many more restaurants there are in Sydney and Melbourne. It's called punching above our weight.

And remember, as Gourmet Traveller says, every restaurant listed in the guide should offer a winning dining experience; any that achieve a placement in the Top 100 represent a higher order of excellence.

See the whole list here.

Have kitchen, will cook

Top marks to Angela Hirst (pictured above) for coming up with Wandering Cooks, Brisbane’s largest multi-kitchen and cooking community for food entrepreneurs. Designed around the unique needs of market stallholders, caterers and café suppliers, Anglea has transformed a warehouse off Cordelia Street in Fish Lane, South Brisbane to give food businesses a place where they can lease a licensed commercial kitchen, have access to storage, work with a network of key suppliers or distributors and seize marketing opportunities to boost their profiles. Cooks who want to stop wandering can find out more here

Did someone say champagne?

Just celebrating its 90th birthday, Brisbane Arcade is one of our best kept secrets but the word is certainly getting out about Room with Roses’ new Champagne Room.  Decked out with Waterford crystal champagne flutes, art deco elements and stunning views through the French windows, The Champagne Room is sure to hear more than a few flutes tinkling.

Not so small

New on Elizabeth Street in Brisbane’s CBD, Bonsai Botanika is a mix of café, bar, ramen house and grill leaving nothing to chance.  The ground floor of the three level venue is for chocolate and coffee lovers while the upper levels are the place to find the Japanese grill and noodle dishes.  It’s open for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Award winning chocolate

Steve Sheldon at Monty’s Chocolates has a new shipment with five international award winners ready for tasting. Head to Monty’s to try l'artisan du chocolat's Chocolate Salted Caramel Biscuits, Pralus’ Barre Infernale Pistachio (there’s only 30 bars so be quick) and award-winning Kalamansi Lime Caramel, a citrus cocktail of blood orange, lime and lemon, enrobed in the thinnest coating of chocolate, or Blackcurrant and Violet Ganache.  There’s also a Banana and Thyme Ganache that begs to be sampled. Monty's Chocolates

New this week

* PJ McMillan’s new venue Tinderbox Kitchen, adjacent to is set to open this week in the laneway just next to Harveys Bar and Bistro in James Street. Expect pizzas, beer and a bar.

* London Porterhouse restaurant and bar is set to open at Teneriffe with Marc Maric at the helm and Argentinian-influenced steakhouse and seafood menu paired with Argentinian wines.

* James Squire have joined forces with the Mantle Group (Pig ‘N’ Whistle, Jimmy’s on the Mall, Café East, Milano and more)  to open a new brew bar showcasing beers on South Bank’s Grey Street. Opening early in 2014, Brisbane’s James Squire brew bar will join established James Squire venues across Australia including The Curious Squire (Adelaide), The Generous Squire (Perth), The Squires Bounty (Hobart), James Squire Brewhouse (Melbourne)  and The Squire’s Maiden (Newcastle).  Pictured above - Mantle Group Executive Chef Deniz Coskun.

This week I’m liking – Cheat’s dinner

Standing in front of the freezer waiting for something to jump out and say cook me is no longer my frequent chore.

For someone who writes about food all day, I am lamentably bad at forward planning on some days and hate nothing more than the question “What’s for dinner?”

Dim Sum & Co have gone a long way towards helping my plight. The other night I pulled out packets of their Chicken & Water Chestnut Siu Mei and Pork and Asian Greens Dumpings.  They were not quite as fabulous as my favourite dumplings from Steamed or Happy Little Dumplings, but given then were right there in the house and able to be cooked from frozen in just a few minutes, I’m prepared to overlook that.  Plus the ingredients are all Australian with no fillers and no MSG.

They were super easy to cook in a lightly greased bamboo steamer over a frypan of simmering water. I served them with a dish of soy sauce to two happy campers.

If you want to find these goodies in shops, check here  

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was sent dumplings to try.

Kerry Heaney