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Showing posts from August, 2014

Sake Restaurant is in the pink with Cherry Blossom Festival food

Visiting Japan when the cherry blossoms fill the country with pink is certainly on my bucket list, but for the moment I'll have to settle for Sake Restaurant & Bar's Cherry Blossom Festival during September.

It's a month when the restaurant, on the top level of Eagle Street Pier in Brisbane's CBD, is filled with pink blooms, fairy-lit cherry trees and a new menu with plenty of sakura inspiration.

Executive Chef Shaun Presland's special Cherry Blossom menu has delicious options such as a cuttlefish and urchin dashi jelly shooter, ocean trout and scallop tartar with truffle ponzu and caviar, or steamed ocean trout stuffed with kenchin tofu, spring begetables, spinach chips and rich soy.

But the place to start is the cocktail list with a Kimono Doll cocktail - a refreshing blend of Ilchiko Shochu, cherries and coco served long.

I sampled the Chef's Spring Lunch Menu which is one of the first from the kitchen now headed by Daisuke Sakai who, with over 13 year…

Queensland's Hot Restaurants 2014

Wondering where you are going to eat out in Brisbane?  Want to know where to find the restaurants the critics love?

Well, you'll need to arm yourself with the latest bibles - The Brisbane Times Good Food Guide 2014/15 and the Gourmet Traveller 2015 Australian Restaurant Guide which is available with the latest edition of Gourmet Traveller.

Hopefully you also picked up a copy of The Weekend  Australian Magazine (August 23-24) to see what John Lethean and Necia Wilden picked to add to their national Hot 50 Restaurants.  Just in case you missed that one, I'm listing them here.

According to John and Necia, the Best Bar in Brisbane is 1889 Enoteca. Their Queensland inclusions in the hot 50 are Jim Berardo's Noosa institution Berardo's which has flourished under the helm of new chef Tim Montgomery; Wasabi - another Noosa triumph; Urbane in Brisbane's CBD where chef  Alejandro Cancino forges ahead with his vegan palette and Argentinean heritage to create food that excite…

Killarney weekend getaway

There will be smiles on all the faces at Killarney today, with the sound of gentle rain hitting the paddocks and filling the dams.

It's been a long time between good drinks in this rich part of the Southern Downs. Just a few weeks ago, farmers were considering the prospect of hand feeding their stock until the end of winter.  I'd say tonight they will be relaxing by a roaring fire and enjoying that 'life is good' feeling again.

About an hour and 45 minute drive from Brisbane, well off the busy Cunningham Highway, Killarney is the sort of gem that you stumble on by accident or you hear about from friends.

It's a great weekend break and that's how I visited, touring the quiet country roads on the back of a motorcycle.   It's a popular motorcycle touring route and we saw plenty of other travellers along the way.

First stop was morning coffee in Boonah and then a ride along the twisting Head Road which has recently reopened with post flood damage repaired.


Crocolicious - touring and dining at Koorana Crocodile Farm, near Yeppoon.

The water's edge is one of the most dangerous places to relax when you are in crocodile country.

That's the message that came through  loud and clear as I toured Koorana Crocodile Farm in Coowonga, between the city of Rockhampton and the coastal centre of Yeppoon. Established as a the first commercial crocodile farm in Queensland in 1981 by John and Lillian Lever, the farm has grown into a family business with son Adam conducting the daily tours and a restaurant offering crocodile steaks, pies and more for lunch.

It's no surprise the dry dirt track that meandered through some pretty desolate country to the farm gate was callled Savages Road.  What was surprising was the affection between tour guide Adam and the crocodiles.

Adam talked about the crocs as if they were old friends.  They all had nick names and there was one he had trained to feed from his hand.  To my eye it looked as though he was going to be eaten alive but Adam was very relaxed.

This is a crocodile farm, …

Breakfast at The Roastery Cafe, South Brisbane

You know the coffee is going to be good when there's a roastery in the house.

The Roastery Cafe has its home in same building as Rouge Coffee Roasters, wrapping itself around the shiny Probat roaster which can be seen from the cafe through a glass window. Of course the cafe's house blend comes from Rouge Coffee.

There's a couple of large communal tables at the front of the cafe and many more smaller tables in the long walkway out to the back section.

If you want to take your favourite pooch with you, make sure there's space out the front.

Out the back a vertical vegetable garden turns a boring wall into a green oasis with street art enhancement. I love the giant fish that appears to be swimming out of the garden.

The menu has some nice touches, like the citrus infused mascarpone that goes on the pimped up banana bread or dill pickles and limed zucchini with the smoked salmon on toast.

The lunch menu is heavy on sandwiches and rolls with diversions like house relish, l…

Brisbane's top 10 'chew with a view' restaurants and cafes

It's a beautiful day! Where can you go and dine in the warm sun with a view that you'll never want to leave?

Here are ten top places in and around Brisbane to while away a lunch hour or a whole afternoon when the weather is warm and the skies are blue .

River Quay, South Bank

South Bank’s River Quay precinct has plenty of opportunities to relax in the sunshine and just about any restaurant at River Quay will offer a great spot for a winter lunch with a large, grassed lawn rolling down to the river bank.  You can even lie in the sun if you so desire.

Stop for champagne, oysters and more at Cove Bar and Dining, enjoy French provincial food at Aquitaine Brasserie, take in the river view from a Balinese daybed while you tuck into the contemporary menu at The Jetty, feast on Italian cuisine at Popolo or sip a long drink on the riverside deck of Stokehouse Q where the menu draws on local produce combined with bold flavours from the Mediterranean.

River Quay is the spot for Sunday …