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Showing posts from October, 2015

No tricks at this gypsy's table

There's an air of mystery, a few hidden secrets and a cosy fireplace corner where you might sip a glass of port or two at Gypsy's Table Restaurant in Montville's Main Street.

This is the restaurant owner Leesa always wanted to open even from when she was a small child.  She didn't know it at the time, but eventually discovered she does have some gypsy heritage as well.




Leesa's restaurant menu makes use of prime local produce and her hens are busy out the back producing vibrant yellow yolked eggs for many of the dishes.






Just inside the door is a barrow full of freshly picked pumpkins, chokos and more.  Don't let the commercial egg cartons fool you.  These recycled cartons are full of eggs from Leesa's girls as well.





The gypsy plate is good way to sample several of the restaurant's dishes including the signature gypsy bread.  With its distinctive swirl of white and rye bread, it's a good foil for the home-made pates and dips on the plate.

While the m…

A hotel where it's okay to spy on the neighbours

If you are departing for an international trip, this is one hotel where you can almost be guaranteed not to miss your flight.

It's just a short walk from Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel over to the terminal and with picture window views of the planes taking off, it's hard to lose focus.

Sydney's only on-site airport hotel, Rydges Sydney Airport is just located right next door to the international terminal building and is only a short distance by T Bus from the domestic terminal.

It makes sense to stay here if you have an early flight or you are just planning a quick Sydney visit without the thrills.




There's no noise from the planes as they take off, but it does make for good theatre, unless that's your flight taking off into the distance.




I found the bed particularly to my liking.  It had a deep pillow top which was very comforting and light feather pillows.  A good night's sleep before a long flight is a real bonus.





The lobby has a wall full of handy travelling i…

Where to stay in Brisbane - 5 top CBD hotels

Where are you resting your head tonight?

If it's in a Brisbane hotel you'll have found there's plenty of new players in the hotel market and also wide choice.  I find it very hard to get a real feel for a hotel, apart from the location and price, from their websites, so I've been sleeping around, testing out hotels to see what they are really like.

Prices for these hotels range from around $190 to $300 a night.  Check online booking websites and the hotel's own website to check that you are getting the latest and best deal.  Often there are special packages which may offer exactly what you need.





Next Hotel, Brisbane CBD 

If you had a hotel traveller's wish list you would find many of your boxes ticked at Next Hotel, Brisbane.

Rising from the carcass of several previous hotel incarnations, including the much-loved, long-standing Lennons, Next Hotel has been designed to offer what you're asking for in a hotel next.

Features include an easy check in app that…

A night of luxury with an historic twist

You can't get much more Brisbane than the timber and tin architecture of Spicers Balfour with a view of the Story Bridge, unless you want the heritage art deco elegance of the newer Spicers Balfour suites just down the street.



The newly opened Spicers Balfour Suites are just a couple of houses down the road.  It's almost like visiting the neighbours as you traipse between the two.

Located in a two story heritage building, this addition to Balfour's accommodation offers an authentic slice of Queensland history with modern comforts. A staircase leads up to a roof top bar that's been carved out of the rafters at Balfour to provide a quintessential Brisbane Story Bridge view (pictured above).

Unusually for Brisbane, it was originally designed as apartments or flats as they may have been called then, with four up and down.  It's a solid building, well constructed and renovated with respect to reveal art deco with a modern look.





The bed was definitely king size and one …

It's no longer a brothel but there are plenty of bubbles

It's long been a famous Brisbane destination for all the wrong reasons but Brisbane foodpreneur Damian Griffiths has set out to change all that.

Capitalising on the notorious past of Bubbles Bathhouse, which was at the centre of the Fitzgerald inquiry,  the building now houses Brisbane's first Parisian steakhouse Les Bubbles and Bubbles Bath-House.

It's said that upstairs was the casino that didn't exist and downstairs was a massage parlour where losers could 'wash away' their sorrows.



The focus is on the popular French dish, steak frites and that's basically it apart from vegetarian and pescatarian options which change according to the specials.  So you better like steak served medium rare, although they will cook it to your specification.

Although I wasn't able to find out too much about the origin of the grass-fed, free range steak apart from Queensland, it certainly was tender and flavoursome. The choice comes in the sauces which are Cafe de Paris…

A food leader for over 20 years

When the doors to e'cco bistro opened back in 1995 people said a restaurant would never work at that end of town.

Twenty years later and still a leader in the Brisbane food scene, owner Philip Johnson has more than proved them wrong. Philip and partner Mary Randles hosted a lunch to showcase the restaurant's new spring menu as a tasting menu.

More great Brisbane dining - Restaurant Two Esquire



New chef Simon Palmer has come to e'cco from Gerards and is in his first role as head chef.  This is his second menu which Philip says it's exactly on track for e'cco.








First out was delicately pink combo of yellowtail kingfish ceviche with blood orange wasabi, piel de sapo (Santa Claus melon, sometimes known as Christmas melon) and pickled radish.

It was followed by tender char-grilled octopus with muhammara (a hot pepper dip originally from Aleppo, Syria, found in Levantine and Turkish cuisines) , pomegranate, rye and walnut potato foam.




A single, over-sized labneh and pickled…