Monday, September 10, 2012

Where to Eat when in Brisbane...

.....or what Shauna and Sheelagh ate in Brisbane.

Pie Face. 

The name says it all. Australians love their pies. I prefer the buttery, flakey pastry rolls, but the pies are pretty good too - especially when they have little faces on them, distinctly different for each of the assorted fillings. Both the pastry rolls and pies come in regular and mini sizes so you can have a wee taste of all the faces before you fully commit to your favourite pie personality. I wouldn't say Pie Face has the best pies in Australia, but it's hard to resist it's gimicky store signs to go in and check them out. There was a Pie Face just about to open in Perth before I left, there's a multitude in Brisbane, and I recently just learned that there's a 24 hour one in Melbourne: just another example of how Perth is just a bit slow, a bit behind the times, a bit far away but slowly, slowly catching up with the rest of Australia :)

Apparently there is now a Pie Face in New York that just opened in January! 

Carlton XXX Brewery & Tour

On a rainy, windy day we decided to go on the Carlton Brewery Tour for a little taste of Queensland. Our tour guy was a friendly, chatty old man who must've been giving tours at the brewery for years and years. Besides mum and myself, the rest of the tour consisted of five Asians, of which one definitely didn't know much English, and all of the tour guide's jokes went way over her head. We were fitted with hi-vis vests, safety goggles and made sure that we all had close-toed shoes before we were lead through the history, rooms describing the ingredients, and the production facilities for about an hour and a half. Maybe about an hour too long. The reward at the end: 4 beverages or beers of your choice - four!! That's quite a lot for anyone to drink. The result: Mum saying, "I might actually start drinking beer! I like this."
Although it is a much larger scale, I couldn't help but think about my time at Frankland Estate while viewing the production and bottling of the beer. There were a couple supervisors on the floor, but the machines and conveyor belts did all the work. There was no WWOOFer folding all the boxes for the cases. Nobody with numb fingers lifting the bottles individually into the boxes. Nobody lifting case after case onto pallet after pallet. I suppose that's why Frankland Estate wines are only found in specialty stores and it means so much more when I can say, "I put that label on that bottle."


"Damper and Dip" is on a lot of Australian menu's under the entree options (re: entree is not a main course; entree is a starter, an appetiser.) Traditionally, it was a simple bread brought into the Outback, but from what I've seen, it means different variations of the house bread served with dips. And if it's not damper on the menu, then it's bread with dukkah. Dukkah, a dry condiment mixture of herbs, nuts, and spices is usually served with olive oil to be dipped into by bread.

In Brisbane, you can have a "real" taste of Australian cuisine at Tukka. Although it may not be what the average Australian eats day to day, the menu showcases native foods from local farmers in a modern, innovative way. The menu has two degustation choices as well as a la carte. Luckily, we were able to experience on of the Discovery menu which consisted of 5 courses. 

Amuse Busche of Tasmanian possum. 
yes, possum.
Native Plate: selection of wild game such as kangaroo, smoked kangaroo, emu, crocodile with native berries and damper with dukkah.
Mum hasn't a clue what she's eating! 
Palate Cleanser after the Pepperberry and lime cured crocodile fillet cooked sous vide with cider braised pears 
yum yum.
Seared Queensland kangaroo fillet with with roasted winter vegs and a rhubarb lemon myrtle jus.

The Great Escape Menu consisted of seven courses of which we missed out on the Confit of Tasmanian possum and pork belly pie with sauteed brussel sprouts tossed with pepperberry pancetta and a davidson plum jus as well as Seared Marburg emu fillet with anisata onied dutch carrots, braised du puy lentils and a port jus. That was definitely our fill of meat for the week, and interesting exotic meat for the year!! 

Now, if you don't want pie, you don't want to go on a tour just to get 4 beers, and you're not into weird exotic meats, then I highly recommend two neighbouring restaurants on Mollison Street in Brisbane's West End. The first one, The Gun Shop Cafe, we went to for breakfast but would have been happy to go back for lunch and dinner if we hadn't stopped by The Burrow instead to try somewhere different. The article in which we had read about The Gun Shop cafe had talked up the potato and feta hash browns, so much so it seemed, that they were already sold out by the time we sat down. Instead, mum got the sweet potato hash browns with Toulouse sausages, tomato jam and rocket with a poached egg on top. I had a puff pastry tart with Persian feta, rocket and mixed wild mushrooms. It was more of a brunch option, but would have been perfect with a poached egg, but got my morning fix by going halfsies with mum. The breakfast menu offers something light, classics, and new dishes with an asterix proclaiming the menu is subject to change daily. The lunch and dinner menus seem a bit more substantial and enticing in a peculiar but trustworthy way. I would highly recommend going for breakfast. 
 The Burrow, also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, was just as basic as Tukkah and The Gun Shop: beams and exposed wood, stairs leading up to another dining area with a balcony that looked as though it used to be a house, but just expanded the front of it with an additional tin roof and big open window seats. Both are casual and inviting with the types of menus that everything sounds so good, so appetising, so wonderfully odd the combinations of flavours and ingredients that you just want to order everything. Oh wait, that's usually just indecisive letsordereverythingtotaste me. I could've ordered all of the $10 pizzas: PNG: prosciutto, nashi pear, and gorgonzola; The Lucky Chick: harissa spiced with chickpeas; Mr Potato Head with rosemary potatoes; the one we ordered had silverbeet (chard). The crispy beer battered chips come with a herbed mayo and homemade tomato salsa. They specialise in craft beers and ciders. Every table had a different salt and pepper set you could imagine were collected over the years with stories to tell rather than just bought at a flea market. MMM just thinking about it makes me want to go back again!

If I were to go back to Brisbane, I would definitely want to try their local specialty: Moreton Bay bugs. Bugs are not bugs, but kinda like a cross between a lobster and a crayfish in which you eat the meat from the tail and hence quite expensive.
I would also go to Jo Jo's....

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