Posts Tagged ‘food’


An adventure in breakfast and coffee

There are 2 things that can cure a brain-debilitating hangover and a man with a moustache – coffee and breakfast. So over the West Gate bridge to the amazing Duchess of Spotswood with a chance meeting with the lovely Claire and Em; Discussions of the size of forks and the merits of carrying rum (and moustache wax) in your pocket at all times. I won’t call our side of the meeting scintillating, but it was conversation.

Not to mention the food.

A prawn and quinoa salad; which wasn’t really what I needed – but ordered all the same. Elegant. Balanced. Fresh.

Prawn and Quinoa Salad

For the moustache – the duchess of pork. Toast. Pork Belly. Egg.

Duchess of Pork

And did I mention coffee and the fitout. Both fantastic.

Light Fitting @ DuchessWater CabinetTrestle Table

A quick drive to Collingwood and a rare seat at a quiet Proud Mary. A short Kenyan Chewle by the hand of the enigmatic Kris. In a different style to the vast majority of espresso I have drunk lately. Less acidic, with a lighter mouth-feel. An elegant coffee, which could be enjoyed short by most.

Rosemary sausages. Potato hash, poached egg and bagna cauda. Again – not quite what the doctor wanted, yet highly recommended.

Sausages, hash and bagna cauda

By this stage the staff had realised we were not authorised to be speaking, let alone making decisions and we were handled with care.

A pork belly sandwich with house made relish for the moustache and thankfully he shared. A mouthful of pork and an iced clover set righted the wrongs of the ordering process.

Pork Belly Sandwich

All of this mooching got us thinking about an opium den style coffee shop complete with hammocks, day beds, cushions and sheesha pipes. With French acid jazz on the stereo and ample caffeine.

Lights at Proud Mary

By this stage the level of caffeine was at an all time high, yet the 3 o’clock St Ali ritual hadn’t been fulfilled. A short Nicaragua La Benedicion and a Bloody Mary.

A quick break on the couch and a flight of wine tasting at Richardson St Cellar and a the purchase of a box of German beer.

All in all a very productive and fruitful day. 28 coffees, a lot of shit  flowing from mouths and some amazing food. Don’t worry Duchess of Spotswood. I’ll be back with a better idea of how to be human.

Tonight.

To eat: Baked Beans courtesy of Tresna.
Now, Two Metre Tall cider (more on this later).
Next. Some Young Punks “The Squids Fist” Sangiovese/Shiraz.
Later. Running with Bulls Tempranillo.

(this order may vary)

Abbotsford Farmers Market tomorrow

The monthly Abbotsford Farmers Market is on tomorrow at the Abbotsford Convent (and the Collingwood Children’s Farm). I know the produce is great (especially the dude that sells vac packed meat) and I do I find it entertaining watching all the 30 something new parent’s wearing their ultra cool colourful sneakers but it’s a bit far across town to make the trip that early. There are however a few foodie types going pretty early (around 9:30).

Sassafras Cafe, Paddington

Nestled in the leafy suburb of Paddington, at the start of Brisbane’s number one opshopping and vintage clothes street Sassafras has taken this unique Brisbane feel and run with it. A tiered outdoor eating area has the tables set amongst umbrellas, hedges and trees, inside the pastel painted cupboards and not quite antique tables and chairs make you feel right at home. Probably because your mum had the same kitchen table. Topping it all off is a random selection of strange paraphenalia hanging from the walls and ontop of the cupboards. Bookmaker bags, interesting photos and random teapots are a quirky addition that fit right in with the homely vibe.

The homeliness doesn’t stop there, a huge glass cabinet filled with seemingly home made salads, pies, cakes and tarts takes the place of a service counter, behind it a large hand written blackboard is the menu. The same staff that have been there for years cap it all off with their friendly demeanour and fast service.

Sassafras Service Area The menu is broken into 2 parts, breakfast (until 2pm) and lunch (until 3pm). Breakfast is all the favourites, eggs, big breakfast, meusli and toast with a few interesting additions, three cheeses grilled on sourdough, buckwheat pancakes, chilli corn cakes and savoury mince on toast. The portions are generous and while the price isn’t cheap, it is reasonable.

Lunch has a distinctly mediterreanean feel, sandwiches filled with feta, peri peri chicken, grilled zuchini, eggplant, capers and olives all on sourdough or toasted panini are accompanied by an open steak sandwich, or a variety of pies or salads from the cabinet. With these slightly unorthodox flavours is where Sassafras really shines each dish is flavoursome and balanced again with good portions. The highlight is the peri-peri chicken BLT, an old favourite with a great, spicey touch.

For drinks, the milkshakes are amazing, taking this easily forgotten beverage and taking it to the next level. The coffee is neither here nor there, nothing to complain about but hardly standout, easily overshadowed by the quality of the food. If herbal tea is your thing, there is a large selection of T2 teas by the pot, or to take home.

Add this all together and what you end up with is one of Brisbane’s best cafes. Doing away with any of the yuppy pretentiousness that the inner suburbs of Brisbane often permeate and instead providing a familiar Brisbane cafe experience. Good food, good service, friendly faces and comfortable surrounds are easy to love, surely why this little cottage is packed all weekend, every weekend.

The only mistake this lovable cafe makes is not serving beer.

Sassafras Service Area Spicey lamb sandwich and potato salad Corn cakes at Sassafras Food at Sassafras Dining Room at Sassafras Dining Room at Sassafras Coffee and Table Number at Sassafras Scrambled Eggs

Australia Day Survival Guide

The 26th of January, Australia Day is probably the second booziest day on the international calendar (after St Patricks Day) but it isn’t only about the booze. Australia Day is a celebration of beer, food, sport and the process of talking a lot of shit. This is a quick guide to make sure your Australia Day is a good one.

  1. Something to do. Whether you are holding your own barbecue, heading down to the bowlsy for a few ciders or going to the cricket, the important things is having a plan (something I don’t have this year.) This is no fly by the seat of your pants day, and things to do a usually in abundance. Just remember, what ever you decide to do you should be near a wireless and a TV so you can monitor the Triple J Hottest 100, the cricket and the tennis.
  2. Booze. Not having enough booze is one of the easiest mistakes to make. You are going to be spending the better part of 18 hours in the sun drinking so at the very minimum a carton of beer is a good start. If you are going to a BBQ, you should think about the bloke who nobody likes stealing your beers, and your mate under-catering and needing a couple of yours, so purchase accordingly. If you are a sheila, a bottle or 2 of some Rose, Sauvignon Blanc and bubbly are good options and having a backup bottle of lemonade for a couple of chandies is a good idea.
  3. Food. Pretty much any meat product would be considered Australian. The Australian Lamb Board would have us eat lamb, but personally I prefer steak and sausages. Homer Simpson said, “You don’t make friends with salad” but nobody will sleight you if you show up with a meat tray under 1 arm and a bowl of salad on top of you carton.
  4. Sport. Most of the Australian summer revolves around sport and Australia Day is no different. There is always cricket and tennis on and regardless of whether you follow them, it’s worth reading the sport section of the paper the day before so you at least know what is going on in those arenas and you can sound knowledgeable when you are standing around the barby.
  5. Mates. Probably the most important thing, is to have a couple of good mates around. If it’s having a hit of backyard cricket, on the boat fishing or just hanging around, it is all going to be better with a couple of your best mates.

What are your Australia Day tips?

Arrowtown Bakery – Brilliant Meat Pies

As far as drunk and hangover foods go, the meat pie is one of the brilliant, can’t go wrong sort of selections. It’s beauty is in it’s ubiquity, it’s always available, it’s cheap, easy and as greasy as you like. But, not all pies were created equal, a frozen supermarket pie microwaved is always inferior to the same pie oven-cooked and at the top of this pyramid of brilliance are bakeries. Not just any old chain of bakery though, the sort that claim they have world class pies, the sort that have a 4 page pie menu and the sort that people drive from miles around just “for a pie”.

Arrowtown Bakery is one of these places, now they don’t make the outrageous claims of being world famous and the bit about the 4 page pie menu was a bit of an embellishment but people really do drive from miles around to get the pies. Now, let me assure you, they don’t dissapoint. The menu consists of a heap of different chicken pies; spicy chicken; cream of chicken; chicken and cheese and plain old chicken. They also have your normal staple of mince, steak, steak and onion and steak and cheese along with a couple of not so run of the mill – bolognaise and lamb and mint. Lamb is up there with my 4 favourite meats and it lends itself perfectly to being low cooked, roasted or baked. Needless to say I was heartily impressed by a lamb pie.

Not only are the fillings brilliant but that’s not all there is to a pie, the other ingredient is pastry and it doesn’t fail to impress here either. The pastry literally melts in your mouth, the top is crisp nut not tough and the pie itself holds itself together. This in itself is part of the genius, there is nother better than not having to worry about mince down your front when you are hoeing into your hangover cure.

All in all these parcels of oven-baked pastry-laden meat are amazing. If you are in the Wakatipu, hangover or no, the 15 minute drive to Arrowtown is well worth the effort.

Vknow Restaurant, Fernhill, Queenstown

Vknow is the sort of restaurant that you could go to once and go back week in week out for the next 10 years of your life. The only restaurant anywhere nearby, I’m certain that anyone who has dined there before and lives in Fernhill contemplates dropping in there for dinner, rather than the long trek in to town. I don’t know what it is about this sort of place, but it really does feel like you are sitting at someone’s dining table. This feeling was enhanced while we were there as we were asked to sit at the other end of a table as another couple, to who we were introduced by the waiter (and owner) as “good Queenstown locals”.

The decor consists of country style tables and chairs, and a vast array of art. The art are comic like water-colours depicting a random selection events and things to do, such as “Jumping around in Australia” with a paining of a couple of silly looking Kangaroos. Even though Vknow is situated right next to a road and the carpark is just there, you don’t notice it, there is hardly any traffic on the road and the large windows look out onto a few trees and gardens, all in all it’s very pleasant.

The menu consists of a very New Zealand (or maybe Queenstown) like selection consisting of lamb shanks, venison and fish. Don’t get me wrong, I love this style of food and the meals here did not fail to disappoint, my seared venison with mushroom risotto was exceptional if a little bit small and the lamb shanks with garlic mash and gravy was amazing. All of this great tasting food and reasonable prices is definitely a winner with our bill coming in under $100 for 2 meals and a bottle of wine.

I had been told that Vknow’s wine list was impressive and so it should be, considering the name. Due to being cheap arses we grabbed a bottle of the “budget and good” “Vknow bloody good red”. Turns out it was a bottle of the Australian Oxford Landing GSM, which I really enjoyed, not overly dry and definitely not too fruity. Often when you order the cheapest bottle on the list you walk away regretting your decision, but in this case I most certainly was not.

As far as Vknow goes catering to the world’s share of aching heads it gets my vote, not only do they have a takeaway menu (who would have thought, takeaway fine dining), they also host “Bluff oyster” evenings and beer and wine tasting sessions. I’m told that Danny the owner really loves his beer and wine judging by our experience I can imagine one of these sessions would be a great experience, educational and entertaining.