Monday, 30 June 2008

food bling update

I know that Euro 2008 finished this morning (amazingly enough I actually picked the winner for once). There are still a couple of countries I haven't posted about, despite my best efforts.

Unfortunately I hit a small snag, which was moving house last week. That took up way more time than I was expecting. Also, AAPT are trying to charge us about $400 to shift our phone and internet over to the new place, which means I've currently got no access at home.

So once I've sorted out our communication problems, I'll get those remaining Euro 2008 posts up as soon as I can.

Also, my apologies to everyone that has sent me comments and emails over the last week or so, but I'll respond to you all once everything is connected again.

On a completely unrelated note, I had dinner at Urbane on Saturday night and it was probably the best dinner I've had in Brisbane (ever). The food and wine were sensational. Keep your eyes peeled for a post about Urbane soon. If you haven't been before, start yourself an Urbane food budget (you'll need to) and get there as soon as you can.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Portugal

Although Portugal had an excellent start to Euro 2008, things came to a fairly abrupt end when they ran into Germany in the quarter finals. After making it to the final of Euro 2004, only to lose to Greece, much was expected of Portugal again this time around. In the end, Portugal's defence was exposed by the Germans, and Portuguese fans will be going home disappointed.

I have to admit I was a bit worried about finding Portuguese eateries in Brisbane, but I've managed to find a couple.

The only restaurant I've been able to track down is is Figueiredo's at Annerley. I haven't been able to find out much about Figueiredo's, but it seems to be a Portuguese and Indian BYO restaurant. If you've eaten at Figueiredo's before, please post up a comment.

Another spot you can try out Portuguese food is the Portuguese Family Centre at Carole Park. According to, the Portuguese Family Centre is open for dinner on Saturday night, and Sunday lunches. Bookings are essential though.

Finally, there's Nando's. I'm not Portuguese, and I haven't made it to Portugal yet, so I can't vouch for the authenticity of Nando's chicken. There are plenty of Nando's outlets around Brisbane now, which means there is probably one not very far from your place.

15 Cracknell Road
Annerley 4103

Portuguese Family Centre
1449 Boundary Road
Carole Park 4300
P - 07 3879 4055

Plenty of locations around Brisbane
W -

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Sweden

Unfortunately Sweden are now out of the tournament, after losing to Russia in their last group game. I was really hoping that the Swedes would do well, to give the great Henrik Larsson a memorable finale (if you don't know who Henrik Larsson is, here is a great video of his goals). But it wasn't to be. The Swedes will now have to focus on qualifiying for the next World Cup in South Africa.

It took a bit of hunting, but there are a couple of places in and around Brisbane where you can try out Swedish food. One such place is 670 Cafe Bar at Corinda. I haven't been able to find a copy of its menu online, but it seems to serve up a mix of Scandinavian and Mediterranean food. You can read what The Courier Mail had to say about 670 Cafe Bar here.

Another place to track down Swedish fare is at the Scandinavian Bakery Cafe at Springwood. I've had trouble finding out too much about the Scandinavian Bakery Cafe, but it seems that the bakery does serve cafe food as well, including Swedish meatballs. It's a bit of a hike from my place, but I'll have to poke my head in next time I'm down Springwood way.

And I know Ikea is known for its furniture, but they also sell Swedish food. There is a small selection of hot food in their restaurant (like Swedish meatballs) but the Swedish Food Market is much more interesting. Every time I go to Ikea I always spend about 15 minutes checking out crazy Swedish food you never see anywhere else. If you need some herring, lingonberry preserve, whitefish roe or crispbreads to console yourself after Sweden's early exit from Euro 2008, drive down to Ikea and fill your car up with food, rather than furniture.

670 Cafe Bar
Shop 5, 670 Oxley Rd
Corinda 4075
P - 07 3278 2993

Scandinavian Bakery Cafe
Shop 9 , Springwood Plaza
3-15 Dennis Road
Springwood 4127
P - 07 3208 1067

Ikea Swedish Food Market
Ikea Logan
3539-3565 Pacific Highway
Slacks Creek 4127
P - 07 3380 6800

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Greece

Although Greece are still technically the champions of Europe (at least for another week or so), unfortunately the game against Spain tomorrow will be their last in Euro 2008. Greece haven't managed to pick up a point in their first two games, so they won't be repeating their amazing run from Euro 2004 this time around.

But don't despair, there are plenty of places to enjoy Greed food around Brisbane. My best memory of Greek food is when we were on the island of Paros. You could just walk down to the local deli, where they sold the best feta I've ever had. Putting together a simple Greek salad of good Greek feta, olives, cucumber and tomato, with dried herbs and loads of olive oil became a delicious daily routine.

A few of my friends reckon that Lefka's Taverna is the best Greek restaurant in Brisbane. I still haven't been there, but I'm keen to try it out. Lefka's serve up traditional yiros, souvlaki, lamb, calamari and octopus in pretty casual surroundings. Lefka's is BYO, and there's a bottle shop next door, in case you run out of your favourite beer/wine/ouzo during the night.

Another popular spot in West End is Kafe Meze. I noticed when we were in West End on the weekend that it's just moved about 100 metres down the road, into the spot where Cristo's used to be. At Kafe Meze you can start off the night with dolmades, haloumi, keftedes (meatballs) or Atherno (whitebait). Mains include a range of souvlaki (lamb, chicken, fish, prawn, pork or vegetarian), together with Greek plates containing octopus, souvlaki or calamari all served with a Greek salad and chips. Again Kafe Meze is BYO.

I've read some great reviews for The Lounge Bistro at Nundah, if you're on the Northside, and I can't do a post about Greek food without mentioning The Greek Club at South Brisbane. The Greek Club put on Paniyiri every year (which I love) and it's a great place to try out Greek wine, which is really hard to find in Brisbane. If you need a night of Greek dancing to work off a big meal, then The Greek Club is the place to shake your booty. Finally, if its Greek olive oil or deli items you're after, head to the famous Samios Foods at Woolloongabba.

Lefka's Taverna
170 Hardgrave Road
West End 4101
P - 07 3844 1163

Kafe Meze
Shop 7, 220 Melbourne Street
West End 4101
P - 07 3844 1720

The Lounge Bistro
Shop 1, 1252 Sandgate Road
Nundah 4012
P - 07 3266 6144

The Greek Club & Convention Centre
29-31 Edmondstone Street
South Brisbane 4101
P - 07 3844 1166

Samios Foods
36 Annerley Road
Woolloongabba 4102
P - 07 3391 2169

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Romania

Romania could end up being the party poopers of Euro 2008 (unless of course you're Romanian). If they manage to knock off the Netherlands tomorrow morning, both Italy and France will be out. It's not that far fetched - the Netherlands have already qualified first, no matter what happens, so they may well put out a second team against Romania. After picking up draws against both France and Italy, Romania will back themselves against the Netherlands, and it all adds up to two great games to finish the group.

I've had a hard time finding any Romanian eateries in or around Brisbane (or even anywhere in Queensland). After plenty of searching, the only place I've managed to track down is Transylvania Cafe Restaurant at Wellington Point. The entry on describes Transylvania Cafe Restaurant as:

Traditional Transylvanian food, with influences from times of the Ottoman Empire to the Austro Hungarian Empire to modern Hungarian and Romanian dishes. No short cuts to traditional recipes handed down from generations.

If anyone knows of any other Romanian restaurants or cafes, please let me know and I'll post up the details.

Transylvania Cafe Restaurant
Unit 5, 1 Peterson Street
Wellington Point 4160
P - 07 3822 9360

Monday, 16 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Poland

Poland will be be counting their lucky stars if they make it through to the quarter finals. After only picking up one point from their first two games, Poland can only progress if they have a big win against Croatia, and hope that the result in the Germany v Austria game goes their way. It's going to be tough, but Poland still has a chance of progressing.

If you're looking for somewhere to support the Polish team or just to try some terrific Polish vodka, head to the Polish Club at Milton. Here is what Natascha Mirosch from The Courier Mail had to say about the Polish Club:

Forget trendy and expensive bars, if you're a vodka fan head instead to the real deal – the home of vodka (it's said the Russians appropriated it from the Poles). The Polish club (now called Polonia) has at least 20 Polish vodkas, from the innocuous-sounding Balsam Herb Vodka to the sledgehammer Spirytus which is 95 per cent proof. Try a herb-infused vodka with real slivers of silver or the Wild Bee Honey Vodka. Prices range from a ridiculous $3 to a silly $5. There are also Polish beers like Okocim Palone, Perla or Zywiec and Polish liqueurs at $2.50 each.

At the bar or the club's restaurant you can sample some traditional Polish staples like pierogi (dumplings stuffed with meat), or the national dish, bigos (a hunter's stew made with venison, lamb or beef, wild mushrooms, and juniper berries, or apples). Golabki are the famous Polish cabbage rolls, stuffed with minced meat and rice, while fasolka po bretonsku is a rustic bean and sausage stew.

Many of the local businesses have discovered the Polish Club, says manager Kamilla Serek, and the clientele is eclectic, from students to pensioners. Every second Friday, the club also hosts a small market in the downstairs hall, where you can buy Polish cakes, doughnuts and delicatessen goods as well as Polish sausages. Smacznego!

You can read the full article at The Courier Mail's website here. My favourite Polish vodka is Zubrowka (bison grass vodka) which I got hooked on in Poland. You can try it for yourself at the Polish Club, otherwise it's popping up at more and more good bottle shops in Brisbane.

Another Polish restaurant to try is The Polish Place at Mt Tamborine. At the Polish Place, you can taste Polish specialties like pierogi (dumplings), gołąbek (cabbage rolls in tomato sauce), bigos (sauerkraut cooked with smoked meats, porcini mushroom, prunes and herbs, served with Polish sausage) or kaczka z jabkami (duck confit stuffed with apples and marjoram, baked and served with red cabbage, apples, sour cherries & Polish gnocchi). If you decide it's too far to drive to Mt Tamborine for dinner, then book one of their chalets and make a weekend of it.

Polonia (Polish Association of Queensland)
10 Marie Street
Milton 4064
P - 07 3369 2747

The Polish Place
333 Main Western Road
Tamborine Mountain 4572
P - 07 5545 1603

Euro 2008 - Italy

Italy might be the current World champions, but they've started off Euro 2008 pretty badly. So badly that if Romania beats the Netherlands in the final group game (which is possible) then Italy will be out, even if they do beat France. That will be a pretty big shock not only in Italy, but all around the football world.

Luckily we have loads of Italian cafes and restaurants in Brisbane. If I tried to list them all I'd be here for a couple of weeks, so I won't bother. Here is a short list of great Italian places in Brisbane, to celebrate or commiserate, depending on how things pan out for the Azzuri.

Il Centro is usually a safe bet for a great lunch or dinner. I know its popular with both the business crowd and tourists, but the food is very good. You can read my post about Il Centro here. Il Centro's food is modern Italian, with Queensland influences, rather than your trattoria classics. If you've never tried their lasagne alla granseola (sandcrab lasagna), you're missing out on something pretty special.

I still haven't eaten there, but Dell' Ugo is considered by many to be Brisbane's best Italian restaurant. Meals at Dell' Ugo include calamari fritti (pan fried calamari served with herb & chilli oil - $26), tortiglioni al pesto con salsiccie di maiale (homemade pesto tortiglioni with fresh Italian pork and fennel sausages - $28) and the delicious sounding cosciotto d’anatra con miele e stella d’anice (slow braised duck maryland with a filling of muscatel & fresh shallots, finished in a honey & star anise broth served on roasted parsnip mash & roasted carrots - $33.50). The wine list is compact, but contains a selection of Italian wines to add to an authentic Italian night out. You can visit Dell' Ugo at New Farm or Southbank.

If there is one thing I really, really miss with my gluten free diet, its the pizzas from Arriva. Arriva used to be my favourite pizza place in Brisbane, especially after the Schonell pizza cafe closed. I know it doesn't look like much, but the pizzas are sensational. They also do some excellent salads. If you're craving a real Italian pizza, with a thin base, and only a few delicious toppings, then Arriva is the place for you. Sure it can get busy at times, but the food is worth the wait.

I've already done a post about Vil'laggio at New Farm, which you can read here. Although some of our food was a bit hit and miss, when it was good, it was great. My main of porchetta arrosto su verza brasata con pancetta uvetta e pinoli in salsa di fondo (wood roasted pork belly, rolled with Italian spices and fresh herbs on sautéed cabbage, pancetta, sultanas and pine nuts with roast potato and vegetable gravy - $31.95) was fantastic, and I'm definitely going to give the place another go.

I can't do a post about Italian food during Euro 2008 without mentioning Arriverderci at Park Road. I used to work on Park Road, and the guys at Arriverderci are so passionate about football, they were usually dressed in some kind of football jersey. No doubt they are probably doing a roaring trade at the moment. During the happy hours on Thursday and Friday afternoons the place is usually packed.

If you've had enough pizza and pasta, and all you're after is gelati, there is no better place in Brisbane than Gelateria Cremona. I'm convinced its the best gelati you can find in Brisbane. I'm slowly working my way through their amazing flavours, and you can read my earlier post here.

Il Centro
Eagle Street Pier
Eagle Street
Brisbane 4000
P - 07 3221 6090

Dell' Ugo New Farm
693 Brunswick Street
New Farm 4005
P - 07 3254 2188

Dell' Ugo Southbank
Shop 6A/B Little Stanley Street
Southbank 4101
P - 07 3844-0500

Arriva Italian Restaurant
Shop 6, 84 Merthyr Road
New Farm 4005
P - 07 3254 1599

Arriverderci Pizzeria
1/1 Park Road
Milton 4064
P - 07 3369 8500

Gelateria Cremona
Shop 5/151 Baroona Road
Rosalie Village
Paddington 4064
P - 07 3367 0212

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Turkey

Turkey have a do or die game against the Czech Republic tonight. Whoever wins the game will be through to the next round, and the loser will be out. The Czechs are probably the favourites to go through, but anything can happen in games like this.

Brisbane has quite a few Turkish restaurants to try out. I've eaten at Ahmet's at Southbank a few times, and it's usually a pretty dependable dinner choice. I always think the best way to start a Turkish dinner is with bread and dips. Ahmet's has a selection of dips, including baba ghanoush, homous, jajik (cucumber, yoghurt & garlic) and zeytun (olives, cream cheese and vinegar). When it comes to main courses, there are pide (baked Turkish bread with a choice of fillings - $18.90 to $20.90), guvec (lamb, chicken, prawn or vegetarian casseroles - $21.90 to $23.90) and various char grilled meats. The wine list is a bit limited, but you can buy Efes Turkish beer with your meals. And if you're at Ahmet's on a Friday or Saturday night, there's also the potential to share the floor with one of their belly dancers. I still have memories of being dragged into the middle of a Turkish restaurant in London by a belly dancer, so now I try to hide as soon as I see any belly dancers. Ahmet's at Southbank has just been closed for renovations, but was due to re-open on 29 May. There are also Ahmet's restaurants at Bulimba and Victoria Point.

Caravanserai has been operating in West End for years. I haven't eaten there for ages, but when I used to live in Yeronga it was a popular spot for a good BYO dinner. Again, meze or dips are a great way to get a taste for Turkish food. Caravanserai do meze platters which include humus, babagounosh, tarama salata, marinated olives, feta, artichokes, dolma and capsicum salad served with warm Turkish bread ($22.50 for 3-4 people). For mains, try the isimak (rare tender lamb fillet infused with cinnamon and sumac on fragrant couscous salad and chermoula dressing - $22.50), zhourg prawns (tiger prawns, mussels and market greens tossed in zhourg sauce with Israeli couscous on crispy flatbread - $21.50) or sebze (char grilled eggplant and zucchini, stacked with falafel and haloumi cheese $20.50). Caravanserai is BYO.

Other Turkish options in Brisbane are Efes One at Albion, Harem at Paddington and the Ottoman Cafe at Wend End. Turkish food is great to share with a bit of a crowd, so grab a few friends and head into your closest Turkish restaurant, for a night of moreish meze, grills and casseroles.

Ahmet's Southbank
Shop 10, Little Stanley Street
Southbank 4101
P - 07 3846 6699

Ahmet's Bulimba
136 Oxford Street
Bulimba 4171
P - 07 3395 8600

Ahmet's Victoria Point
Shop D6, Lakeside
7-13 Bunker Road
Victoria Point 4165
P - 07 3820 8840

Caravanserai Turkish Restaurant
1-3 Dornoch Terrace
West End 4101
P - 07 3217 2617
E -

Efes One
293 Sandgate Road
Albion 4010
P - 07 3862 4599
E -

Harem Turkish Restaurant
282 Given Tce
Paddington 4064
P - 07 3368 3141
W -

Ottoman Cafe
37 Mollison Street
South Brisbane 4101
P - 07 3846 3555
W -

Euro 2008 - Germany

Germany was hotly tipped before the tournament started to be this year's champions. But after their loss to Croatia the other day, Germany now has a must win against Austria tomorrow. Austria, as one of the co-hosts, will be pulling out all stops to win that game, so there are no guarantees we'll see Germany going through.

Whether or not Germany does manage to progress, winter is a great time in Brisbane to check out a few of our German eateries. If it's a big, hearty meal you're craving, take a trip to the Black Forest German Cafe Restaurant at Highgate Hill. I've only eaten there once, and the meals were so big, most of us couldn't even finish them. So make sure you work up an appetite beforehand. You can kick off your meal with bratwurst, herring salad or cold cucumber soup with onion. Be warned though, go easy on the entrees or you're going to have a few problems cleaning up your main course. Mains cover German specialties like Muenchener schweinshaxe (oven roasted pork hock with sauerkraut and Bavarian dumplings), bregenwurst & gruenkohl (mettwurst, kaiserfleisch and kasseler served with kale and mashed potatoes) and Deutsche rinder roulade (thin slices of beef filled with ham, pork mince and sweet/sour cucumber, served with red cabbage and mashed potatoes). There is a good selection of German beers here to accompany your Muenchener schweinshaxe, or if beer isn't your thing, try the schnapps or Asbach Uralt brandy.

Another place where you can be assured of a good German feed is at the German Club. The German Club is across the road from the Gabba, and holds various events during the year including the Brisbane Oktoberfest. I've never eaten at the German Club, but have been in there for a few German beers before and after games at the Gabba. At the restaurant, you can try herring & apple salad ($8.50), kassler (smoked pork loin chop with fried potatoes & sauerkraut or red cabbage - $14.50), grilled Atlantic salmon with potato rosti, braised cabbage & fennel and dill hollandaise sauce ($17.90) or roasted pork knuckle with fried potatoes, sauerkraut & beer gravy ($14.90). It goes without saying that there is a range of German beers and schnapps to wash down your meals.

If you're anywhere near Maleny, you can pop into King Ludwig's Restaurant and Klaushouse Mountain Bar. King Ludwig's serves morning & afternoon teas, lunch and dinner. Meals here include Bayrische brotzeit (Black Forest ham, Swiss meat loaf, Hungarian salami, beer stick and cheese served with pickled gherkin, rye bread and butter - $17.50), rinderfilet “Schwaebische Art”, risotto und gemuese (grilled medallions of beef eye fillet on a piquant mild mustard sauce with herb risotto and garden vegetables - $34.50) and schweinekotlett, kartoffel puree und blaukraut (grilled pork cutlet on a sage and red wine gravy served with garlic mash and red cabbage - $29.50).

If you are in the Cleveland area, you can try Bavarian Blue and Ditche's Rheinkeller Restaurant. I haven't been able to track down their menus on the web, but I've put contact details for both restaurants below.

Guten Appetit!

Black Forest German Cafe Restaurant
196 Gladstone Road
Highgate Hill 4101
P - 07 3217 2180

Brisbane German Club
416 Vulture Street
East Brisbane 4169
P - 07 3391 2434

King Ludwig's Restaurant and Klaushouse Mountain Bar
401 Mountain View Road
Maleny 4552
P - 07 5499 9377

Bavarian Blue
Shop 9, 381 Main Road
Wellington Point 4160
P - 3207 2255

Ditche's Rheinkeller Restaurant
Shop 7, 22 Middle Street
Cleveland 4163
P - 07 3286 7756

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Euro 2008 - France

Next up is France. After their hiding this morning courtesy of the in-form Dutch team, things are looking a bit shaky for Les Bleus. If Romania manage to beat The Netherlands in their final group game, both France and Italy will be out.

Luckily there are plenty of French eateries in Brisbane. I won't try to list them all, but here are a few of the better ones.

Top of the tree when it comes to French food in Brisbane is Montrachet. I still haven't eaten here, but its high on my list of places to get to. There are some incredibly tempting dishes on the menu. For entree, try coquilles St Jacques sur ses beignets de crabe (char grilled sea scallops on sand crab dumplings with tarragon jus - $21) or cervelles panées aux tomates confites (deep fried crumbed lambs’ brains, semi dried Roma tomatoes with fennel and green olive tapenade - $18). Mains cover some French classics, like bouillabaisse (reef fish, Queensland scallops, fresh green prawns and Moreton Bay bugs served in a rich seafood broth with aioli and garlic French toast - $32) and steak, frites, salade (eye fillet cooked to your liking and served with green salad, homemade French fries and choice of either green peppercorn or béarnaise sauce - $38). No good French meal would be complete without a glass of wine or two, and there is a terrific wine list at Montrachet, including a lovely selection of Burgundy (as you'd expect from a restaurant named after one of its most famous vineyards).

Not far behind is Baguette, which has been operating in Brisbane for over 30 years. Bruno Loubet is now in the kitchen, putting together some great French menus. Options at Baguette include a plate of house made duck charcuteries ($26.50), roast white rabbit, preserved lemon and orange puree, breaded fennel confit ($36.50) and quail “crepinette” - corn risotto, pomegranate jus and wild rocket ($38). I had a beautiful cassoulet when we ate at Baguette last year. It was so good I still remember it vividly. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed with the wine list, which doesn't have the strength of the lists at Montrachet or La Belle Epoque.

La Belle Epoque is a relative newcomer to the Brisbane food scene. As soon as you walk in the door, you know you're in a French restaurant. La Belle Epoque has an enormous menu for any time of the day, and is more focused on classic French bistro food. The wine list is completely French, which I think is fantastic to see for a Brisbane restaurant. I've already done a couple of posts about La Belle Epoque, the main one you can read here.

Finally, if it's a patisserie that you're looking for, head to Chouquette in New Farm. You'll find beautiful breads, pastries and cakes here that will bring back memories of your favourite French patisserie or boulangerie.

224 Given Terrace
Paddington 4064
P - 07 3367 0030
W -

150 Racecourse Road
Ascot 4007
T - 07 3268 6168
E -
W -

La Belle Epoque
1000 Ann Street
Fortitude Valley 4006
P - 07 3852 1500
E -
W -

Shop 1, 19 Barker Street
New Farm 4005
P - 07 3358 6336

Friday, 13 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Czech Republic

The Czech Republic's next match against Turkey is a real crunch game. Whichever team wins will go through to the next round, so it should be a great game. The Czech team had a good first up win against Switzerland, but were unlucky to be beaten 3-1 by Portugal this week.

If you're after some Czech food in Brisbane, head along to the Czechoslovakia Club. I haven't been able to find out too much about the Czechoslovakia Club, but here is what Natascha Mirosch from The Courier Mail had to say about it:

It's not one of the biggest, but its patrons are fiercely loyal, many driving across town to eat the traditional Czech food lovingly prepared by chef Lyn Kratochvil and other volunteers.
The club has about 300 members, and this year celebrates 50 years. It's possible to dine like a kaiser for a pauper's price with three courses, a soup, main, dessert and coffee costing a paltry $12.

This is not the tasteless tepid stuff of bain maries though. The Czechs are proud of their food, and everything is cooked fresh on the day.

So what exactly is Czech food?

"We Slav nations all have similar food. The Russian, Polish, and Czech, we might call them different things but they are very similar. It's careful, slow-cooked, hearty food," says club president Stanya Bilek. Pork is a particular Czech favourite as well as hearty marinated meats. "We have a special potato and wild mushroom soup, too, but of course it's very hard to get wild mushrooms here."

Bilek does concede that Czech food is rich "but everything in moderation", she says. The club has around eight Czech beers, including Velkopopovicky Kozel and Breznak at $4.50 for half a litre, as well as Czech liqueurs for $2.50.

The Czechs have a sweet tooth, too, it seems, with a delicious array of pastries, streudels and fruit dumplings to round off a meal. The club is renowned for its friendliness and welcomes everyone, says Bilek, with no Czech heritage required.

You can read the full article about Brisbane clubs here. If the Czech team wins the game against Turkey, it could be a big night at the Czechoslovakia Club.

Czechoslovakia Club
25 Upfield Road
Burbank 4156
P - 07 3343 3489

German Beer & Wine Festival

Sticking on the subject of all things European, I've just found out about the German Beer & Wine Festival, which is on at the German Club this weekend.

It actually started tonight, but it's continuing tomorrow night, from 6pm. Entry is $5 and you can expect German food and German beers on tap, together with German dancing and entertainment.

German Beer & Wine Festival
6pm - midnight, Saturday 14 June 2008
Brisbane German Club
416 Vulture Street
East Brisbane 4169
P - 07 3391 2434
W -

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Switzerland

As a result of the games last night, I've had to skip to Switzerland. Unfortunately, Switzerland, although having another game to play, are now out. Not exactly what you hope for as a co-host of a major tournament, but that's football I suppose. It was a pretty cruel way to lose, with Turkey scoring the winning goal in the 92nd minute of the game.

But if you're a Swiss supporter, don't despair, as there are a couple of places in Brisbane where you can enjoy food to remind you of home.

One such place is Des Alpes at Mitchelton. I haven't eaten at Des Alpes, but I have a few friends who love the place. Entrees at Des Alpes include bundnerfleisch mit nussbrot (thin slices of Swiss style air-dried beef, served with homemade bread, butter, pickles and sour cream - $12.50) and truite fumee (smoked river trout served with salad, sour cream dressing and toast - $12.50). For mains you can try out Zurich geschnetzeltes (sliced veal in mushroom cream sauce - $24.50) or kassler (smoked pork tenderloin served with sauerkraut and mild pepper sauce - $24.50).

But no Swiss restaurant would be complete without fondue, and at Des Alpes you can take your pick from cheese, meat or chocolate fondues. And if you really want to go over the top with fondue, you can have cheese fondue for entrée, meat fondue for main and chocolate fondue for dessert ($40.50 per person).

Des Alpes also has separate gluten-free, vegetarian and dairy free menus, which allows plenty of choice for everyone. The restaurant is both licensed and BYO.

If it's a Swiss deli you're after, look no further than the Swiss Gourmet Delicatessen at West End. I've walked past this deli hundreds of times over the years, but I don't think I've ever been inside. The deli sells cheese, cured & smoked meats, pâté, chocolate, salads, pastries, pasta, oils and loads of other goodies. The Swiss Gourmet Deli also offers a pretty reasonably priced catering service if you're in need of finger food for a party.

Des Alpes Swiss Restaurant
47 Blackwood Street
Mitchelton 4053
P - 07 3355 9627

Swiss Gourmet Delicatessen
181 Boundary Street
West End 4101
P - 07 3844 2937

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Croatia

Next up, it's Croatia. Croatia are off to a good start, with a 1-0 win over Austria the other night. Unless something goes pretty wrong in the next couple of games, I expect to see Croatia get through the first group stage.

When I think of Croatian food, I remember the fantastic seafood I had in Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is a pretty amazing place if you ever get the chance to go there. The other thing I remember about Croatia is their excellent beer (or pivo if you're in Croatia).

If you're looking for somewhere to celebrate a big win by the Croatian boys, or just want to try something a bit different, head to Misho's at Taringa. Misho's was a popular place to eat at Ashgrove for years and years, and has recently moved to Taringa. The menu at Misho's includes seafood buzara (scallops, prawns, mussels and fish, poached in champagne with lemon and olive oil - $17), snails cooked in grape brandy, wine and creamy garlic sauce, served on toast ($15), beef pasticada (beef larded with bacon, garlic and carrots, poached in red wine vinegar and port, served with fried gnocchi - $28) or monkfish and strudel (baked monkfish medallions served with prawn and dill strudel on tomato coulis - $32).

I've never made it to Misho's before, but the menu sure sounds tempting. I'm adding it to my never-ending list of places to try out. Misho's is open for lunch and dinner. It's BYO wine only, with a $2 per person corkage charge.

Restaurant Misho's
Shop 1, 186 Moggill Road
Taringa 4068
P - 07 3870 2255

Monday, 9 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Austria

Seeing as I'm going through the countries in alphabetical order, Austria is first up.

Austria is one of the co-hosts of the tournament, so there is plenty of pressure on their team to perform. They are also the lowest ranked team in Euro 2008, so its not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. Losing their first game to Croatia means they might be gone after the first round, but hopefully their home crowd will get them through.

When it comes to Austrian food in Brisbane, head out to K&K Austrian Bakery and Coffee House at Sinnamon Park. I haven't been there, but the menu on their website has a pretty extensive range of Austrian food, covering breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu includes Tiroler speckknodel (bacon dumpling soup), beuschel (braised veal heart in sauce with steamed dumpling), a range of schnitzel, sausages and their signature dessert of kaiserschmarren mit zwetschgenroster (souffle pancakes with a plum compote). You can even have an Austrian wine or beer with your schnitzel, to complete the Austrian experience.

K&K Austrian Bakery and Coffee House
Shop 7, Sinnamon Park Village
58 Oldfield Road
Sinnamon Park 4073
P - 07 3376 1822

Euro 2008 Food Guide

Well now that Euro 2008 is well and truly underway, I'm going to try and find somewhere to eat in Brisbane for each of the 16 participating countries. Whether you're a Greek visitor to Brisbane, or just looking for a new place to eat, hopefully you'll find the posts useful, or at least interesting.

I think a few of the countries are going to be a bit tricky, but I'll give it a go. If anyone knows of any restaurants/bars/clubs that I've missed, please leave a comment and I'll update my post for that country.

As for the tournament itself, I always used to support Italy in any European competitions. But after they knocked the Socceroos out of the last World Cup, I'm backing Spain for Euro 2008. Spain are the eternal chokers when it comes to big competitions, but maybe this will be their year.

Click on Q Photography Competition

I've just found out about the Click on Q Photography Competition, for all you budding food photographers. All you have to do is submit a photo of a Queensland chef or winemaker. The judges are looking for humour in an image that captures the essence of the job and the passion of being in the hospitality industry.

The competition is open to everyone, and first prize is $2,000. Five finalists will also recieve a $200 voucher for Baguette at Ascot. Photos have to be submitted by 27 June 2008, and you can find the entry form here.

I'll have to find some inspiration to put in an entry. In the meantime, here's one from my travels in Morocco.

The photography competition seems to be a part of a bigger event called Food and Wine on Q, which is happening in late July. The website is here, but there isn't a lot of detail up yet. I'll put up another post once a bit more info has been released about the event.

Kumamoto Beef

I don't normally order too much beef in restaurants. Normally I prefer to eat something I can't whip up myself at home. Every now and again though there comes a time and place to order a good steak.

We've just been lucky enough to spend the weekend at Peppers' Hidden Vale, which is out near Grandchester. Peppers' Hidden Vale is actually located on a working cattle property, called Old Hidden Vale. They run wagyu cattle on the property, and not surprisingly wagyu beef popped up on the restaurant menu. It's not every day that you get to try grade 7 wagyu steak, sourced from the same property. I'll put up a post about our dinners at the restaurant at Pepper's Hidden Vale, including the delicious wagyu steak.

Just as we were checking out, I was wondering if we could actually buy any of the wagyu beef that came from Old Hidden Vale. As some kind of bizarre coincidence, The Weekend Australian had a little article on the Peppers' resorts in South East Queensland, noting that Peppers' Hidden Vale was just about to start marketing beef under the Kumamoto brand.

The coincidences continued. On the drive home, we stopped in at Schulte's Meat Tavern, on the Warrego Highway at Plainland. As luck would have it, Schulte's stock a range of Kumamoto wagyu beef. I picked up a rump steak, which was $24.99 a kilo, but you can also buy a whole wagyu eye fillet for about $40, which seems like a bargain.

I've been Googling away this afternoon, but I haven't been able to find anywhere in Brisbane that stocks Kumamoto wagyu. But if you're keen to try some locally produced wagyu beef, drop in to Schulte's next time you're on the way back to Brisbane. Hopefully Kumamoto wagyu will make it to the shelves of Brisbane butchers soon.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Creative Food Sculptures

A friend of mine from Welcome to the Jungle put me onto these great food sculptures from Wacky Archives.

Hope you enjoy them. I think my favourite one is the tomato guy talking to the cauliflower sheep. No doubt it took someone very patient a long long time to put them together.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Kelvin Grove Urban Village Markets

More markets for Brisbane! This time it's the turn of Kelvin Grove. Starting this Saturday, Peter Hackworth will be running the Kelvin Grove Urban Village Markets.

I haven't been able to find out too much about them as yet, but the Kelvin Grove Urban Village website promises retro clothes, original art, ethnic food and artefacts, jewellery, and much more.

The markets will be held every Saturday, running from 6am till 1pm. I can't get along to them this weekend, but will try to check them out next Saturday and put a post up about them.

I think its great to see more markets popping up in central Brisbane, especially if it means we can all buy more fresh meat, vegetables and food from local suppliers.

Kelvin Grove Urban Village Markets
6am - 1pm Saturdays
Blamey Street (between Musk Avenue and Victoria Park Road)
Kelvin Grove 4059

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Harveys Bistro & Bar

I recently caught up with a few of my wine buddies for lunch, and we each brought along a special bottle. The hard part turned out to be finding a BYO restaurant that was open for Saturday lunch. After I had hunted around the internet for a while, it came down to a shortlist of Harveys or Sprout. We ended up going to Harveys because we were all coming from the Northside, and it was the easiest to get to.

Usually I try to avoid James Street like the plague, because parking is always an absolute nightmare. Although I wasn't driving after lunch, I had to drive in, and I ran into the usual parking terrors. I eventually got to lunch 20 minutes late, after finding a park about 10 minutes walk away.

I'd only ever been to Harveys for breakfast before, and that was before PJ McMillan had taken over, so I wasn't sure what to expect. We started off with a bottle of 1996 Bruno Paillard Champagne, which is a pretty fine way to kick off any lunch. It was a beautiful wine, with a few years ahead of it yet. After lingering over a glass or two of the Champagne, it was time to order.

I knew we had a bottle of aged chardonnay up next, so I tried to pick an entree that would match the wine. Entrees on the menu include Jerusalem artichoke tart with blue cheese, date, bitter leaves and red wine vinegar ($18), seafood risotto with chorizo, paprika, chilli and rocket ($19.50) and quail saltimbocca, grilled fig, mustard fruits, rocket and cress salad ($18.50). After a fair bit of indecision, I reminisced about the great tapas I had in Spain and ordered the Jamón serrano reserva, simply shaved with artichoke, rocket and goat's curd ($17).

It was about now when we opened the second bottle, a 1999 Giaconda Chardonnay, which sits in the upper echelons of Australian chardonnay. I know Jamon serrano isn't exactly what you'd call the perfect match with an aged chardonnay, but I love the stuff. Although the Jamon serrano was good, with its amazing depth of flavour, it wasn't as simple as the menu had made it out to be. The artichoke, rocket and goats curd had a tad too much dressing on it, which seemed to be mainly balsamic vinegar. It was a shame, because the dressing took away from the flavour of the Jamon serrano, which should have been the focus of the dish. Personally I would have preferred to have no dressing at all (the menu didn't mention a dressing) or maybe just a touch of good olive oil, which is all these lovely ingredients needed. The goat's curd was divine.

We also had one of the salt & pepper calamari with lime aioli and citrus on the table ($15.90) which disappeared pretty quickly.

After the two great white wines, it was time to open a red before the main courses arrived. We eventually had the waiter decant our bottle of 1992 Bests Thomson Family shiraz, which I was really looking forward to. The Thomson Family shiraz is one of those wines that is very hard to find, even if you are on Bests mailing list. One that's 16 years old is something pretty special. It was of course a lovely aged red, that still had time ahead of it in the cellar.

I knew the shiraz was on the way, so it had to be some kind of red meat for my main course. That narrowed the options to lamb rump with pumpkin, sage, roasted onion, peas and horseradish cream ($29) or the grilled eye fillet with potato rosti, wilted spinach, crisp prosciutto and shallot confit ($34). The mains also included Atlantic salmon with crushed potatoes, sweet corn, bacon, fennel and chive cream ($27) and chicken breast with garlic butter on mash with roasted mushrooms and pancetta ($27).

The lamb rump was good, and a perfect match for the aged Victorian shiraz. So good that I was trying to scrape up every last bit off the plate. It was delicious comfort food.

By the time dessert came around, we had already gone through three bottles of wine, so we decided on just a couple of cheeses ($9.50 for one, $13.00 for two, $16.50 for three or $19.00 for four). There are of course other desserts, like passionfruit and lemon mascarpone terrine with papaya and mint salad and autumn fruit crumble with fresh cream, white chocolate and macadamia ice cream (both $11).

Harveys is licenced and BYO. The wine list is compact, but excellent - exactly how a wine list should be. There is a very well thought out selection of wines by the glass, and the whole list is extremely well priced. Harveys also offers a selection of older vintage wines (which you'll find on the blackboard) that have been carefully cellared at Wineaway.

If you're looking for something other than wine, Harveys have a selection of coffees ($3.20 for flat white) and tea to end the meal, but we decided to wander up James Street to Merlos, and grab a coffee there instead.

Service was a little bit patchy to start with, until the more senior waiter realised we had brought along some pretty decent wines. After that small hiccup, the service was seamless.

If you're heading out to a BYO lunch on the weekend, it's pretty hard to go past Harveys. You can sit either inside or out, depending on the weather, and the restaurant has a welcoming, relaxed feel. Harveys is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What does all this mean? A relaxed modern bistro, perfect for a weekend lunch, where you can either enjoy the smart wine list, or bring your own bottle.

food bling ratings
Food - Good
Service - Good
Ambience - Relaxed, modern bistro
Value for Money - Good
Wine - Licensed & BYO
Vegetarian - OK

Harveys Bistro and Bar
Shop 4, 31 James Street
Fortitude Valley 4006
P - 07 3852 3700
E -
W -

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