Sunday, 20 April 2014

Champ Kitchen & Bar - dining on a public holiday

I'd been pretty concerned when I found out that one of the great open spaces at South Bank was going to be torn up and developed into the new ABC studios.  I love to see Brisbane develop, but I'd wondered at the logic of tearing up one of the nicest areas of the precincts for another building.  As it turned out, the development went ahead and the space was transformed into a pretty decent looking building that felt as if it's always belonged there.

In that new building was a lovely looking restaurant created by Justine Whelan of very popular Paddington cafe, Anouk, which is one of my favourite breakfast spots around town (see post here).  Champ Kitchen and Bar has been designed to be in perfect harmony with its surrounds in South Bank, with a very open and modern feel that lets the outside in. It's located right outside the Brisbane Wheel and the forecourt of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, which makes it a perfect location for a quick meal before a show or a lingering meal if you have the time.

It was the Easter long weekend and we'd been for a meandering walk over the Story Bridge, then along the Kangaroo Point cliffs and finally to Southbank, where we spotted that Champ Kitchen was actually open for the weekend.  We wandered into the dining area to check if the dining room would be open for dinner and decided to make a booking on the spot.  Unsure what else would be open for the public holiday, we thought that it would be better to be locked in for dinner early to avoid disappointment.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Fish Lane Bistro - An orange and caramel sauce to die fo

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" is a quote that's attributed to William Edward Hickson and is fairly self explanatory.  The Fox Hotel certainly lives by these words after recently 'retiring' its dedicated meatball venture (see post here) and establishing a more traditional bistro style restaurant in the space formerly occupied by the Meatball Company.  The Meatball Co had a very short and unremarkable stay in the Brisbane dining scene, which was a shame as I'd personally had high hopes for the concept after enjoying a number of meatball style restaurants in New York (see post here).

The Fox Hotel has named their new venture the Fish Lane Bistro, aptly if not a little unimaginatively named after the lane that runs right next to the little bistro.  To help ensure that Fish Lane Bistro got off to the right start, the Fox acquired the services of well known Brisbane chef Jonno Bryant who most recently had moved from Peasant and Cabria at the Petrie Barracks.  Using his experiences at the Barracks restaurants as well as a stint at Montrachet and time in charge at Anise in Newfarm, the Fox is hoping that Jonno can use his experience to create a new and iconic bistro. 

I'd been hanging out with some blogger friends for some Eat Drink Blog planning over at the State Library, which had taken up much of the afternoon, so I'd arranged to meet SC over at Fish Lane.  It was a short walk from the state library to the restaurant and even through it was a wet and miserable evening, I managed to get over without being soaked.  I ended up arriving right on time and was shown directly to my seat to wait for SC, who was struggling to find a park near the restaurant.  Eventually SC trudged through the door looking a bit miffed that she'd had to park so far away.  Note to self, parking in South Brisbane can suck...

Friday, 18 April 2014

Breakfast Series - Scout Cafe

I quite often go through 'eating-out' phases, with breakfast being one of my favourite.  It had been quite some time since we had been out for breakfast and I was feeling a bit scratchy about it. There was a period late last year when we would go out for breakfast religiously but strangely we'd stopped. It took a late night text from our buddy DruBoy to see what we were doing for breakfast the next morning and seeing if we wanted to come along to check out Scout Cafe.  It's always fun catching up with DruBoy, so we quickly agreed to breakfast and arranged an 8:00am start.

I'd been hearing great things about Scout Cafe but had only a vague understanding of where it was located, but oriented myself as soon as we parked our car across the street on Petrie Terrace.  We'd walked along Petrie Terrace a thousand times over the years and I'd not really noticed the little shopfront on the corner of Petrie Terrace and Princess Street before.  Petrie Terrance had always been a bit of 'no-mans-land' and the quaint little shopfront had been an empty shell for a long, long time before owners Suse Whitehouse and Candy Smith took carriage of the spot and turned their long held dream into a reality.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Casual Dining - Fiesta Ole Mexican Cuisine

Given it was a Thursday night, we'd initially planned to have a quite night at home and SC had actually planned to have one of her two fasting days for the week.  That all changed pretty quickly when we received a text around lunch time from our mate DruBoy asking if we wanted to check out a new Mexican restaurant in the Valley.  It's not unusual to get a late request from DruBoy, the last of which was a free ticket to see Jamie Oliver and his crew, an offer in which I would have jumped at if the offer wasn't the next day and in Sydney!  Anyway, this offer was a little less dramatic and always keen to check out new restaurants, we agreed to catch up.

There's been so many high profile restaurants opening in the last few months, it's pretty easy to miss out on the smaller openings and Fiesta Ole was just such a restaurant.  Located on Turbot Street just around the corner from the Valley Woolworths complex, it would be pretty easy to miss the little Mexican diner unless you knew it was there.  Fiesta Ole is actually in a little shop that we used to walk past all the time when doing our shopping in the Valley Woolies which never seemed to have tenants for very long.  It had been ages since we walked past that little shop so we had absolutely no idea that it had changed yet again.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Casual Dining - The George Bar & Bistro

I'd been holding off on checking out the new dining spot in 111 Eagle Street in the CBD, it had been just too painful to see one of my favourite little bistros closing down after only a year. Philip Johnson's One Eleven had been one of my first blog posts and a spot that I'd regularly dined at and I took it's closure hard.

Generally speaking though, time heals all wounds and I'd decided to check out The George Bar about a month ago for a lunch catch up with a colleague.  We'd had a fairly basic lunch and a fairly average experience at the time but since I was not in blogger mode, didn't post about my experience.  Fast forward a bit and I was looking for a nice casual spot to have some dinner with SC after she'd had a pretty late night at work.  In the past Bistro One Eleven would have fit the bill perfectly, so we decided it was time to get across together and see what The George Bar & Bistro had to offer for dinner.

The George Bar and Bistro is actually the latest offering of former Wallabies halfback George Gregan and his wife Erica, who have been slowly building a commercial empire in the dining industry.  While The George is Gregan's first foray into the Brisbane market, you may be surprised to know that he's already launched more than 17 venues in laneways and office buildings around Sydney and Canberra.  

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