Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Breakfast Series - Plenty over at West End

I love going out for breakfast and I'm not alone, it seems as if everyone wants to check out the latest Brisbane breakfast hot spot, which seems to change with stark regularity.  One of the hottest places to check out for some time has been Plenty, over in West End and I've been keen to check it out for ages. I'd have gone earlier too, if it wasn't for the fact that Plenty does not open on Sunday mornings, which is our normal morning for breakfast out.  Drats!

You might be thinking, why not just go on a Saturday, damn it!!  And its a good point, except SC has her personal training sessions on a Saturday morning and we almost never get away for breakfast as a consequence.  That all changed unexpectedly over the weekend and SC was not feeling up to the rigours of PT torture, but it did open up a window of opportunity, which was quickly filled with a trip to West End.

It was a rainy and miserable morning, too wet for us to walk the short(ish) distance to West End, so we hopped in the car and cruised on over to look for a park.  For those in the know, this is no easy feat, with the West End markets dominating the area on a Saturday morning, so SC did the usual 'dump-n-run', so I could score a seat.  Located on Montague Road, just around the corner from the start of Stanley Street, Plenty had plenty of seats available once I'd been dumped by the sidewalk near the entrance.  I was able to score a great seat and sat around for some time before SC made her way into the cafe, brolly in hand.  Apparently, she'd had to park quite some way away!

While I'd been waiting for SC, I'd managed to have a decent look around the cafe, which was located in a big warehouse type environment, that looked (purposefully) like an incomplete building site in parts and funky cafe in the middle.  A huge looking kitchen was down at the very rear of the cafe, with extra seating tucked around the corner.  It was a very interesting looking little cafe, with lots of seating spread out over the area, including a second story, that again looked like an incomplete building with exposed wood beams.

Melbourne Series - The Meat and Wine Co

With so many restaurants to choose from and usually being the guy that makes the choices, it was unusual for me to hand over the decision to others to choose a spot for dinner.  I'm not sure if I'd have picked the Meat and Wine Co as an early choice when visiting Melbourne, but it was the last day of a conference I'd been attending and the Meat and Wine Co is where we'd been booked.

I'd not heard of the Meat and Wine Co but quickly got up to speed.  Established in 2000, the Meat and Wine Co was created to create a family friendly steakhouse dining experience.  With a number of outlets around the cooler suburbs around  Sydney and Melbourne, the Meat and Wine Co has adopted an African meets Australian theme inside the restaurant.

We were booked into the Southbank outlet of the M&WC, which was just across the street from the Crown complex.   Our reservation was for 6pm sharp, with express instructions that we had to be out for the second sitting of the night at 8pm.  I was really surprised by this, given it was a Thursday, it was impressive that they could maintain a double sitting on a week night.  I was even more impressed when we finally hit the restaurant and saw how big the dining area was, over several floors.

It was pretty easy to see where the wine section came from in the name, with an extraordinary array of wines on display as we made our way upstairs to our table.  Walking up the stairs, there was a three story high stack of crates, filled with bottles of wine of all descriptions.  Of course, not being a connoisseur of wine, they could have all been ordinary, but visually, the stack was spectacular.  I was keen to see if the meat side of the name would be as impressive.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Melbourne Series - Bistro Guillaume Crown Casino

I'm pretty fortunate in that I get to travel around the country a bit, which allows me to go to some pretty awesome restaurants outside of Queensland.  I was recently in Melbourne for a week and stayed in one of the best foodie complexes in Australia, Crown Casino.  Now I'm not a gambling man and don't really love the concept of gambling in a casino, but Crown sure does know how to put a whole complex together.  Some of the best restaurants in Melbourne are located at the Crown complex, which makes it really easy to get access to great food when staying at one of the Crown hotels.

I was down in Melbourne for a tech conference, which the geeky side of me always finds pretty exciting, but like the saying goes 'all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy'.  So I took the opportunity in between bouts of serious work (well, as serious as you can get at a tech conference) to check out some nice dining spots.

We were in Crown Palladium for the conference, which is coincidentally just a few steps away from some amazing restaurants, including Rockpool Bar and Grill (see post here) and Number 8 (see post here), just to name a few.  I'd been to many others in the complex, but all prior to commencing my blog, so I really wanted to get in to write about one of my favourite little French bistros in Melbourne.  

Bistro Guillaume is one of the many restaurants around the country set up by Guillaume Brahimi and has been awarded an Australian Good Food Guide chefs hat, which is usually a pretty good indicator of quality.   Inspired by many of France's neighbourhood bistros, the restaurant has a very chic and Parisian feel about it, while maintaining a modern edge.  What I really love about Bistro Guillaume is their lunch time special, which comes in at a very special $49 dollars for two courses or $59 for three courses.  The prices are actually pretty unbelievable, considering many of the mains on offer start at $40 dollars anyway.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Breakfast Series - Il Locale - my (not quite) local Italian

For a long long time, one of my favourite breakfast spots in Brisbane was just around the corner from my apartment in the CBD.  Bordering on the City / Valley fringe is a little shopping complex that amongst other things houses the Valley Woolworths as well as a little breakfast spot called Tognini's Trattoria (see post here).  Unfortunately, as was the case once I started blogging about food, I stopped going to my regular spots so often, mainly so I could get out and experience as many restaurants and cafes as possible.

I was petty excited to learn that another restaurant owned by the Togninis had started a breakfast service, so excited that I decided that I had to get across and check it out.  I'd been to Il Locale once before, and that was for the opening launch party (see post here) which had been pretty good, but I'd not been back since.  Located in my old stomping ground in the Rosalie Village (I used to live just around the corner), Il Locale took over from my all time favourite pizza spot - Tomato Brothers, which unfortunately doesn't exist any more.

We'd decided that a breakfast with our very good buddies, Thommo and DruBoy was well overdue and that catching up over a nice breakfast in Rosalie would be a fantastic idea.  Our breakfasts with Thommo and DruBoy have become more frequent in the last twelve months and DruBoy and I have been branching out without the girls lately too, so breakfast is our new thing!  It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning when we made our way across to Rosalie and surprisingly found that the whole area was pretty much dead!  It was puzzling to us as we remember the area as being a bustling hive of activity on a Sunday morning.


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