Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Coppa Spuntino - the Italian snack shop


The ever changing Brisbane CBD restaurant scene has been active again, with a brand new Italian spot opening in the heart of the city. No, I'm not talking about Jamie's Italian, which opened up a few weeks ago. I'm talking about a funky little spot in Creek Street called Coppa Spuntino, which as luck would have it, can be seen from my office window!

There is a little spot in Creek Street that has had a little bit of misfortune over the last few years. Originally part of the new development at the back of the National Australia Bank building on the corner of Queen and Creek Street, the little spot at 88 Creek Street was once slated for bigger fish.  It was rumored that Melbourne institution Taxi was to take over the lease, but a little thing called the GFC kicked in and killed that plan.  Adelaide coffee institution CIBO espresso got a little bit further, establishing yet another attempt at the Brisbane market before fading away (pretty quickly too).

Cursed site?  Maybe, but well respected Brisbane duo Bonnie Shearston and Tom Sanceau, of Public and Red Hook, saw an opportunity to expand their culinary empire and had Italian cuisine firmly in their sights.  The site is quite compact, so instead of going with a full blown Italian joint, the pair have come up with an interesting concept.  Spuntino means 'snack' in Italian, and that's pretty much the concept for their restaurant Coppa Spuntino.

I'm a huge fan of Public, which in its first year of operation won a Brisbane Times Good Food Guide chefs hat, as well as taking out that year's 'Best New Restaurant' (see post here).  I'm less enamored with their US of A style offering, Red Hook, which is OK, but inconsistent (see post here), but given I love Italian cuisine, I couldn't wait to get in and check out Coppa.  As it turned out, I loved the place so much, I've practically lived there since!

Cheap Eats Lunch - Meat and Eat in Brisbane Square


The construction around Brisbane town continues with a brand new food development at Brisbane Square replacing the tired old food court.  If you've not been up to Brisbane Square in a while, you will surely be surprised, with a handful of new eateries opening up spiffy looking new venues.  It's been a slow transformation, with most of the old fast food joints closing down and the area looking like a bit of a construction zone for what seemed like an age.

Of course, once I knew that the space had opened up and the new restaurants were trading, I headed down for a sticky beak, which lead to a quick bite to eat at Meat and Eat, a sister venue of the Cutting Board (see post here) in George Street and Hive Coffee and Eat House over at Eagle Street (see post here).  General Manager of the group, Anthony Attard, has been a busy lad, not only opening Meat and Eat recently, but a number of other venues at Brisbane Square.  Anthony (great name by the way) is clearly a man who loves his meat, as each of his venues focus on different parts of my favourite animals (to eat, that is).

Meat and Eat is pretty much a carbon copy of the Eagle Street eatery Hive Coffee and Eat House, its nice and casual and it targets the lunch time eating crowd.  With a menu that focuses on meat based sandwiches and cuts of meat that come with salads, it's not a place that will be mistaken as a vegetarian hang out.  I guess the title of the cafe says it all....  Those of you that love your Reuben sandwiches will love this place, the Reuben takes pride of place as the first item on the menu.  Other sandwiches include the Watson (rare beef), the Spaniard (chorizo) and the Corporate (ham), each catering to a different animal.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Sake Brisbane - Sunday funday champagne and sashimi


Now that we're getting into the warmer months, I bet you're looking for a cool spot, hopefully with river views and a nice breeze. Someplace that you can sit down, chill out and have a fabulous Sunday-funday.  I'm guessing it would be even better if there was some relaxed tunes and the type of refreshments that just work on those hot summer afternoons.....

As part of the recent #G20 global flavours, I was invited along to such a spot and spent a completely relaxed and chilled Sunday afternoon in one of the best dining spots in Brisbane.  Sake Restaurant is arguably the best Japanese restaurant in Queensland (tied with Sono Portside and Wasabi) and turned out to be the perfect spot for a quiet Sunday afternoon leading up to Brisbane's own global event.

With a coveted Good Food Times chefs hat, you're always guaranteed to have a sensational Japanese meal at Sake, which has a lot to do with the way Executive Chef Shaun Presland has set the place up. Teamed with Head Chef Daisuke Sakai, Sake Brisbane distinguishes itself from its sister restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne with its use of regional produce that, in my opinion, is the best in Australia.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Breakfast Series - Bar Pacino

I almost sound like a broken record, but it's amazing how many new spots are opening up around Brisbane, with new venues seemingly opening on a daily basis.  There are also so many older buildings in the CBD that are getting a make over, that it's hard to count them all.  Of course, a new facade means a new cafe or restaurant opening.  I've been watching the old CUA building (otherwise known as the Hopoate Building due to the installation art) go through its make over recently and was excited to learn about another new dining spot.

Taking a slightly different approach, the team behind new Italian bar e ristorante (bar and restaurant) have literally built new floor space behind the building, almost like land reclamation. Giuseppe Petroccitto, of the Bellezza Group, is the man behind Bar Pacino and has done a wonderful job with the fit out.  With floor to ceiling glass windows, the restaurant and bar has arguably the best view of the Story Bridge and Brisbane river in Queensland.

I'd been looking for an opportunity to get across the street to check out the newly opened Bar Pacino and after a few false starts (it was stupidly busy for the first week or so), I arranged to get across for a breakfast.  You're probably aware by now that I am moving from Brisbane to Hong Kong in early January, so I'd been looking for times to catch up with mates before I head off. Fellow foodie and former Brisbane food blogger, JC from Feed Me Now Brisbane was my dining companion for the morning and I was really looking forward to catch up before I finally leave our shores.


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