Alfred & Constance

Alfred & Constance has a distinctively Queensland vibe. Maybe it’s the weatherboard house and the party lights but it just yells, “come in, relax, have a drink, EAT, enjoy our fun atmosphere and drink some more.”  So we did.

DSC02925DSC02913There was nothing on the menu that didn’t tempt me so I spent plenty of time considering the options. For starters do we go with the southern fried chicken drumsticks with bourbon caramel sauce ($15.90) or the flame grilled lamb cutlets with yoghurt, tahini and garlic sauce ($16.90 for two). In the end we chose the blue swimmer crab cakes with hot pink mayo ($15.90 for 2) and the crispy calamari with sweet paprika mayo ($14.90). Crab cakes that were actually filled with crab and not a filler and the most tender calamari I’ve had in a long time. It was a happy start.

Crab cakes and calamari starterI actually had a tougher time choosing a main. I really wanted to try the pig carved from the whole hog and served with apple sauce, crackling and skin on potatoes (250g $32) or the slow roasted pork belly with smokey cauliflower puree and roast pear ($29.90) but in the end I went with duck, something I rarely order. Duck served with braised leek, lentils and quince ($32.90). It was the combo of braised leek, lentils and quince that got me in the end. Al went healthy again (what is going on here) and had the Cone Bay barra with lemon and sea salt crust, kipfler potatoes and sugar snap peas ($32.90).

Barra

DuckAl’s fish dish was cooked perfectly and so pretty to look at with all of the fresh colours. After a mix-up with my main (I was served a beautiful looking bowl of gnocchi with roast pumpkin and walnuts ($27.90), the duck arrived and looked spectacular. It was a sweeter dish than I had anticipated, the quince, maybe a little overpowering for the leek and lentils but still a delicious flavour combo. Our side dish of sauteed peas, brussel sprouts, broccolini, bacon and pine nuts ($9) was a winner. I devoured most of this while waiting for my duckie.

Brussel sproutsFor a sweet ending we enjoyed the crepes with lemon curd and vanilla ice cream, a traditional sticky date pud (both $14.90) and a piccolo of Vittoria coffee.

A&C has a great atmosphere. The music is cool but not too loud so you can still talk without yelling. The service we experienced (thanks Cody) was thoughtful and friendly. There is plenty to look at (I especially liked the walk to the bathrooms) and the glow from the EAT sign. Check out the winter menu here, text your friends and go check it out!

 Open seven days a week. Monday-Friday 7am – late. Weekends 8am – late.

Corner Alfred & Constance Streets, Fortitude Valley.

Phone: (07) 3251 6500.

For the Love of Food dined as a guest of A&C and Lucid Media.

 

 

 

 

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Sirromet winery and Tuscan Terrace

“There’s no such thing as a great wine from Queensland.” This was the statement that sparked the beginning of Sirromet Winery. Queensland entrepreneur and
businessman, Terry Morris was determined to prove his Victorian friends wrong. Since opening in 2000 Sirromet has collected over 700 prestigious national and international wine awards, most recently recognised as a 5-star winery by James Halliday.

DSC02766On a sunny Autumn day, the Sirromet wine tour followed by lunch at the Tuscan Terrace is a great way to spend a few hours. The ambiance is relaxed and the view is gorgeous, just make sure you nominate a dedicated driver!

View to the Tuscan TerraceOur wine tour, led by guide Donna, took us down into the vines, up to the main building, including viewing Terry Morris’ private wine cellar, winemaker Adam Chapman’s wine sensory room, the barrel room (which was set up for a wedding reception), wine production area and finally, to the cellar door.

Once back at the cellar door, Donna explained the six ‘S’s to tasting: Stem (hold by the); See it; Smell it; Swirl it; Sip it; Savour it. Al and I actually thought of another one, ‘Scull it’, which I wouldn’t recommend, but it did make people laugh.

Cellar door tasting roomAs you would expect, we were given the spiel about joining Club Sirromet gold or silver membership but it wasn’t a hard sell and the benefits are quite good if you wanted to try the full range of Sirromet wines and enjoy discounts on meals and other events.

After tasting a full range of whites and reds from sparkling through to dessert wine, we were ready to enjoy lunch at the Tuscan Terrace. The menu is extensive, much bigger than I was expecting. It covers everything from wood-fired pizza and hand-made pasta dishes through to veal scaloppini, slow-braised lamb shanks and light options like the chargrilled pear salad and the Tuscan salad with smoked salmon. It really does cover a lot of bases, catering to everyone’s needs.

We enjoyed; large green olives stuffed with spicy pork, crumbed and fried (a serve of ten $14.90), beer battered chips with salsa verde and garlic aioli ($10.90), Tuscan crudo pizza with Italian meatballs, fresh mozzarella, sugo, salami, white anchovy, ham, mushrooms and mortadella ($24.90) and one of the specials of the day, wood-fired ham hock, wilted peppered cabbage, truffle potato mash, pork crackling with a Sirromet cider and wild mushroom sauce (big enough for two people $29.90).

The food, using premium ingredients was seriously tasty. We enjoyed it all, but in particular the ham hock dish was sensational. Andrew told us he soaks the hock overnight in a brine and then cooks for several hours in a slow oven. The cabbage braised in pepper and vinegar and the velvety truffle mash were perfect accompaniments as was the cider and mushroom sauce. So tasty!

The specials board on this particular day also included South Australian mussels ($22.90), char-grilled fillet of Spanish mackerel ($27.90) and baked seafood lasagna ($27.90). There is also a children’s menu ranging in price from $12.90 to $17.90.

Despite my love of dessert, there was no way I could manage another bite but the choices on the day (for those who need to know) were Tiramisu; crisp meringues with fresh fruit, chantilly cream and shaved white chocolate or the warm gluten free orange, pine nut, almond and chocolate cake served with vanilla bean gelato. All $12.90.

Located at Mt Cotton, Sirromet is a pleasant drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast and would make a brilliant weekend day-trip.

Tuscan Terrace: Open for lunch Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 3pm and Sunday 11am to 3.30pm.

Winery tour and tastings ($20 per person)
Wednesday and Thursday – 12.00pm
Friday – 10.30am, 12.00pm and 2.30pm
Saturday and Sunday – 10.30am, 11.00am, 12.00pm, 1.30pm, 2.00pm, and 3.00pm

Check out some of Chef Andrew’s recipes here.

Sirromet Winery
850 Mount Cotton Road
Mount Cotton

 For the Love of Food enjoyed the wine tour and lunch as a guest of Sirromet Winery.

 

 

Eat Street

Yes, ok, I’m a bit slow off the mark. I’ve been trying to get to Eat Street for months but our Friday and Saturdays are always super busy so it was with much delight that I realised our choice for Easter Friday afternoon was sit on the couch (tempting) or mingle with the rest of Brisbane who had decided not to go away camping or boating for Easter.

DSC02486We arrived at 4pm and easily found a park. The crowds were fine, busy but not uncomfortable. By the time we left at 5.45 it was heaving with people, shoulder to shoulder, so unless you enjoy crowds and queuing for food, arrive when it opens, have a wander, eat, drink and leave, unless of course, you want to hang around for the live music and have a second dinner before everything closes at 10pm.

Being first-timers, we did a full lap to see what was on offer. Everything… everything is on offer from gluten-free donuts to pizza. Basically, you think of a food and it’ll be there, somewhere. Everything from healthy wholefood options and not so healthy (I’m talking curly potato things to giant chocolate cronuts).

We were tempted by Japanese dumplings, Turkish gozleme, Hungarian goulash, Tex Mex, the list goes on and as per usual I struggled to make a decision. I’m bad enough with a 10 item menu let alone row after row of street food vendors that all smell amazing!

We settled on two things we’ve been keen to try for awhile. The Howzat burger ($12) from Philip Johnson’s new food venture and the Chitty Chitty Banh Mi baguette ($10) from brother and sister team, Jake and Elle of MKR fame.

The caramlised pork banh mi was tasty but the baguette was huge, so a little hard to eat. Lots of fresh coriander and pickled carrot but it lacked the pate spread that I’ve become so fond of in a traditional Vietnamese banh mi. The Mexican style Howzat burger with pork belly and crackling was packed with flavour and we loved the spicy chipotle sauce.

Naturally, I had food envy while people-watching so we’ll have to go back just so I can sample a few other things. Judging by the crowds, this is exactly the type of food scene Brisbane has been crying out for.

DSC02494Top tips: Arrive early. Wear your fat pants and bring cash so you don’t have to line up at the ATM.

Eat Street Markets, Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton

$2 entry fee.

Open 4pm – 10pm every Friday and Saturday

 

 

 

Doug & Pearl

Doug & Pearl (charmingly named after owner Tomas Armstrong’s much-loved dogs) is a new player in the dining scene at Cleveland. Tomas describes the food style as “modern Australian, focusing on simple, delicious flavour combinations”. I think that describes Doug & Pearl perfectly.

A warm, two-storey, urban chic fit-out occupies what used to be a tattoo parlour. It’s an inviting space with two walls growing herbs and a well-placed mirror to make the space look larger. Bentwood chairs, wood and brick and soft lighting complete the picture.

IMG_0740The menu is a perfect size. If you are like me and struggle to make a decision when ordering food, there is nothing more annoying then having to wade through pages of a large menu. Keep it simple and do it really well. Doug & Pearl do exactly that.

We dined with our friends the Arnold family and ordered a few starters to share. Olives, in lemon, garlic and chilli ($6.50), smashed pea bruschetta with mint and buffalo mozzarella ($13.50) and local calamari with aioli ($14). The bruschetta; light and full of minty pea flavour, the calamari; melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Smashed peaOther entrees I’d be keen to try include sticky pork short ribs ($21.50), grilled tiger prawns with smashed potato and romesco sauce ($19.50).

For mains we chose the local fish of the day which was Swordfish, Linguini with local banana prawn, wild mushrooms, chilli and garlic ($28.50), Gnocchi with wild mushrooms and pork ragu ($26.50), baked meatballs with spaghetti, the salad special of roasted pumpkin and the baby beets with orange, mint and goats cheese and finally, the Spring lamb shoulder for two people (this dish comes with a choice of two sides. Our choice was smashed potatoes with rosemary and garlic, and asparagus, poached egg, truffle pecorino $69.50).

The lamb would have easily fed three people, maybe four small eaters with several side dishes. It was flavoursome and oh so tender. We were told by Tomas, that the lamb shoulders are put in the oven at 1pm every day for a slow cook. They usually only have 6 or 7 of these babies on the weekend menu, so if you really want to try the lamb mention when booking your table that you’d like to order this, that way, you won’t be disappointed. (It’s also available during the week). It came with mint sauce and roasted garlic.

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All of the mains and side dishes (I think I had a taste of them all ) had clean, simple flavours using high quality ingredients and I think, very good value for money.

We really didn’t need dessert but we wanted it anyway so Mrs A and I shared what was a fresh and modern take on a trifle made with almond sponge, marscapone, lemon curd and balsamic strawberries ($11). The chocolate chip cookie sandwich with salted caramel gelato and the chocolate brownie with chilli chocolate ganache and vanilla bean gelato (both $11) were also tempting! There is also a small but impressive cheese menu from Italy and France, all served with accompaniments.

TrifleMiss Moo enjoyed an affogato with biscotti which was nicely presented and Al had a piccolo. Coffee is by local Wynnum roaster, Dramanti and it’s good, so don’t be worried about ruining a great meal with a bad coffee.

Chef Carlo Valdarchi (former head chef at New Farm Deli) runs a tight kitchen. Once our orders were taken, the food was quick to arrive but not so the ice bucket for our wine. We had to ask about this several times. Despite this small hiccup, service was very friendly but still a few front of house kinks to iron out I think. There is a small wine list, most available by glass or bottle, at very reasonable prices but you can also byo which is a bonus.

It’s clear Doug & Pearl care about what they are doing. The quality of food and value for money is top-notch. I’m really looking forward to my next visit. At the moment they are only open for dinner but are planning on opening for weekend breakfasts in the new year. If you haven’t been for a drive to Cleveland in years, then Doug & Pearl is worth the effort. If you live in Cleveland, lucky you!

IMG_0750I just have to mention that all of these images were taken on the camera phone (unfortunately my Sony had a flat battery, doh!)

Doug & Pearl

10/18-24 Middle Street, Cleveland
Ph: 07 3821 1022

Spicers Peak Lodge

Thanks to a prawn and pineapple Thai inspired curry that I cooked last year I was lucky enough to win the Southbank Regional Flavours recipe competition sponsored by Spicers Peak Lodge. The prize worth $1490 included a nights accommodation at this beautiful lodge including 3 course lunch, 7 course dinner, breakfast, all drinks and massages. I’ve never won anything so indulgent, so to say I was excited was an understatement!

Easter Friday morning, Al and I took the scenic drive up through Cunninghams Gap to reach the peak by lunchtime. Once you take the turn off the highway, it’s a combination of sealed and dirt road that winds its way through some gorgeous scenery. Heralded by a stone entrance, you turn the corner and are greeted with the most majestic green fields with the the lodge nestled invitingly at the end of the long driveway.

Greeted warmly by the manager, we were immediately offered champagne and shown to our accommodation. It was chilly but within minutes our fire was roaring and we had settled into our surprisingly spacious room. The detail and care is what makes Spicers Peak Lodge special. Everything is carefully considered, from the jazz music playing when you enter your room, to the gorgeous array of coffee table books, to the chocolates and the boutique water bottles beside the bed. You really feel like you are in for a treat.

After settling into our room we headed down the corridor to the Peak restaurant for lunch. On the menu;

  • House made sourdough
  • Tempura soft shelled crab, petit cress and nam jim served with a 2011 Watervale Riesling
  • Chargrilled porterhouse, enoki mushrooms, kiplers and bernaise or whiting fillets, fennel and citrus with fondant potato and white onion
  • Chocolate bavarois and salted caramel ice cream served with 2012 Wrattonbully Botrytis Viogner

Tempura soft shelled crab

I’m not usually a fan of soft shelled crab but this was amazing. We both loved everything about this dish. It was pretty to look at, light and full of punchy flavours. For mains, Al chose the porterhouse served with 2009 Coonawarra Merlot and I the the whiting served with a 2010 William Fevre Chablis. No complaints here. Tender steak and delicate whiting. Perfectly sized servings for lunch.

I was very excited for dessert and immediately tucked into the salted caramel ice cream. Smooth with a great balance of flavour. My next spoonful stopped me in my tracks. The bavarois was banana flavour. That can’t be right. I tried it again and by this time Al was grinning ear to ear, knowing my intense dislike of anything banana flavoured. I was distraught but immediately realised someone had made a typo. Al loved it and finished everything on his plate. A diner at another table informed our lovely waiter so by the time he arrived to take away our plates he was aware of the menu mishap and apologised, admitting his mistake while typing up the menu. I was offered another dessert but declined. It really wasn’t a problem, everyone makes mistakes, just ironic that it was my least favourite flavour ever!

Our afternoon massages at the Anise day spa were relaxing and left us plenty of time to enjoy our room and a nap before heading to the lounge room at 6.30pm for drinks and pre-dinner nibbles. The open lounge with comfy sofas, open fire, coffee table books and a baby grand piano is a lovely place to relax and meet other guests if you are up for a chat.

Dilon, our lovely waiter for our stay, showed us to the dining room at 7pm for our choice of tables. The atmosphere in the dining room in the evening is cosy, with low lighting, open fire and soft music. Even though the lodge was full on this weekend, it didn’t feel crowded and the service still felt very personalised.

Our dinner menu:

  • Cured salmon, quinoa toast, melon and cucumber served with 2010 Alsace Gentil Hugel
  • Red claw yabby, boudin noir, citrus and yoghut served with 2009 Maclaren Vale Chardonnay
  • Yellowfin tuna, acidulated sesame (think popping candy with sesame seeds), miso and ginger served with 2009 Symphony Hill Wild Child Viogner
  • Confit Warwick pork belly, croquet, remoulade and vierge served with 2011 Tamar Valley pinot noir
  • Darling Downs beef, local beetroot, heirloom radish, mushroom served with 2011 Barossa Gnarly Dudes Shiraz
  • Watermelon and whiskey palate cleanser
  • Olive oil gateau, orange blossom, rasberry and apple served with 2008 French Saulterne

Yellowfin tuna

The whole menu flowed beautifully with plenty of time in between each course to appreciate the experience. The dishes of the night for me included the tuna and the dessert. Both had flavours I love. Al was a huge fan of the yabby dish but really it was very hard to pick the dish of the night. The watermelon and whiskey was so unusual. Watermelon soup with compressed watermelon and a whiskey and vanilla lens which hopefully you can see in the photograph. It just worked beautifully in preparation for the dessert which was fruity and zingy and left me wanting more! I loved this dessert so much, that I asked to speak with the pastry chef who was kind enough to come out to our table and share some of her secrets (the apple lychee balls). I’ll be trying this in my kitchen very soon.

Watermelon and whiskey

Olive oil gateau, orange blossom meringue, raspberry and apple

The following morning I actually felt food drunk and wasn’t sure I could face breakfast but I gave it my best shot opting for a house-made crumpet with whipped butter and honeycombe. Such a simple dish but so good. It was just plain yummy and despite my full tummy from the night before I wanted another one but I refrained and choose a lovely fruit platter instead. Al did us both proud choosing the sausage, bacon, house-made potato rosti, eggs, spinach, roasted tomato and mushroom feast. I was so taken with the scenery I actually forgot to photograph Al’s breakfast and the fruit platter.

Delicious crumpets

Our breakfast view was amazing. The air was crisp and clean. Watching the clouds roll in over the mountains was such a special and relaxing way to start the day.

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If you love food and want to treat yourself or your partner to an indulgent night or weekend away, Spicers Peak is perfect. The staff are warm and welcoming and the surroundings, inside and out, are luxury. Even the drive up to the peak is a fun adventure.

Thank you so much Spicers Peak Lodge, the staff and chefs and Southbank Corporation for allowing us this special experience. It’s definitely one we’ll remember for years to come.

Spicers Peak Lodge

Refuelled cafe

Nothing better than finding a suburban cafe that creates a tasty breakfast and produces a decent coffee! Refuelled on the main drag at Wellington Point does just that.

Al and I recently caught up with our friends Miss S and Mr P for a leisurely Saturday breakfast. None of us had been here before but my foodie friend Miss P had eaten lunch here and was suitably impressed so I was pretty sure we were onto a good thing.

I choose the corn fritters with bacon, avocado, roasted tomato (which I promptly moved to one side) and a tomato and bell pepper jam. It was a large serving but the corn fritters were light and a good texture. The star was definitely the jam. Sweet and slightly tart it was a lovely addition to what could have been a bland dish.

Al choose the grilled chorizo, red pepper, roast tomato, poached egg and olive crumb with sourdough toast. No complaints here.

Miss S and Mr P both choose the field mushrooms, spinach, basil pesto, pine nuts, haloumi and sourdough. Once this dish finally arrived (it took a little time) I once again had food envy. I’ve had this a bit lately 😦 The mushrooms looked juicy and the haloumi perfectly fried.

Other breakfast dishes that caught my attention; Ricotta hotcakes, braised oranges, almonds and strawberry coulis. Croque Monsieur and the Asian style fried eggs with smoked salmon, herbs and asian dressing. For traditionalists, Refuelled also does classic bacon and eggs and Eggs Benedict with a choice of ham, bacon or salmon.

It’s not a cheap breakfast option with dishes ranging in price from $15.50 for the ricotta hotcakes to $17 for the corn fritters. Still, I don’t mind paying for quality food and Refuelled didn’t disappoint.

We also tried a sour cherry and custard pastry which was a real winner. Coffee is by Campos and the barrista knew how to get the very best out of these beans.

My only small gripe is Refuelled does not do table service. You have to order at the counter. For a little extra effort this would, I think, improve the overall experience.

Refuelled is also open for lunch.

354 Main Road, Wellington Point

Ave Cucina

I wish I had a neighbourhood cafe as friendly and inviting as Ave Cucina in Coorparoo. Veronica and Shadi from the first series of My Restaurant Rules have been operating now for three years and have gone from strength to strength with their Italian/Lebanese cafe come restaurant.

Ave interior

It was really busy at 9am on a Saturday morning for breakfast. Clearly a favourite among the locals but four of us found a corner booth under the air con. A little mishap with an exploding water glass did not faze the staff who cleaned up the shattered glass quickly and with smiling faces. The breakfast menu is well thought-out offering some familiar favourites and some innovative choices.

Unfortunately the heat really plays havoc with my eating ability (not a good thing for a foodie) so I chose the fruit and nut toast with ricotta and honey. It was great, no complaints here except I would have loved a more creamy ricotta for easy spreading. Al chose the Lebanese breakfast. An unusual combination of two fried eggs with a sprinkling of zaatar spice sitting on lebanese bread with a small bowl of olives, cucumber and a yoghurt dressing. A really great choice for a hot summer morning. Al was surprised at how well the olives and eggs went together so I might experiment with this combo in my kitchen. Our friend Mr B went with Turkish bread and avocado. Not on the menu but clearly the kitchen was happy to accommodate. I noticed ricotta pancakes (my favourite) are on the breakfast menu but only on Sundays.

Lebanese breakfast

Fruit toast with ricotta

Oh yes, did I mention it was a really hot morning? I also had a pineapple and mint frappe which was icy and refreshing. Coffee is by Di Bella. Looking for a big breakfast, order Rosarios eggs, Sicillan style poached eggs in a slow cooked spicy tomato sugo with garden peas, herbs and pane fingers or the pan hash, baked potato, pumpkin, spinach with grilled chorizo, confit garlic, topped with a fried egg.

Ave Cucina will soon be opening Friday and Saturday nights for dinner so I look forward to seeing how they evolve over the next couple of years.

Verdict: We’ll definitely be back to try the lunch menu.

Ave exterior

16 Eva Street, Coorparoo