The Charming Squire

I’m sure Obama and Putin will enjoy what The Charming Squire has to offer when visiting Brisbane for the G20. Unfortunately ‘The Squire’ will be closed to the public during this time, but will be looking after G20 staff and dignitaries, ensuring they get to sample the best of South-East Queensland produce and the full range of James Squire beers and ciders.

We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy two visits in three weeks with friends, pre-show lunch and dinner and both times we’ve enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere.

CSLocated next to South Brisbane Station and opposite QPAC, there is a lot to like about The Charming Squire. The cool wood interior on a hot sunny Queensland afternoon invites you in for drinks and share plates in the buzzing bar area or a full three course menu in the quieter restaurant space.

For lunch we ate fish of the day with lemon sauce ($34), prawn and Moreton Bay Bug paella ($38), mini lamb kebabs ($16), wood fired corn cobs with puffed quinoa and chipotle butter ($14) and the grand bazaar lamb burger ($20). The corn dish is fantastic, a little messy but well worth messy fingers.

For our early dinner we started with the charcuterie plate ($29) followed by the very popular choice for the boys of beer battered fish n chips x 3 ($28), smoked chicken and goats cheese salad with hazelnuts, pumpkin and pepitas ($25) and confit zucchini flowers with goats cheese, ratatouille, kipfler potatoes ($28). The fish n chips was definitely a winner dish. Two large juicy pieces of Cod, perfectly cooked, wrapped up with well seasoned chunky chips. I had food envy… again!

We are yet to sample anything from the Iron Bark coal pit but this just gives us another reason to return. Garrison Farm Dorper lamb with mint jelly, Berkshire pork with apple sauce, Kimberley red beef with horseradish cream. 250 grams of each of these plus your choice of two side dishes ($34).

Dessert time! Dark chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream, berries and cocoa crumble ($17), fresh caramel waffles with roasted pear, milk jam, vanilla ice cream and caramel jus ($15), assiette of mandarin and orange with macaron, jelly, sorbet ($15), coffee creme brulee with vanilla foam ($14) and sticky date pud with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream ($14). I’ve tried them all, one word for you. Delightful! The souffle is really more like a fondant but that’s never a bad thing. The assiette of mandarin and orange is truly a taste sensation and a brilliant light, zingy way to finish a lovely meal.


IMG_2326Tip: the very beautiful wooden dining chairs only have three legs, so just be careful you don’t tip over. We experienced some instability and also witnessed a lady take a tumble. If this scares you, just ask to be seated in a booth.

The Charming Squire

133 Grey Street, South Brisbane

ph: (07) 30777254



July noodle nights

Apparently Brisbane loves night noodle markets. By 5.30pm on opening night, the Southbank forecourt, adjacent to the big wheel, was filling up with hungry diners looking for Asian flavours and fun.

Part of Brisbane Good Food month, the noodle markets are a great opportunity to sample some of Brisbane’s best Asian fare. We started with some mouth-watering yakitori from Birds Nest, followed by tasty little gyozas from Zagyoza, The home of Gyoza and finished up with buns from The Bun Mobile, cause it’s very hard to walk past and not want a bun!

There are plenty of cool places to sit and enjoy the beautiful Brisbane skyline and take in what is a very family friendly atmosphere.

Restaurants participating in the night noodle markets: Bang Bang Pop Up, Birds Nest Yakitori, Chitty Banh Banh, Fat Noodle, Harajuku Gyoza, ii-na Japanese Food, Japanese Pizza Okonomi House , Lets Do Yum Cha, Longrain, Mamak, Mini Pancakes, New Shanghai, Passion Tree, Peng You, Saigon Alley Cafe Vietnamese Street Food, Sake Restaurant, Sendok Garpu Authentic Indonesian Food , Serendipity Ice Cream & Sorbet, Spanthai, Taro’s Ramen & Cafe, The Bun Mobile, Zagyoza, The Home Of Gyoza.

A great place to meet up with friends, the Night Noodle Markets operate every evening until Sunday July 27, starting at 5pm weeknights and 4pm on weekends.

Cash only.

South Side Diner

It was a retro day out. Lunch at the American eatery South Side Diner followed by a visit to the Qld Art Gallery exhibition California Design (1930-1965). Timeless, modern classics were the order of the day. The Reuben Sandwich, The New York Skyscraper and Pulled Pork Sliders with Budweiser and Root Beer.

DSC00606Al’s Reuben ($13.50) corned beef, sauerkraut and melted swiss cheese with a huge dill pickle was packed with flavour. Peppery and juicy, it was my favourite.

The Pulled Pork Slider with mustard coleslaw (two for $10.50) consisted of shredded roasted pork. I was expecting the mustard coleslaw to have more punch. It was crunchy and fresh and went well with the soft mini bun. Would have been terrific if served with a little bit of pork crackling (pig candy) on the side!

DSC00613Mr P’s New York Skyscraper ($13.50) wasn’t as tall as I thought it was going to be. Beef pattie, caramalised onion, melted cheese, tomato, bacon, lettuce, mustard mayo served on a toasted white bun.

DSC00611We shared a side of big fries ($6.50) which were fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside just as they should be. You can also have sweet potato fries ($8.50) with chipotle sour cream.

The diner also does several versions of Mac N Cheese (goats cheese, spring pea and spinach, truffled pecorino, caramelised onion and double smoked spec) all $14.50.

We didn’t indulge in sweet pie but they offer pumpkin with maple cream and roast pumpkin ice cream, apple with vanilla bean ice cream, cherry with cherry ice cream and chocolate peanut butter with vanilla bean ice cream and choc fudge sauce, all $14.50.

The staff were super friendly and the food was fresh and well presented. It’s a fun menu with all of the American classics. Great for a bite, before or after a show or exhibition and would also definitely make a casual, fun first date dinner!

South Side Diner

7.30am till late, Monday to Sunday

Ph: 3844 3040

168 Grey Street, South Bank

A taste of summer, Southbank Surf Club

It’s got a relaxed Queensland vibe that entices you to sit back, take in the view, enjoy some bubbles and linger with friends over a long lunch or evening dinner.

DSC00231I was invited to try Southbank Surf Club’s new summer menu. Dish of the night, South Australian smoked sardine soldiers on sourdough with herb mayo, watercress and fresh lemon. Summer, winter, autumn or spring, this dish will impress. Balance of flavour was spot on. So moreish, I could have easily eaten the whole plate and been a very happy girl (you’ll be glad to know I wasn’t a piggy. I was very restrained). At $18, these are a must have starter.

Smoked sardinesI’m not usually a fan of oysters but really enjoyed the Moreton Bay oysters Rockefeller. Creamy and very tasty. Also on offer was a chunky tomato bruschetta with basil, goat’s curd and Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar.

DSC00235Our group of diners sat at long tables on level two called ‘The Lookout’. The view is impressive, overlooking Southbank’s Bougainvillea arbour, the beach and across the river to the city lights.

DSC00227For mains, we had a choice of;

  • Pan roasted 1/2 chicken with spiced chickpeas and chorizo salsa ($27)
  • Thai marinated and chargrilled Moreton Bay Bug with Thai inspired salad with Nuoc Cham dressing ($33)
  • Crispy Proscuitto wrapped salmon with potato and kale colcannon ($31)
  • BBQ sticky beef ribs with crispy chat pototoes with smokey paprika salt and burnt scallion sour cream ($34.50)

I couldn’t go past the bugs. They were sweet, well cooked and the salad was light and fresh. A perfect summer dish.

Moreton Bay bugs

If you’re in the mood for sharing, other summer shared dishes include;

  • 1 kg Pot of Spring Bay mussels, cooked in your choice of Surf Club drunken tomato and chilli sauce or creamy garlic, shallot and capers. ($42.50)
  • 1-1.2kg chargrilled Diamantina Tomahawk steak with buttermilk slaw, chips and a selection of mustards and sauces ($75)
  • The Duke – a mixture of hot and cold fresh seafood with natural and kilpatrick oysters, tiger prawns, Moreton Bay bug, cooked sand crab, tempura soft shell crab, drunken chilli mussels, Hervy Bay scallops with choizo and tartare sauce, beer battered fish and chips, served with a selection of house sauces ($95)

To finish our evening, we had a choice of traditional creme brulee, dark chocolate fondant or the Australian cheese selection served with toasted ciabatta, walnuts, green apple and quince paste.

Fondant for me please. Good quality dark chocolate (unfortunately mine didn’t have the much-anticipated oozey chocolately centre) but non-the-less, it was a good dish. The rhubarb beer jam and mascarpone was an excellent accompaniment to the rich, dark chocolate.

DSC00257If you are looking for romantic, intimate dining with a loved one, then this probably isn’t the place. It’s open plan layout and chilled vibe is more suited to dining with a group of friends. With Christmas fast approaching, it would be a good option for parties and new year celebrations. It’s surf club meets relaxed fine dining.

For the love of food was a guest at Southbank Surf Club.

Southbank Surf Club

Phone bookings: (07) 3844 7301

30aa Stanley Plaza
Parklands, South Brisbane 4101

Sat: 9:30am – 12pm
Sun: 9:30am – 12pm

Tues – Fri: 12pm – 3pm
Sat: 11am – 3pm
Sun: 11am – 3:30pm

Tues – Sun: 5pm till late

Stokehouse, Brisbane

Certain times of the year, dining on the Brisbane River just doesn’t get any better. Stokehouse Brisbane is perfectly positioned to take in the river, the city lights and during September, the buzz of Southbank during Brisbane Festival time. It was also our choice for dining with friends visiting from the UK.

Stokehouse, although relaxed in style has an air of grown-up dining. The staff are beautifully presented, efficient and willing to engage in friendly banter if that’s the kind of dining you enjoy.

After being seated at a premium table with a glittering view we were offered tap, bottled sparkling or bottled still water. One of our Brissie friends made the comment that restaurants should offer filtered tap water as a standard practice. Many of us drink filtered water at home but usually you are only ever offered tap water that may or may not be filtered. If you asked the question, I wonder whether the wait staff would know the answer.

Onto the food…

To start we ordered:

  • Wagyu beef carpaccio, shaved brussel sprouts, reggiano, jamon, truffle vinaigrette ($24)
  • Local spanner crab, green strawberries, lime crème fraiche, chardonnay dressing ($26)
  • Pistachio crusted Rannoch Farm quail, parmesan and truffle cream, watercress($25)

My dish was the carpaccio. Presented on a black plate it was impressive when placed in front of me. At first I thought I can’t possibly eat all of that but it was so light and full of flavour. The Wagyu melted on the tongue, the shaved brussel sprouts were genius and I loved the little hint of truffle coming through in the vinaigrette.

DSC00040Our friends Retta and D ordered the quail and Al, Fi and Raf ordered the spanner crab. I didn’t taste the quail but I sneaked a mouthful of the spanner crab dish from Al’s plate and it positively screamed summer is coming!


For mains each of us ordered something different so I had lots to photograph.

  • South Australian clams, garlic, chilli, shallot, parsley, squid ink linguine ($36)
  • Green pea, lemon & spring onion risotto, minted crème fraiche (entree size $23)
  • Braised beef cheek, potato gnocchi, cherry tomato, basket pressed ricotta, basil ($34)
  • Roasted Gooralie pork loin, smoked jowl, celeriac, ruby grapefruit, radicchio ($41)
  • Roasted barramundi, shaved S.A. squid, piperade, chorizo, sheeps milk labna ($38)
  • The steak special of the day, eye of Scotch fillet ($45)

Although I didn’t taste the clams and squid ink linguine this was such a pretty dish to look at. Raf said it reminded him of Medusa’s hair (in a good way).

DSC00044I’ve ordered the risotto dish at Stokehouse before and absolutely loved it. On this particular evening it was a little too set for my liking. The pea, lemon, spring onion and mint flavours work beautifully together but the consistency just didn’t seem right.

DSC00045Fi proclaimed her beef cheek gnocchi dish to be delicious. It looked pretty and I would have happily dived in myself but I was sitting just out of reach 😦
DSC00046The look on Retta’s face when she tasted all the flavours of her pork dish in one mouthful was priceless. A real winner.

DSC00051D’s barra dish stood proudly on another matte black plate. The red of the piperade makes my mouth water just looking at this photo.

DSC00049Al went with the 250 gram eye fillet special. The steak knife glided through the meat like a pat of butter. Perfectly cooked to medium.


  • Chocolate & hazelnut mousse, lemon curd, chocolate gelato ($20)
  • Passionfruit soufflé, fig leaf ice-cream, white chocolate & almond crunch ($21)
  • Affogato – vanilla bean ice-cream, espresso, amaretto, biscotti ($16)

I had already looked at the dessert menu online so I knew I had to leave a little room (hence ordering two entrees) but in the end I was glad I shared a dish with Retta. No way I could have managed to get through the rich little chocolate and hazelnut mousse number without some help. The flavours in this dessert were worthy of hand-clapping. The sharpness of the lemon curd was a brilliant foil for the smooth mousse and the gelato was bitter chocolate, just as it should be.

The prettiest and most fragrant dessert was Al’s passionfruit souffle. So light, it just makes you happy looking at it. I was intrigued by the fig leaf ice-cream. It had a slight bitter aftertaste which I really liked. What could have been a very sweet and cloying dessert, was perfectly balanced and very enjoyable.

DSC00053Fi , Raf and D all went with the boozy Affogato. I think this sweet ending needs more ice-cream and a few more biscotti’s to offset the Amaretto. The other desserts that almost had me were the pressed apple, burnt vanilla, cinnamon sponge with ginger crumb and the pineapple and white chocolate mousse, almond crunch, mint gel (both $19).

Stokehouse is a special occasion restaurant and let’s face it when is dining out not a special occasion! Whether that means a birthday dinner, a date night or showing your gorgeous friends from the UK one of Brisbane’s best dining experiences. Al and I have been several times now and we’ve never been disappointed. The food is classy and the menu is not at all intimidating. It’s fresh and seasonal and you can tell the kitchen crew really care. It’s a Brisbane dining must do.

Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank

Ph: 07 3020 0600

Sardine Tin

Small but perfectly formed. That’s how I’d describe Sardine Tin, located in Little Stanley street, South Brisbane. The charming, French-inspired dining area is small as is the open kitchen, but the food is bold and perfectly formed.

Sardine Tin has been on my list of ‘must try’ for ages, so I was very excited to dine here with Al before we headed off to see the legendary George Benson at the QPAC Concert hall.

We sat at the bar dining area overlooking the kitchen and shared two of the small plates to start. At $6 and $7 each, they were incredibly good value for the amount of work it would have taken to produce them. Crispy artichoke, quail egg, truffle, asparagus and beef cheek parcel, smoked celeriac, porcini, rocket.

The crispy artichoke was the dish of the night for me. These flavours blended beautifully together. I was so in love with this dish. Delicate and careful plating only added to the joy. I loved it so much it deserves another photo!


For main Al chose the special of fennel coated fish with kipfler chunky chips. I don’t think I’ve ever had parrot fish but I’ll be looking out for it on other menus. This was a great dish. Familiar, yet sophisticated. Not particularly pretty but a very satisfying meal.

IMG_1243For main I chose tea smoked duck breast, mango, coconut tapioca, cherry sauce. I don’t usually go for duck on a menu but I was intrigued by the coconut tapioca and cherry sauce. The duck was cooked perfectly with a very subtle smoke flavour. There was a peppery flavour coming through but I couldn’t identify if this was from the tapioca or the cherry sauce. Together, all the flavours worked well. My only issue with this dish was all the elements on the plate, except the duck, were cold and on a cool evening I would have preferred a more warming meal. The other main that caught my attention was the Tamarind fried chicken, sambal, apple salad, spiced rice.

IMG_1241Dessert at the moment includes lemon mousse, rum, mango, rhubarb, toasted brioche and caramelised pear and fig crumble, vanilla mascarpone. Our waitress mentioned the dessert special and we had to try it. Donut holes filled with creme patissiere on a chocolate cream. Not the prettiest of presentation but light, fluffy, hot, rolled in cinnamon sugar. Delightful and just the right portion size to finish the meal.

Sardine Tin is exceptional value for money. We enjoyed two starters, two mains, one dessert, a glass of Stella beer and a glass of Tassie Pinot Noir for $72. The menu and the wine list might be small but it is well thought out and I think, a perfect size for bistro style dining.

You can also enjoy a beautiful looking charcuterie board (I watched chef plate up one of these boards as we were preparing to leave) and an extensive cheese board if you are just after a quick bite with a glass of wine.

We thoroughly enjoyed our Sardine Tin experience and we’ll be back.

Sardine Tin

Shop 3A “Arbour on Grey” Little Stanley Street, Southbank
Opening Hours: 12 midday till late.

p: (07) 3846 1146


Aquitaine Brasserie takes its name from one of the 27 regions of France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. Transport me to a little bistro in France and I’d be a happy girl, but on this perfect Brisbane day I was equally happy to be sitting with friends Mr & Mrs H at Aquitaine on dusk by the Brisbane River.

After seeing a matinee show at QPAC, it was an early dinner but we were still welcomed warmly and offered the cocktail and wine list. The food is contemporary french bistro with a choice of five small plates, six entrees, eight mains and five side dishes.

The dish of the night was a beautiful entree of Beetroot Tarte with goats cheese, walnuts and balsamic onions. A classic flavour combination really well executed and such a pretty dish to look at. As expected, Mr H ordered the confit pork belly with carrot puree, Cognac currants and kohlrabi and declared this delicious.

Beetroot tarte

Confit pork belly

One of my favourite French dishes is Bouillabaisse so I was excited to try this. Al chose the escalope of veal, jamon, tomato and radicchio and Mr & Mrs H ordered the shared dish of whole baked rack of lamb with mustard crust and Provencal vegetables.

The Bouillabaisse with rich with scampi, king prawns, mussels, white fish and one plump scallop. I found the seafood well cooked but the broth was a little strong in shellfish flavour. I had expected a more subtle balance between shellfish, fennel and tomato flavours. It was served with crusty bread and a creamy rouille. Mr & Mrs H reported that the lamb was tender and juicy and Al enjoyed his veal dish.

The wine list is a nice combination of both French and Australian wines and we enjoyed a bottle of D. Denis Pommier Pinot Noir. Seven whites, seven reds and three sparklings are available by the glass.


Lamb rack

For dessert we ordered the classic Creme Caramel and the Chocolate Cork which turned out to be two baby chocolate fondants with clotted cream and orange curd. Although both desserts were nicely plated and tasted as you would expect there was no excited hand clapping, as I am prone to do, when excited by a dessert. All of the dishes were well executed but the star of the evening was the Beetroot tarte and I would visit Aquitaine again just for this dish.

Creme Caramel

Chocolate Cork

Aquitaine is comparable in price to other restaurants on the river at Southbank and recently received a score of 14 in the Brisbane Good Food Guide. The staff are friendly and attentive and it was no trouble to split the bill at the end of the evening. Overall, a happy experience and a lovely place to enjoy the river and surrounds. If you aren’t up to a full meal, Aquitaine also has a small bar menu including Wagu beef sliders, Chorizo and kipflers, confit lamb ribs and a Charcuterie board with pickles, relishes and bread.


River Quay, Southbank

3844 1888