If there’s one clear takeaway message about Australian cuisine, it’s that shrimps on the barbecue are out and great coffee is in. Visit any given Australian town and you’re bound to find a delicious brew, frothed and latte-d to your liking. Visit a café in one of the capital cities and you’re set to sip some of the best coffee in the world.
Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, holds true to this statement. The ever evolving city now boasts some of the most exciting dining and drinking venues in the country, with restaurants and bars matching up to those found and beloved in Melbourne. If there was ever a time to visit Brisbane, this would be it and these are the places to tour with your taste buds.
Brunch and coffee in Fortitude Valley
To start your day of sightseeing and food sampling in Brisbane, head to the hip Fortitude Valley (known locally as ‘The Valley’) just a short walk from the city. Full of fashion boutiques and chic eateries, Fortitude Valley is a great place to shop and people-watch. For breakfast make a stop at local’s favourite Harveys Bistro and Bar and order a plate of the ricotta-buttermilk pikelets (like pancakes) with caramelised banana and honeycomb butter – I’ve tried them and believe me when I say you won’t regret it. The coffee served is a ‘Harveys Blend’ of Merlo Espresso, the award-winning roaster based just around the corner.
Another great option for coffee in Fortitude Valley is Jamie’s Espresso Bar. Tucked away in a street-art-decorated alley, Jamie’s Espresso offers great coffee and a crate to sit on whilst you soak up the scenery.
In need of something sweet? Make a pit stop at the flagship store of Brisbane-born bakery Jocelyn’s Provisions. You’ll find row upon row of fresh cakes and chocolate treats and can take a peek at the cooks preparing them in the sweet-smelling kitchen.
Al fresco dining at Gasworks
For a wood-fired pizza and complete change of scenery head to Buzz Bistro at the Gasworks Plaza. Brisbane’s Gasometer, built in the 1800’s, has been restored and revived as a focal point and play area at this recently opened dining and retail outlet. At Buzz, the menu features a range of Italian-style pizzas, as well as risottos and salads, and their mix of indoor and outdoor seating provides a great view of the Plaza.
The Gasworks Plaza also hosts a range of meat, seafood and organic markets and you’ll find healthy snacks at the Nourish Café by active living brand Lorna Jane.
Fish and chips on the beach at South Bank
If you’d like to swim and sunbathe before you eat, make your way to the South Bank Surf Club. Overlooking Streets Beach, Australia’s only urban beach, the South Bank Surf Club has the look and feel of Sydney’s seaside eateries. As you would expect, the menu here focuses on seafood – their generous-sized portion of beer battered fish and chips would be my top pick.
For afters, make your way to Cowch cocktail and dessert bar (could there be a better combination of words?). From ‘froyo’ to gateaux, the Cowch menu is full of guilty pleasures and ‘desserty cocktail’ concoctions. You can also customise your own ‘Naked Pop’ – the ice lollies that line the wall like an art installation can be covered in toppings of your own creation.
A street eats experience at Eat Street Markets
No foodie tour of Brisbane would be complete without a visit to a market dedicated to eating. What was once a barren strip of land next to Brisbane’s International Cruise Ship Terminal is now home to 60 food-friendly shipping containers as part of a concept called Eat Street Markets. The founders’ vision was to recreate the hustle and bustle of Asian food markets. But Eat Street Markets goes one better than that – throwing in a good dose of Brisbane’s hip shopping and street art scene too. Cuisine on offer includes Italian, Malaysian, Greek and Mexican – if you’ve ever craved it, Eat Street Markets cooks it.
Cronut lovers can’t miss a visit to the The Chocolate Komberry, which serves an incredible Australianised cronut with a Tim Tam and MILO topping. It’s quite possibly the most delicious donut and croissant combination you’ll ever encounter.
Has our food lovers’ tour of Brisbane got you craving a taste?