I’m having my own John Lennon Lost Weekend at the moment. After 1 year of being on Jenny Craig’s diet I’ve lost 12kg and any discernible taste buds. Although Jenny Craig’s food is the best food in the class of “TV Dinners” it distinctly lacks that certain something (i.e. herbs and spices). Due to budget constraints I’ve had to lay off the $100 a week menu and resort to cheese and crackers for lunch. I’m still a little nervous about my diet and weight gain, but there is nothing more boring than calorie counting and constant diet discussions.
The benefits of this cold turkey is that I’ve got to experience Brisbane restaurants again (within moderation). So for visitors and locals alike, here is my list of favourite places to eat in Brisbane.
For a Sunday breakfast with shopping nothing beats a Merlo Coffee and Poffertjies at the Rocklea Markets. The poffertjies are like little pancakes with maple syrup and icing sugar that are about the size of a boiled sweet. You eat it with a toothpick and pop it in to your mouth making sure you have a large proportion of the syrup on it. On Sundays the market veers towards fleas, but the food is also there on Saturdays when you can buy cheap fruit and veg that wasn’t bought by the big stores during the week. You can also pick up some bloody good pesto from meze gourmet delights. Admittedly I’ve only had the green olive, fetta and basil pesto – but I couldn’t stop eating it raw!
It’s been so long since I’ve been there but I hope the Two Faces of Eve at Annerley still makes the ham porker or whatever it was called. It had ham and mushrooms and salad with aioli on a poppy seed bun. But it’s not just the food that makes it a good cafe. You can sit at booths that have fish tanks in the wall or play connect four. The staff don’t make you feel like you have to get out straight away – you honestly feel you could spend the whole day there with just a drink of water. Their Brisbane river bottom chocolate cake was a revelation too…. mmm melted chocolate.
There are too many different styles of food to define just one restaurant above all the others so I’ll break it down in to types:
Vietnamese – The Vietnamese restaurant on Vulture St in West End. Above the bakery the trip up the stairs takes you to bad decor, but brilliant beef satay rice rolls and the most amazingly devine home made lemonade. I like to save the sugar at the bottom until the end. The Vietnamese Restaurant on Wickham St in the Valley earns an honorable mention for it’s cook at the table meat dishes and karaoke upstairs.
Pizza – Toss up between two. Malcolm’s recommendation of this place was spot on the money, but I’ve always found the garlic and cheese calzone the must have item. For pizza they are good, but the Pizza shop at Park Rd Milton wins the prize for best 4 cheese pizza. Plus they have soccer jerseys on the wall and red checked tableclothes. The novelty of it is that the pizza is square and you can buy it by the metre!
Healthy – Mondo wins for it’s stunning dishes and an ambiance that allows you to discuss D&M topics such as which way do you fold your toilet paper.
Takeaway – Nandos at Coorpooroo make a great spicy chicken wrap and let you decide if you want it hot, damn hot! Plus it is across the road from Myer Megamart – BONUS!
Indian – Kanta’s Curry Hut near McDonalds in Annerley. The guy there is a bit odd but the chutney you get with the samosas is worth the weird conversations. Of course Butter chicken is a standard.
Japanese – Sakora at Highgate Hill/West End. Although ordering the “you cook at table marbled meat meal” kind of defeats the purpose of eating out, the flavour in the meat makes up for it. Forget sauces or side dishes of veges, this meat is entirely edible all by itself.
Sandwiches – It’s not there anymore, but there was a shop on Vulture St in West End that made kickass ham, cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches. I think it is now an indian place. I haven’t found a place to replace it.
Steaks – the Norman, need I say more?
Coffee Shop – I like the dirt at the back of the Java Coast near the Dendy on George St, but for sheer history and guaranteed good time, the 3 monkeys win in West End.
We discovered it on the night before it closed but there was a place in Corinda that made this amazing burnt caramel bowl ice cream concoction. Pauline has searched the world for something to replace it but has never reached the dizzying heights of that sweet bit of dripping heaven.
I didn’t realise how much of a West End/South side restaurant whore I was until writing this. Looks like I have to get over to the dark side of the river and try some more restaurants over there.