The Best of My Breakfasts in Brisbane

Some time ago I promised to write this for some friends. It’s way overdue, but at least now a little more up to date with some great new brekkie spots.

Papa Jack'sFirst to mention has to be Papa Jack’s in Fortitude Valley. Exciting. Different. Really different. Old but new, funky and just bordering on the edge of recreation, Papa Jacks will transport you to the Creole South the second you walk through the door. It’s soul food served with a side of swamp blues and green tomatoes. Imagine soft poached eggs topped with lemony hollandaise. Add fall-apart, herby pulled pork; melted Swiss cheese, a crisp baguette and you’re getting the picture. They call it the Breaux Bridge Benedict and it would almost be worth travelling to its namesake in Louisiana to get it.

Cass Breakfast editNext on the list of funky new day-starters is The Burrow in West End. Offerings like “Mad Madam Mims’ Bubble & Squeak”, “Mr McGregor’s Garden” and “Off with your Head!” gives you just an inkling of the creativity at play here. My great adventurous friend, who uncovered this gem, ordered the “Django Swinehardt” – gypsy braised pork belly with roast chestnuts, crisp sweet-potato shavings, eggs and borscht (beetroot soup). Not that everything else wasn’t absolutely perfect – the slow-braised pork, tangy pureed beetroot, shards of crispy skin and buttery potatoes – but the sweet crunch of the kumara crisps are the culinary gold nuggets in this inspired dish.

Lynne Breakfast editI opted for “Little Miss Sunshine” primarily because I’m a Persian feta and zucchini flower addict. I loved the crunch of the pepitas and sunflower seeds; the happy marriage of the basil and tomato on rye, but I’ll stick with tempura (not grilled) flowers in future.

Pearls CAfe editSpeaking of stuffed zucchini flowers – if you want the best try Pearl Café in Woolloongabba. Their rendition is tempura-battered and served stuffed with ash-infused goat’s cheese, preserved lemon and herbs. The coffee is great too.

The Jetty Housesmoked Trout Lemon Creme Fraiche Hash BrownNot far away at the end of Oxford Street in Bulimba is one of our favourite regulars. The Jetty has been around for a while and although they have changed the menu (so I can no longer get my favourite poached eggs with avo, dukkah and candied bacon) they are still worth a mention. You can’t fault the riverside location and their juice blends – especially orange, carrot and ginger – are gorgeous on a hot summer morning. Their house-smoked trout is a treat with poached eggs, lemon crème fraiche and hash brown.

Also offering a great view is The Edge restaurant at Kangaroo Point Cliffs. I almost always take first-time visitors to Brisbane here for breakfast. Their fare is more simple, but always perfectly prepared, generously substantial and you can’t beat the view of Brisbane city on a clear day.

Further west in Paddington you’ll find Anouk – an exceptional café offering all things Middle-Eastern with contemporary flair. The menu changes regularly but anything I’ve ever had here has been beautifully prepared and presented.

Finally if you’re feeling a little nostalgic and want a simple, healthy and quick brekkie you’d be very happy with the Coffee Club’s new Salmon and Avocado Stack. I have had it at Eagle Street Pier and at Oxford Street in Bulimba and both are worth a mention.Coffee Club 2 edit

Eat Street Markets – Hamilton Wharf, Brisbane

Somebody recently sent me a link to a great new online publication, The Weekend Edition (WE). I immediately subscribed and once a week on a Thursday I get an update of what’s on in Brisbane, from new restaurants and bars to events, movies and hot shops for men and women.

MaketEarly December WE showcased a great new foodie destination in Brisbane – Eat Street Markets at Hamilton Wharf, Northshore. Adjacent to Portside Wharf, the Asian-inspired market consists of a myriad of pop-up restaurants, a couple of wine and coffee bars and a few crafty shops – all housed in converted shipping containers and offering a staggering variety of international cuisine.

BeerWine BarHappily, this is to be a permanent fixture but is only open on Friday and Saturday nights from 4pm until 10pm. A centre stage offers free live entertainment and it’s easy to while away a couple of hours soaking up the great energy and balmy summer nights.

It’s pretty hard to choose from the fabulous 50 or so food stalls and your nose will undoubtedly have you teetering between many, but if you want a dead cert go for Chitty Banh Banh.

Chitty Banh Banh

Owned and run by Jake and Elle of My Kitchen Rules’ fame, it’s funky, exciting food, served generously and well. My husband and I both chose the Banh Mi chilli caramel pork with pickled carrot (it looked way too good to consider anything else), so I can only write about one main but I can’t imagine anything being better.Pork Slider A fabulous Asian influence on a thoroughly contemporary dish of pulled pork with pickle, topped with crispy shallots, peanuts and a sauce that brings it all together with surprising sophistication. I can’t say I was wild about the lotus root chips (personal taste only) but their lime and lychee ice cream could start a war. I’ve also heard about their Thai basil ice cream and might just have to go back and sample this after some betel-wrapped Wagyu.

And maybe on my third and fourth visit I’ll get to some of the other great looking grub – there’s Malaysian, Hungarian, Greek, Korean and many, many others to sample. It’s a great way to eat cheap, with a generous side of atmosphere and lashings of fresh air.

The Best of my Best in Brisbane

I was asked tonight which are my favourite restaurants in Brisbane. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked and I realise that while I have only been writing this blog for a few months, I have been indulging in my food passion for far longer. So here is a very short, very sweet mention of a few of my favourites ….

Aria – Eagle St Pier, Brisbane

Matt Moran is unashamedly my foodie hero. He’s unpretentious, lives up to his food ideals (sustainability, waste not, paddock to plate) and is one of the nicest people I’ve met. An evening at Aria can be eye-wateringly expensive but is worth every hard-earned penny. It’s easy to tell when food is farmed, prepared and presented with unwavering dedication and care, but it’s not always easy to find. And you get what you pay for. I promise.

The Stokehouse – Southbank, Brisbane

Hot on Aria’s heels. This is a great destination for a summer’s lunch on the river. Go casual with the bar menu and a bottle of wine on the deck, or relish the very fine and beautifully presented, magnificently balanced dining in the restaurant.

Alchemy – Brisbane City

Heston-lovers this one’s for you. Gastronomy, liquid nitrogen and foams delight.

L’Aquitaine – Southbank, Brisbane

Slightly less pretentious, more modern French dining. Great value, fantastic service and on the river. Perfect for a pre-show dinner if you’re heading off to QPAC.

La Vie – Southbank, Brisbane

Also perfect for the pre-show dinner; this Italian gem is a must. Casual dining, lively (aka a little noisy) but great food. Don’t miss the arancini if it’s on the menu.

Mariosarti – Toowong, Brisbane

This was one of my very first Australian restaurant dining experiences and the first one I enjoyed. If you live in the area it’s worth a go. Contemporary Italian.

The Fat Noodle – Treasury Casino, Brisbane City

Blog coming soon, but if you’re after pho this is where it’s at. Luke Nguyen is the master of Vietnamese.

Oyama – Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

Traditional Japanese and outstanding. Mind you don’t confuse the wasabi for avo though (novice mistake – ahem).

Mons Sabai – Cannon Hill, Brisbane

My favourite Thai restaurant in Brisbane. Curry pastes are house-made and everything on the menu is good (yes, we’ve tried most of it). My favourites though – prawn and grapefruit salad (sometimes on the specials menu) and the red duck curry.

Kingsleys – Eagle St Pier, Brisbane

Contemporary Australian steakhouse. The best soft shell crab and you can’t beat the steaks. You might need to be a little patient though.

Didier – if you read this you’ll have to write to me with some suggestions for the Gold Coast 🙂

Look out for my breakfast guide … coming soon.