Gunshop Cafe

Brisbane does the Sunday breakfast/brunches much better than London does. Perhaps it has something to do with the lovely weather and the fact that Brisbane is an early morning town. One of my favourites (and there are many in Brisbane) is the Gunshop Cafe. On weekends, it’s one of those places that almost always has a line and since they don’t take bookings, it’s worth coming early if you are coming with a big group. Since I was meeting 7 other people (kids included), we decided to go as early as possible, when they open up at 7am… on a Saturday. Fortunately I was staying really centrally but even I haven’t been used to getting up as early as this any more.

Although West End was very quiet, a number of the cafes were already dotted with people and the Gunshop Cafe was starting to fill up. There are many reasons this place was recently voted Australia’s best cafe. For one thing, they really don’t rush you – it was lovely to take a while to catch up with everyone who turned up (Hamish, Kate & Amaya, Paul, Michelle & Ethan, and Matt) and they didn’t even try to get us off the table. The food is always excellent with at least three items off the menu I couldn’t decide between.

I’m glad to see that the place is continuing to provide great service and fantastic food to the people of Brisbane. It’s a great example of a wonderful cafe lifting the standards in the area and it really shows with some great looking cafes surrounding it. I will miss the opportunity to go back on weekends but I know it’ll be there the next time I come back.

Name: The Gunshop Cafe
Found at: 53 Mollison St, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia

The Bowery in Brisbane

One of my favourite bars in Brisbane is The Bowery, located on the corner of Ann Street and The Bowery in the Fortitude Valley. It’s a deep and narrow cocktail bar with an open aired patio where you can enjoy the wonderful mix of drinks on offer.

The menu is extensive (in drinks that is), split into a number of sections making it easy for you to enjoy. Sections such as the sweet, sour or bitter sections have plenty of cocktails to choose from, or you can simply ask the staff for something special. The only downside to a place like this is that you will find yourself waiting if the bar is super full.

I didn’t find it too busy last Friday, although we went before dinner and it was probably quiet with people leaving Brisbane for the long weekend. Staff are helpful, entirely friendly and the atmosphere chilled and relaxed.

Name: The Bowery
Address: 676 Ann St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006, Australia

Brisbane’s Cloudland

Cloudland is the oasis that sits in the ever changing Fortitude Valley, providing a distinctly different bar and dining experience to those venues sitting around it. During the day, their exterior shows rows of rings, each growing their very own potplant that I will imagine add to the jungle-scaped interior.

As you can see from the photo above, the interior is intricately detailed, with a set of booths upstairs for the casual drinkers and the tables and booths downstairs for the people watching diners. They have an extensive cocktail list (with accompanying prices) although their menu also looks really great combining Australian produce definitely influenced by asian spices and flavours.

The dish above is the Humpty Doo Barramundi. According to their website, it was served with spring onions poached in
red chili butter, Mooloolaba spanner crab & ginger fritter, five spice and wakame spinach, carrot & daikon pickle (AU$34.90).

I ordered a couple of Australian oysters shucked yet served with their entire shell and served fresh with lovely zesty lemon juice. They tasted exactly as they should, fresh and of the ocean without any strange after tastes. The citrus notes cutting through, adding yet another dimension to some fresh seafood flavours.

Looking back at the photos, I thought the above dish was a beef fillet, but then I remembered it must have been the Moya Valley Chicken, “Free range ‘Moya Valley’ chicken roulade, Bowral tunnel mushrooms, Ajo Blanco, flat parsley gremoulata, tarragon jus, confit of shallots, garlic & smoked pork belly” at AU$28.90.

I had the Reef and Beef option, that included a perfectly cooked steak and a huge lobster ravioli. To be honest, I definitely had some trouble finishing this meal and we couldn’t finish the accompanying side of cooked greens that we shared between us all. I can’t even remember the price but I’m guessing it would have been around AU$40. The food was very well seasonsed, all elements very well balanced and I remember leaving Cloudland a very happy person.

I’m glad to see venues like this crop up in Brisbane. Though I question how sustainable they will be, it’s nice to see a few more interesting dining and bar options open up.

Name: Cloudland
Found at: 641 Ann St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006, Australia

Regatta Boatshed

The Regatta is a bit of a Brisbane institute – it used to literally be an old boat shed until it got turned into a pub and became a regular scene for the UQ crowd of students. When I lived in Brisbane, it underwent a renovation and turned the outdoor boatshed into a more upmarket steakhouse with the rest of the venue a bit more of a nicer pub. I caught up with some new and old workmates working in Brisbane where we had a couple of drinks before settling in for dinner.

What’s really nice about the place is that the CityCat (think Brisbane river public transport) now drops you off literally right in front of it. This is definitely the best way of getting to the Regatta from the city if you’re not in a rush.

The menu actually provides a lot of choice but I think their best dishes are the fish or the steak. Despite having steak for lunch that day (another post to come) I couldn’t resist ordering one of their nice Australian grass-fed steaks. The picture above (click it for a larger picture) is the 300g eye fillet ($39.50) that also includes a number of sides (mine with salad, steak fries and bernaise sauce).

Service was a little on the slow side although they did well we turned up with 18 hungry mouths without a booking and they still managed to seat us (barely) and serve us drinks. The steak (cooked medium rare) was wonderfully juicy with that delicious char on the outside. The bernaise sauce, a little bit on the thicker side than I’d like but served with the super fresh crisp salad and perfectly cooked steak fries went down a treat.

As you can see we didn’t have any problems with the venue, although I was surprised by how quiet it was for a Thursday night around this area. You can see us being one of the last ones to leave (photo taken sometime around midnight) – they turn down the lights and start rolling up the boatshed doors.

Name: The Boatshed @ Regatta Hotel
Address: 543 Coronation Drive Toowong QLD 4064, Australia