Sunday 12 May 2019

Where to eat and drink in Brisbane

This week I visited Brisbane for the first time, and as is the case with any new place I visit, I wanted to hunt down the best cafes and restaurants in the city. After doing a bit of research over the past few weeks, I came up with a bit of a list of places to hit up, leaving a bit of room for any spots that I stumbled across on my travels that looked interesting. If you're heading to Brisbane in the near future, or are just interested in what I ate, continue reading.


Brunch, lunch and dinner spots 


Felix for Goodness

For breakfast on Thursday morning, I headed to Felix for Goodness in the CBD (one of the places that was high on Google's list of best cafes). Tucked away on Burnett Lane, this cute little cafe was definitely a favourite among locals given the number of city workers getting their takeaway coffees. I ordered a flat white and the coconut bircher with blueberry compote, chia, puffed grain, vanilla and pink lady apple. While I was expecting this to be more like a traditional oats bircher, it had more of a chia pudding feel, but was very refreshing and delicious with the mix of fruits and flavours.

Jamie's Italian

For lunch on Thursday, I stumbled upon Jamie's Italian, which was only a couple of minutes' walk from our hotel, and as I was in the mood for a bit of pasta, I decided to take advantage of their weekday lunch deal ($20 for a main, or $25 with a glass of wine) and ordered the Gennaro's tagliatelle bolognese (along with a glass of white wine). The pasta, which is made in the restaurant each day, was incredibly fresh, and the slow cooked pork and beef ragu cooked in a red wine sauce, topped with pangranatto and parmesan, was beautifully rich and flavoursome.

Chu the Phat

One of Dave's colleagues who has lived in Brisbane gave him a list of restaurant and bar recommendations, one of which was Chu the Phat in the Southbank area. We met up with a friend here for dinner on Thursday night and ordered a selection of items from their Asian fusion menu, including the sweetcorn and coriander dumplings, the pork brioche with spicy cabbage and kewpie, the mungbean pancake with kimchi caramel and soy pickled onions, the steamed tofu with fried mushrooms and roasted capsicum dressing, and the egg noodles with stewed beef cheek and an iron egg. While all dishes were very tasty, I think the standout for me was probably the sweetcorn and coriander dumplings, with their crispy outside and sweet flavoursome filling.

King Arthur Cafe

After dropping Dave at his course on Friday morning, I decided to head to Fortitude Valley and explore some of the cafes in that area while working away on my laptop. I headed to King Arthur Cafe, a beautiful double storey, airy and open spot, and ordered the coconut quinoa porridge with quince, honey and buckwheat, along with a flat white. The porridge was the perfect sweetness with the flavours of coconut, quince and honey, and was a lovely consistency with the use of quinoa (rather than the usual oats).

No. 5 Cafe

After wandering around the shops at Fortitude Valley, I decided to check out another cafe in the area, this time heading to No. 5 Cafe, a small hole-in-the-wall cafe tucked away in a hidden laneway. I was in the mood for a smoothie, so went for their healthy green smoothie, which was wonderfully thick with the avocado and banana (but also sweet enough to conceal the spinach). This is a great little spot to sit and work in the sun, while doing a bit of people watching at the same time.

Coffee Iconic

One of the cafes that came up in my Google search was Coffee Iconic, located on George St in the CBD. This cafe has a fantastic garden out the back that makes you feel like you have been transported somewhere far away from the centre of the CBD. After ordering their iconic bibim bowl, I managed to find a seat in the garden among the many city workers grabbing a Friday lunch. The bibim bowl was very fresh, with mixed rice (black, brown and white), carrot, cucumber, sweetcorn, enoki mushroom, house made kimchi, avocado, a fried egg, and Japanese sesame sauce. The mix of flavours, particularly the Japanese sesame sauce, made this the perfect light yet filling lunch.

Comuna Cantina

Given our love of Mexican food, we wanted to check out Brisbane's best Mexican spots, so we headed to Comuna Cantina in the city for dinner on Friday night. This is quite a small little restaurant tucked away in Albert Lane, but it was very bustling when we arrived at 6:30pm. They have an ipad ordering system (something I've only ever experienced in Japanese and Korean restaurants) so we ordered a couple of margharitas to start, before choosing some food items to share. We went with the grilled corn with chipotle aioli and shaved ricotta, the pulled pork tacos and crunchy haloumi tacos, and the spicy beef nachos. I think the standout dish for me was the pulled pork taco, served with guacamole, chipotle aioli, pickled onion, shaved green apple and coriander.

Brew Cafe and Wine Bar

After going for a run around the city and the southbank area on Saturday morning, I had worked up quite an appetite and so decided to head to Brew Cafe and Wine Bar, tucked away on Burnett Lane (not far from Felix for Goodness). I was in the mood for some waffles, so went for the vanilla waffles with roasted hazlenuts, sticky blueberries and nutella marscapone (and my standard flat white). It's been a while since I've had a good serving of crunchy Belgian waffles, and these really met my expectations. The nutella marscapone was a unique addition but went so well with the crunchy vanilla waffles and the blueberry sauce. The coffee was also excellent and would highly recommend for anyone wanting a weekend brunch in the city (especially since not a lot of cafes are open on the weekends).

Felons Brewing Co

After Dave's course finished, a few of the other attendees were heading out to lunch at Felons Brewing Co, so we decided to join them. Located on the waterfront under the Storey Bridge, this is a fantastic spot to head to on the weekend for a drink and meal with friends (and it seemed that everyone else in Brisbane had this idea). After ordering a round of drinks, we ordered some lunch - I went with the swordfish with fregola, tomatoes, zucchini and green olive salsa, and Dave ordered the crumbed barramundi burger with tartare and pickled jalapeno. The swordfish was very fresh and the tangy salsa with the juicy tomatoes and sliced zucchini were beautiful sides to the fish.


Having been to Sake in Melbourne a couple of times and loving the fresh array of sushi, we decided to check out Brisbane's version for dinner, located on Eagle St Pier, overlooking the waterfront. We ordered a few items to share, including the steamed prawn dumplings, the kingfish double crunch sushi roll, the wagyu ramen, and a side dish of mushrooms and cauliflower, along with a sake flight each. My favourite dishes were the beutifully steamed dumplings (wrapped in thin, fresh noodles) and the mushrooms and cauliflower - a simple dish, but the lovely Japanese sauce and the mixture of mushroom varieties made this a great side dish.

Dessert and snack spots

Gelato Messina

Could we come to Brisbane and not go to Messina at least once (or, three times)? No, we could not. Given that there was a Messina 15 minutes' walk from our hotel, and another in Fortitude Valley, it was inevitable that we would make three trips here in four days.


Nodo is a beautiful cafe and donut shop in Fortitude Valley. While I was there on Thursday, I stopped by and picked up some takeaway donuts for us - the strawberry and couverture milk hazelnut chocolate, and the breakfast donut with banana maple and pecan crumb. While not your traditional donuts (they were more cake-like than donut-like), they are worth trying if you are in the area. Their brunch menu looks amazing as well, and I would definitely be keen to head back there at some stage to try something of that menu.

Le Bon Choix 

I was keen to try one of Brisbane's best patisseries, and when I searched for patisseries in the area, I was very pleased to see that Le Bon Choix was just around the corner from our hotel. So, on Thursday afternoon, I headed there to pick up a couple of cakes to takeaway. I decided to go with a lemon meringue tart and a chocolate caramel mousse tart, both of which were beautifully presented and just as beautifully tasting as well (I think the lemon meringue was probably our favourite).

1 comment:

  1. This makes me miss good Asian food!! Maybe I’ll see if I can make dumplings...