In the Sunshine State, Autumn and Spring really does not indicate anything other than the gradual changes revolving around the Queensland Summer. Nevertheless, Autumn is the opportunity for our produce - particularly apples, lemons, pumpkins, pears and leeks - taking centre stage with less emphasis on fruits and seafoods, as the outdoors becomes more endurable enjoyable, minus the sticky humidity. My City Life looks at what we’ll eat across The City as Brisbane winds down from Summer to Winter where it’s all about bright colours and simple, hearty dishes that are still light on the stomach.
A necessary part of city living is in the coffee, and thanks to the top brews, we’re all sorted. Merlo’s El Salvador Santa Rosa has an aroma of toffee and currants with notes of a cocoa finish. And with them coming out on top in Foxtel’s I Love Food Awards for the second year running, Australia clearly believes Merlo knows good beans. From the café in Thomas St West End and at Contessa on Roma Street, Blackstar Coffee Roasters bring their indie coffee culture to our palates, care of the sweet fruity and mellowness of Sweet Dreams. From Ltd Espresso Brew Bar in The Valley, it’s all about Cleanskin Coffee Co’s two bean blend from PNG’s Okapa and Columbia forming The Passport to reflect the seasonal change. With butter notes, an earthy aroma, full body and fruity sweetness, this is the visa for the true jetsetter.
Café Culture in The City is almost a scripture. Quality coffee with seasonal produce cooked to perfection for the most important meal of the day almost requires scared text in the how-to’s and what-fors. New Farm’s The Ponycat’s all day breakfasts are a treat but there’s nothing stopping anyone from eating their pumpkin and thyme soup with natural yogurt and toasted olive bread all day long either.
From East Brisbane, Pearl Café have it all covered with a few dishes at night to grab you too. Their fig pikelets for the wholesome, or three cheese toastie with braised leeks and French mustard with a Harcourt red apple cider for the not-so-wholesome goes down quite nicely, while their whole roasted suckling pig on Wednesday nights will leave your love for the seasons requited. But if wandering past their bar, the duck liver and fig parfait with house made sweet potato bread and onion and sage paste might have you falling head over heels with the seasonal changes.
Newstead favourite Chester Street Kitchen showcase their Autumn specials alongside their bakery treats. You can’t walk past the smell of baking bread, though their wood-fired oven sees their new roast pork with sweet honey roasted pear pizza sizzling away. With gluten-free bases also available, Autumn is definitely the season for choice. The lemon and thyme chicken wings and Chester Street pita bread is perfect for sharing, otherwise, the rack of lamb with a honey, mint and coriander rub polished off with the mango and passionfruit mess is the perfect transition from summer to winter.
At the brand new and shiny Blackbird Bar & Grill from Eagle Street Pier, the wood grill is the star of the restaurant. You can’t walk past the Queensland Darling Downs Black Angus Scotch Fillet, though starting this with the wild rabbit and black truffle tortellini with garden peas will get those appetites revving. While these aren’t exactly light meals and demand a bit of a heavy red such as Heathcote’s Red Claw Shiraz, these dishes will fortify the body until winter. But for those who love to share, the Murray Cod wrapped in paper bark is still hearty and light. And since you’re there, a Lychee & Rose Rickey or Jazzed Up Sidecar might make things even more interesting.
Queensland certainly knows how to bring the outdoors in, combining the great outdoors with an incredible menu and casual charm. From New Farm, Watt Restaurant + Bar’s emphasis on clean eating by the riverside is prevalent 365 days of the year in their menu. The focus is on crisp white wines, light reds and share plates, seeing honey cured salmon and a radish salad a particular stand out. However, the baked mushroom and spinach lasagna rolls with roasted red pepper sauce is a resplendent visual feast. Team with their brand new Cheeky Tikis and other feature cocktails, and you might never leave.
Living in The City means consistently spirited days, evenings and weekends. But perhaps getting away from the city centre might be just the trip for you. From Bulimba, the Jetty Oxford introduces a list of wild cocktails full of promise for unexpected journeys and explorations. The Marshmellow Cocoa and Michelin are the ticket to a whole new world where their marshmellow infused vodka is the highlight, though the Aviation will see you fly to brand new worlds. If sharing is more your thing, Jetty’s Pimms or Sangria Jugs will see your generosity, and raise it.
In the heart of West End, Cobbler’s approach to the dram has always and will always be met with plenty of tongue in cheek, and their new Autumn cocktail list hits dead on. Taking inspiration from Quentin Tarrentino, Zed’s Dead Baby, Royale with Cheese or I May Be A B*stard, but I’m Not A F*cking B*stard won’t leave anyone in an uncomfortable silence. The Fight Now, Cry Later or Silly Caucasian Girl Likes to Play with Samurai Swords will also look to heat things up quite nicely for our Autumn spell.