Brisbane Food Tours
When my friend and podcasting buddy Mel tagged me in on a Facebook post a few weeks ago about Brisbane food tours, I jumped in straight away. I haven’t participated in an organized food tour previously and as an avid food and wine lover, I was all in.
Natascha Mirosch, a writer, reviewer, and editor of the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide organized the food tour. Her inside knowledge of new restaurants and Brisbane food news shone throughout on the day as we visited the various establishments.
I hadn’t spied the itinerary (I missed that post) and I kinda like it like that, as I love to be surprised! It didn’t disappoint and was as diverse as it was interesting, plus there were 15 or so other mad keen foodies on the tour too so much laughter and conversation were had and new friendships made.
Our first stop was Wild Canary, Brookfield for a “leaves and flowers” tour where we learned what we could and couldn’t eat from our gardens.
Then, imagine my excitement when I discovered caviar and Colett champagne tasting were our next stop at Black Pearl Epicure! Hello, yes you read that correctly caviar and champagne!!!
No doubt wherever you are reading this there is a restaurant opened by a celebrity chef near you. Brisbane is no exception and with Queensland’s own celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue recently opened Billykart Westend & Provisions, off we went to our next stop.
What would a food tour be without catering for sweet tooths? Cake & Bake, another recently opened food business in Brisbane and owned by Jocelyn Hancock of Jocelyn’s fame, did not disappoint, we even witnessed a red velvet cake being decorated!
The food tour finished in another newly opened establishment Darling & Co where I sampled a negroni for the first (and last) time.
See below for a more in-depth look at each of the stops from the Brisbane food tours.
Photo credit: Thanks to Natascha for the group shot
Wild Canary Brookfield
Wild Canary is a bistro connected to a beautiful garden centre on the outskirts of Brisbane at Brookfield.
The passion for fresh and locally grown produce oozes from chef Glenn Barrett. A well-established chef, he’s worked in some of Brisbane’s most iconic restaurants throughout his 20-year career. His love of all things fresh is not just a work thing either as he’s just as passionate describing his garden at his home in the Samford Valley.
Before we headed out to tour the garden beds where many of the herbs and vegetables are grown for the bistro we sampled a lemon verbena iced tea. A “green” iced tea with a tangy lemon flavour, I loved it!
In the 34c heat, chef walked us through the gardens explaining what everything was and how we could use each plant in our kitchen.
Just as thoughtful as the itinerary Natasha had crafted, she arrived with umbrella’s to shade us from the scorching sun, everyone breathed a sigh of relief so we could fully concentrate on chef’s narrative of the gardens.
Then came the food!
Everything tasted sublime.
These are nasturtiums (yes flowers!) with creamy buffalo cheese and watermelon with goat’s feta and black mint, so refreshing for a summers day.
This is white polenta with ‘poor man’s saffron’, chermoula chicken and lamb (cooked for 18 hours!) with herbs & flowers from the garden, no doubt picked fresh that morning!
On closing his presentation, Glenn said he could talk for hours about growing fresh herbs, and I’m certain we could sit there and listen for just as long. He’s a wealth of information about using plants and flowers from the garden.
Address: 2371 Moggill Road, Brookfield, Queensland, Australia
Phone: 07 3378 2805
Website: Wild Canary
Black Pearl Epicure
What a treat it was to swan into Black Pearl Epicure to sample a new french champagne to hit the Australian market and three different types of caviar.
The Brut Art Deco champagne Collet, was full of soft bubbles, (did you know there are 49 MILLION of them in one bottle?) and a blend of 40% Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. Beautiful floral flavours with a lovely crisp finish were the perfect accompaniment to the caviar.
Caviar, real caviar comes only from sturgeon. All of the species of sturgeon hold the current classification of an endangered species. Strict guidelines are imposed by the governing body and strict quotas are enforced for wild caviar.
You would be right in thinking you’ve sampled caviar before (as I had) however, fish such as trout, salmon and herring are known for their roe, but it’s not true caviar.
We sampled caviar from 3 different farms both in the USA and Italy. Samples were offered on a mother-of-pearl spoon so as not to taint the flavour and placed on our hands like this.
Caviar is expensive, mainly because farming of sturgeons is such a costly enterprise, Sturgeons have a minimum of 5 years growth before they start producing the black eggs.
Beluga caviar wears the badge of honour as the “best” mainly due to being rarer and much more expensive than other varieties.
This 1.8 kg tin here is $10,000!
It was a fantastic way to spend an hour listening to our great hosts Jane Green and BJ Jull from Bacchus Wine Merchants speak passionately about caviar and champagne, and, of course, the sampling!
Billykart West End
Barely a month old Billykart West End is the second restaurant celebrity chef, Ben O’Donahue and his wife Dee have opened in Brisbane.
Our table was front and centre and tasting plates and wine were quickly served.
Very obliging staff were happy to supply alternatives to the bread’s and crackers served with these meats and cheeses
In addition to Billy Kart, Ben also has a provisions store right next store. Unfortunately, things hadn’t gone to plan and the staff were putting the finishing touches to the store so it wasn’t open for trade, but they still obliged and showed us around.
When the provisions store will be a deli/bakery with bread, pastries, sauces, pickles, etc all made in house. Billy Kart provisions will also have roasted birds and other animals from the churrasco spit oven from the restaurant.
Address: 2 Edmonston Street, West End, Queensland, Australia
Phone: 07 3392 9275
Website: Billykart Kitchen
Cake and Bake
If you have a sweet tooth and love exquisite pastries and cakes Joscelyn Hancock’s newest venture Cake and Bake must make your “to do” list.
As I’m gluten-free I could only drool over the beautiful brioche, slices, panna forte, shortbreads, etc.
We were treated to a demonstration by french chef Didier, yes he had one of those accents that you could listen to for hours! He was also pretty good with a palate knife and produced this red velvet masterpiece along with rose petals from Jocelyn’s garden!
Address: 296 Montague Road, West End, Queensland, Australia
Phone: 07 3844 1088
Website: Cake & Bake
Darling & Co
Last stop was Darling & Co. Formerly known as ice works it has been transformed from a bit of an eye-sore to a warm and inviting restaurant and bar.
Our visit to Darling & Co was for the Italian cocktail, negroni. Made of one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, one part Campari and garnished with orange peel. The cocktail didn’t suit my palate that has grown accustomed to sweeter cocktails, however, there were many on the tour that loved it!
Their menu looks great and I wouldn’t mind returning to visit the restaurant at a later date.
Address: 157 Given Terrace, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Phone: 07 3367 9800
Website: Darling & Co.