Riverbar & Kitchen, Brisbane
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Dec 282012
 

This post is slightly overdue, but the festive season caught up with me!

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited along to breakfast at Riverbar & Kitchen, the new venture from Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan.  It’s located beside the Brisbane River at the business end of town, at the site of the ill-fated Boardwalk Bar.  I was pleased to hear something new was going into the site, as Boardwalk Bar was one of my regular haunts during my private practice days, and the site of many a big night.  Riverbar & Kitchen looks set to fill the gap around that end of town, for business people looking for a place to have a casual bite to eat or drink.  And the view is pretty spectacular!

A number of us sat down for a pre-work breakfast one Wednesday morning and were lucky enough to meet Matt and Peter and have a chat face-to-face.  I confess, I found myself a bit nervous, but I regrouped and tried to string together sentences that made some kind of sense.

I loved the little details, like the amazing plates and bowls that look to be handmade, and the huge rope light feature that runs down the centre of the restaurant.  The food itself was delicious – good, honest breakfast food.  I particularly liked the bircher muesli, and (surprisingly enough) the blood sausage that came out with the bacon and eggs.

I had a lovely morning, one of the nicest Wednesdays I’ve had in some time!  If only every morning could start out with a relaxing breakfast, coffee and good company (and one wasn’t required to be at work afterwards…)

Riverbar & Kitchen
71 Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane
Ph: 3211 9020
Web: http://riverbarandkitchen.com.au/

 

Full disclosure: I ate as a guest of Riverbar & Kitchen, but all opinions are my own.

Oct 122012
 

J and I have been eating our way around the north-eastern part of the USA.  The
first stop in our little adventure was the Big Apple itself.  I’ve compiled a
little list of recommendations for foodie activities in NYC.  But bear in mind, one
of the best things about NYC is exploring it for yourself!

1.  Head to Hell’s Kitchen and grab some empanadas at Empananda Mama.  If you can
get a sidewalk table, watch the people passing by, and marvel at the NYC idea of
parking – bumpers are for using after all!

2.  Enjoy a fancy fancy dinner at Daniel on the Upper East Side.  Bookings
essential, but the three course prix-fixe pre-theatre (5pm-6pm) menu is a relative
steal at $125 with matching wines.  Follow up with a show on Broadway.

Smorgasburg!

3.Visit Williamsburg for Brooklyn Flea’s “Smorgasburg”.  Go straight to Baby Got Back Ribs and get the sweet bbq style with coleslaw.

baby got back ribs

Finish with a salted chocolate chip cookie icecream sandwich.  Loosen your belt.

salted chocolate chip icecream sandwich at Smorgasburg

4. Walking food tour.  We did the foodsofnyc Greenwich Village one, and it was
three hours of eating, walking and learning about architecture and history.  Loved it.  Wear comfortable shoes!

Faicco’s on the Greenwich Village Food Tour

 

Canoli on the Greenwich Village Food Tour

5. Visit the Chelsea Markets.  Get a real coffee if you’ve been hanging out (or try
Irving Farm Coffee Co on West 79th Street).  Try the flavoured vinegars and salts,
check out the delis and food stores.  Wish you lived nearby.

These are just some ideas – go nuts, you can pretty much find any kind of food you
can conceive.  Take loose fitting clothing…

Sep 162012
 

Spring has arrived in full force in Brisbane.  It only lasts about 3 weeks so I intend on making the most of it before the onslaught of an El Nino summer.

To celebrate the arrival of the season in the southern hemisphere, Sake Brisbane has launched a cherry blossom banquet menu, and I was lucky enough to be invited along for a preview.

One of the first things I noticed upon arrival was the cherry blossom tree inside the restaurant – it is a live tree that has been brought in especially for the festival.  Cherry blossom branches also festoon the walls, and out on the balcony is a twinkling cherry blossom tree – fake but convincing enough to fool one poor bee!

I start with the special “Cherry Jelly” cocktail, which combines cherry puree and sweet cherry liqueur with sparkling ume (plum jelly).  It is delicious but, I must admit, a little bit bizarre to have to chew bits of your cocktail!

We sample a range of items from both the normal Sake menu and the cherry blossom banquet menu:

Edamame

Popcorn shrimp (a highlight!)

Steamed prawn dumplings

Fresh Queensland scallops with ocean trout caviar and ponzu sauce

Sashimi

As well as:

  • pan seared ocean trout with sweet pea puree and asian mushrooms tossed with butter soy;
  • fried lamb backstrap with pickled beetroot puree, Jerusalem artichoke and baby carrot; and
  • very strawberry sorbet, mousse, jelly, marshmallow and crisp consumme

Unfortunately those options made it into my mouth before I could get a decent photo.  You’ll just have to trust me when I say they were all delicious.

I have been to Sake several times now, and every time I am impressed by the food – it continues to be innovative, fresh and to the highest standards.  The cherry blossom festival is a great idea, and I can certainly vouch for the banquet option.  The banquet with matching sake is $128, or just food is $88 and well worth it.

The cherry blossom festival runs until 30 September.

Sake Brisbane
Level 1
45 Eagle St
Eagle St Pier

Ph: 3015 0557
Web: www.sakerestaurant.com.au/brisbane

 

As usual, full disclosure, I was a guest of Sake Brisbane, but all opinions are my own.

Sep 032012
 

I’ve already waxed lyrical about Sunday brunches on the deck, so I won’t go on about that again (other than to confirm my ringing endorsement).

Actually – that’s a lie.  Below is a picture of my (renovated newly painted) deck, so you can appreciate just how nice it is to sit out there!

Moving on, if you are interested in having something a bit more novel for Sunday brunch, a savory fritter works a treat.  It’s also a cheeky way to start the day with a few extra vegetables.

 

Carrot fritters

Serves 2-4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Meal type Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (dry toasted in a pan)
  • 2 cups plain flour (you can use half wholemeal if you like)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 medium carrots (grated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (add to reach desired consistency)
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Method

1 In a bowl, mix together the flour, cumin, baking powder and salt and pepper.
2 Add the carrot and stir to combine.
3 Mix through the egg and sufficient milk to reach a smooth but not too runny consistency.
4 Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
5 Cook large spoonfuls of the fritter batter in frying pan, flattening down with the top of your spoon if they don't spread too easily.
6 Cook for a couple of minutes each side (flipping to top side when you start to see bubbles).
7 Serve with a fried/poached egg, and a rocket and parmesan salad, and a bit of chutney and yoghurt.
Aug 192012
 

I already have a banana bread recipe on the site, but if you’re anything like me, you can never have too many!

This one came from the insert to my Delicious magazine subscription.  It’s an advertisement for Uncle Tobys’ oats, by Mearle Parrish (whoever that is?).  I cut the sugar down from 3/4 cup to 1/3 and I found it was plenty sweet.  I did use the Carnation milk, but there’s no reason why plain old milk wouldn’t work also.

To increase the nutrition slightly (and make it easier to justify having banana bread for breakfast), I used 1 cup of wholemeal SR flour, together with 1 cup of white SR flour.  You could go all wholemeal, but it would make the end product slightly denser.

It was coming up to dinner time before the bread was finished, but I had to share the end slice with J, fresh and hot from the oven. It really is best that way.

 

 

 

Banana Oat Bread

Serves 10-12
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Freezable

Ingredients

  • 185ml Can (Carnation light and creamy milk (or milk))
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas (very ripe, mashed)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups self-raising flour ((I used half wholemeal))

Method

1 Preheat over to 160* (fan forced).
2 Grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper
3 Whisk the milk, sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl.
4 Fold through the mashed banana, oats and flour.
5 Spoon the mixture into your loaf tin. Sprinkle with a pinch of rolled oats.
6 Bake for 1 hour, until a skewer in the centre comes out clean.
7 Serve warm, with a bit of butter.
Aug 022012
 

This is a lovely dish that unfortunately just doesn’t photograph very well (or at least, not with my limited photography skills!).  It’s lucky it’s so tasty then!

I only discovered lentils, green puy lentils in particular, in the last 3 or 4 years.  However, they are now on high rotation in our household.  I find them enough of a meal on their own, perhaps with a poached egg on top, but this dish adds in a hearty piece of chicken as well.  It’s a great winter recipe for those cold nights that Brisbane has been having lately.  We live in an old Queenslander, which is built to be beautifully cool in summer, but has the added disadvantage of being absolutely freezing in winter.  Any excuse to turn on the oven is welcomed at this time of year.

I know I got this recipe from someone else’s website.  Unfortunately, when I printed it out it appears I failed to make a note of it.  So I apologise for not being able to give credit where credit is due!  Although, as usual, I have made quite a few changes to the original recipe, so this is my own spin.

Chicken and lentils

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 rashers bacon or proscuitto (diced)
  • 4 chicken thighs or marylands (skin on)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large onions (diced)
  • 2 stalks celery (diced)
  • 2 carrots (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1-2 cup red cabbage (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • bunch parsley (diced)
  • 2 cups green puy lentils (rinsed well)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (more as needed)

Method

1 Preheat oven to 180*. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
2 Fry off the bacon until golden. Remove and drain on paper towel.
3 Season chicken with salt and pepper and add, skin side down, to the pot (cook in batches if required).
4 Sear until golden on all sides over medium-high.
5 Remove chicken from pan and pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat.
6 Add onions, celery, carrot and garlic and cook over medium heat until onion becomes translucent.
7 Stir in the cumin and add the vinegar and half parsley, briefly saute.
8 Add the lentils, stock and cooked bacon.
9 Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer on the stove.
10 Once simmering, cover with the lid and place the whole thing in the oven.
11 Cook for about an hour, until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has absorbed (you may need to add more stock to get the lentils to the desired consistency). Add the red cabbage for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
12 Season to taste and serve. I recommend crusty bread to mop up any excess lentil sauce.