Tag Archives: Brisbane


So in order to catch up with a friend before Christmas, I just HAD to go to Lady Marmalade at Stones Corner for lunch AND they just won map magazine’s best lunch 2013 award. Life is tough.


The hardest part was deciding what to eat, as there were lots of vego options and even a vegan option with greens, sweet potato, black beans, tofu and dukkah. I ummed and ahhhed and went for the mushrooms with mojo verde (a tangy non-basil pesto?) on brioche with goats’ cheese. I ordered a potato and feta hash on the side. My friend was going to go for the haloumi (because obvious) but ended up having the herbed avo toast with tomato and a SIDE of haloumi. Genius. This is why I have such great friends. Because they piece together brilliant meals.


The café was busy but not full and we got quick service and meals. My mushrooms were well cooked and came with spinach but didn’t appear to come with the goats’ cheese. Instead, there was a yoghurt looking but cheesy tasting sauce under my mushrooms. It was still delicious and as long as no one mayo-bombed me (I don’t like mayo [but like aioli]) I didn’t mind. The potato feta hash was really good- I find that sometimes the cheese taste gets lost but you could actually pick it as an ingredient and I didn’t want to add salt to it. My friend was really happy to discover her tomatoes were in a really nice dressing and although she couldn’t pick the herbs in her avo, I think there was mint, coriander and possibly basil.


We paid less than $30 total for our brekkies including sides and my soy iced latte. I really liked the attention to the flavours in each item- whether it was a main or a side it worked well and didn’t need heaps of salt and pepper. We even got to see a guy ride past in a plastic canoe/bicycle thing. Value.


Lady Marmalade Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Brisbane tries hard to be Christmassy in 30 degree weather!

So at Christmas-time, we might get sunburn instead of snow, but we still have an abundance of bright shiny lights and sparkly things. I haven’t gone to see Christmas light since I was a kid, but some amazing work friends who came over talked me into going to see the City Hall display and then local Christmas light winners and runners-up. It was a lot of fun, although waaaay busy in the city- tiny children as far as the eye could see!

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So when you’re trekking through the city, either on a shopping expedition (I wish!) or for whatever reason brings you to the CBD, there can feel like limited places to go. There are lots of places that serve vegetarian food, but Ben and I are quiet people at heart and enjoy somewhere to sit and relax.

It’s a damn shame that the Regent Theatre was shut down, but I’m so glad the foyer has been saved and that Aromas is still there. It’s one of the few places that feels away from the hustle and bustle of the street, even though it’s on busy Queens Street Mall.

There’s a limited menu and a lot of it is made off-site, but it’s good for a toastie and a huge iced coffee. Seriously. Huge.


Recently I wanted something substantial so I ordered the spinach and cheese roll with salad and relish. It’s not going to win awards, but it was hot and nice and served with fresh greens. It perked me up and was washed down nicely with a huge soy iced latte (although there chai is nice too, and made with real tea).


There is NOT a trendy crowd here, but it’s cool and dark and if you’re really good, I’ll buy you a packet of afghans. Holy caramel latticed chocolate biscuits, Batman, they’re good.

Aromas on Urbanspoon

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It was a hot day and I was in the CBD and needed a cold drink. Bonsai Botanika lured us in with its beautiful decor. Unfortunately, there’s where the beauty ended. There was a very friendly greeter and we ordered a soy latte and a green iced tea and sat down. Shortly, the cafe began filling up and we waited. And waited. And waited. We realised the set up was not as functional as it was pretty- the cafe filled up quickly and everyone waiting formed a big messy queue that crushed up against the cafe tables. When our drinks arrived, Ben’s coffee was very average and my iced tea was unbearably sweet. I had one sip. Such a shame, because the piles of chocolate and cakes in the display cabinet would normally tempt me!


Bonsai Botanika on Urbanspoon

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So if you go to Cafe CheCoCho on Hardgrave Street, you must not sit at the Hobbit Table.

What is the Hobbit Table, you may ask? Well, frankly, it’s my table. Okay not literally but it’s decoupaged in dozens of pictures taken from Tolkien stories and as someone who has read “The Hobbit” over a dozen times and “The LOTR” about six, I feel compelled to sit there and sad when I don’t. Don’t worry, the other tables are just as charming and skillful. I’m also partial to the vintage ladies table when the Hobbit is occupied.

So enough about tables.

Ok, one more thing about The Hobbit table: You can see Middle Earth in the background.

Ok, one more thing about The Hobbit table: You can see Middle Earth in the background.

I passed Cafe CheCoCho (Chess, Coffee, Chocolate) for years before I finally went in. I’m sorry I didn’t go earlier. Until the move this year, we went there while our laundry was washing up the street on a Sunday morning. It was a ritual we had. Although I don’t miss lugging laundry to a laundromat, I do miss that ritual!

CheCoCho does a standard-ish cafe menu really well. You’ll find some lovely vegan options for breakfast and drinks and they make a mean bowl of chips.


The All Day Breakfast, vego option.

The best breakfast option is by far the $9 All Day Brekkie. The veggie option comes with roast veggies instead of bacon, which sounds unusual but works so well. This time, I ordered The All Day and Ben ordered an omelette. Ben got a latte and I got a chocolate milkshake. Vegan milk options are happily used.

Omelette you look at that for a while.

Omelette you look at that for a while.

I love how consistently excellent the poached eggs are here. I really can’t recall getting a bad one and as regular readers will know, I eat a fair few poached eggs in and around Brisbane. Just after this breakfast, I took a good non-vego friend here who also ordered the vego All Day Breakfast and she loved it. It was totally satisfying sharing the poached egg love.

I’m also happy that there are a few places left that serve milkshakes in metal canisters. Does anyone else remember getting them when you were little? I loved that. Or, at a close second, in a milkshake glass with the leftovers in the canister and both served to you. I’m getting flashbacks to this diner from my childhood in Victoria called …something “Park” which served milkshakes this way and HAD A SMOKING SECTION (Today, there is no smoking in any Australian shopping centre or food service area). So very old. I digress. Here’s our drinks (Ben always enjoys the coffee here and orders a huge one):

Don't spill your drink on The Hobbit table. Unless it's on Mordor. No one likes Mordor.

Don’t spill your drink on The Hobbit table. Unless it’s on Mordor. No one likes Mordor.

Seriously, just eat here. It’s old, it looks a little grubby at times, it’s not air conditioned but it’s really affordable and it sells books for $2 (Such a cool and varied selection as well). It’s just very West End.



Ooey gooey.

EDIT: The owners have had to get rid of most of their decoupage tables except for the big indoor one because, due to age and rain, they had gotten gummy and were peeling. This means the Tolkein Table is gone and I am sad forever, but I’m sure I’ll adjust to eating on a non-fantasy epic table. In time. Perhaps.
Checocho on Urbanspoon

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Undress Brisbane

So I spent the evening peering over people’s shoulders at a runway and drinking delicious organic cocktails in a multistory carpark at Undress Brisbane‘s 2013 Runway event, a sustainable fashion show.



So many shoulders. Such little view.

Now I know why women wear heels to fashion events.

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Jacarandas. A Brisbane thing.

So there’s this tree that blooms up here in Queensland called a Jacaranda and they’re bright purple and you know you’re getting towards the end of the year/semester/term when they start blooming.

They’re blooming now.

IMAG2778There’s a park in Yeronga called Jacaranda Park (creative, I know) that for 10 months of the year is a boring, square park with trees around the edge but at the moment looks AMAZING because Jacaranda flowers fall and create a beautiful purple carpet on the grass.

I know they grow elsewhere, but to me Jacarandas are a quintessential Brisbane thing.

They’re beautiful, they’re everywhere and they make me very happy. If you’re a Briswegian, do you know of any cool Jacaranda pockets blooming at the moment?

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Book Launch: Art/Fashion in the 21st Century



So I went to a book launch and panel discussion at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) yesterday. IMAG2849

The launch was for Mitchell Oakley Smith and Alison Kubler’s new book Art/Fashion in the 21st Century and it’s huge and lovely and I shouldn’t have but I bought one for a friend’s wedding present. Worst wedding present ever. Best book for the bride though. And I got them both signed!


The panel was the authors joined by Susan Dimasi, (Director and Artisan Designer, MaterialByProduct) and Dr Nadia Buick (Co-Director, The Fashion Archives) discussing big questions such as “Can fashion be art?” to changes in fashion over the last 10 years to the blurring of lines between art, fashion, design and film.


I also bought Mitchell’s older book Fashion: Australia and New Zealand Designers which I hope will be a fun read and a break from the academic reading I’m doing at the moment.

Today I browsed the books in the sun (yes, I read books I buy for others. Sorry) and strolled down to the Young Designers Markets and Southbank for some visual fun.


A fabulous fabric-centric weekend.

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So there’s something about the name of the Hoo Ha Bar that is just funny. Or I’m just really immature.

I must be the last foodie/alcoholic in Brisbane to discover this place and was truly disgusted in myself when the bar staff told me Hoo Ha had been open since March. It’s less than six blocks from my house (on Tribune Street near the bus and train stations) and I didn’t know it was there. Food blog fail.

I found out about it yesterday and was there last night. There’s not much room in Southbank for bars that aren’t “in” Southbank and therefore expensive and potentially revolting so I was excited.

I told Ben we were celebrating his new job. But he knows.


We moseyed down about 6.30 and although it was after happy hour, we had a happy time. We perused the beer and cocktails menu and Ben got a Coopers something (beer, pffft) and I was torn between a Bison Shake and a Cuban Espresso. As much as I wanted a Cuban Espresso and my general judgement of a bar’s cocktails rests on the mixing of coffee and alcohol, I didn’t want to be up at 11 pm with foil on my head paranoid about alien invasions. I likes me sleep.


So I went with the Bison Shake (Vodka, Peach schnapps, cloudy apple juice, passionfruit and grapefruit bitters) and was not disappointed. I could have drunk these all night, but at $16 (standard full priced cocktails in Brisbane), I couldn’t afford to last night on our budget. I am happy with the knowledge that many of these drinks are in my future.


We also wanted a nibble and Hoo Ha serves sharing plates in the evening. I think this is a great idea, not just because I don’t like drinking on an empty stomach, but because it’s a great way to offer food without worrying about chefs and the full dining experience for now. They do however offer a breakfast and lunch that looks divine (check out their Facebook page on the link at the top), but that can be a post for another day.


There was a meats board (errr, not for us thanks), a cheese board (3 cheeses for $20!!!) and a bread and dips board for $10. We decided on the dips, which were hummus and babaganouj with warm olives, pickles and Turkish bread. It was a great appetiser for two people (we were going on to eat dinner elsewhere) and we both enjoyed it. I don’t normally like babaganouj but this was nice and simple.

We sat in seats from an old church- upright individual seats with room to kneel facing them. They were surprisingly comfy and made for lots of good elbow leaning. All I needed was a glass or port to swirl.

The rest of the decor is like a great living room (perhaps from a Teneriffe warehouse apartment?): brown leather couches and big wooden tables with dining chairs. I liked the set up because rather than uncomfortable places to perch, the feeling was “Come in and SIT and FACE your friends and RELAX”. A mix of REM and Radiohead was on the speaker system but you could hear your neighbour with ease. The two guys behind the bar were relaxed and friendly and didn’t seem intimidated by my intense cocktail-making watching, which I do without realising it and am sorry. It was a quiet night, but the photo makes it look quieter. More people were sitting around the edges of the room.

Ben’s comment really sums up the vibe: “I feel like this is a place where people come to enjoy themselves and have a chat and laugh without being obnoxious dicks”. I hope so!


Now that Pear Cafe and Bar is not open as much in the evenings, I see Ben and I having many a sit, sip and sup here over summer.
Hoo Ha Bar on Urbanspoon

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So I first went to Kobblers last year before it was named and sometimes simply referred to as Scotty’s (the owner).

Kobblers is nestled on the corner of Simpsons Road and Morgan Terrace in Bardon. Unless you live right near there, you probably wouldn’t know it existed. I would never have known if it wasn’t for my sister. I love Bardon for its tall trees and surprisingly old pockets and that’s why there’s curb appeal for Kobblers- the building and adjacent shops (a thift shop and an architecture firm) are old charming buildings.


Sitting on granny pillows in an old shop window, we watched tiny red-chested birds wheel about and perch in the verandah rafters and a lady and her four kids came in to buy ice cream. There’s also a drinks fridge with a curious combination of energy drinks and old-fashioned soft drink. But that’s Kobblers all over. Nothing matches and that’s why it’s interesting.

Since January, Kobblers has expanded its seating area and now is a Food Connect pick up point. There is a bit of food sold here but I think people really come for the drinks. Like coffee.

I really, really like their coffee. I ordered an iced latte and Ben a hot. Both on soy. Considering Brisbane has started heating up for the summer, I think I ordered well. I love the fruitiness of their beans. They may have changed, but I believe they use Blackstar beans.

Ben was not as impressed because they added sugar to his latte. I was asked when ordering if I wanted sugar in the coffee (I thought he just meant my iced latte) and I said no. Ben got it anyway and was pretty ticked off about it (although he’s enjoyed coffee here in the past). Either that or Kobblers stocks the sweetest beans we’ve ever tried. We thought this was a bit odd as we were still given spoons and the table had sugar. Nonetheless, my ice latte was really good and I know Ben would go back because we’ve had great coffee here in the past.

The hours and days can change a bit because it’s a small operation. I recommend following their Facebook page (link above) for updates.


I love the ramshackle wholesomeness of Kobbler and, despite sugar, think they serve a darn good coffee.


Kobblers Cafe on Urbanspoon

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