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Brisbane may be Australia’s third-biggest city but it doesn’t settle for bronze when it comes to quality food. A multicultural fresh food market, modern Greek, a retro-cool bar and fine-dining on the water - welcome to Brisbane's new foodie experiences. Here are eight reasons to eat your way around the Queensland city:
1. Global Food Market
What started 15 years ago as a way to support local producers has become one of Brisbane’s most popular ‘melting pots’ of fresh ingredients to make local and international favourites. Dean Khieu, whose father immigrated from Cambodia and started the market, says that he wanted to support small, local farmers. Since then, it’s ballooned into something much more.
“We sell all the types of fresh foods you find at supermarkets but we also have a lot of stuff you don’t see as much, like Asian greens and we also have the food store section, which sells a lot of ethnic foods like Thai, Vietnamese, Laos, Malaysian, Indian and African,” he says.
Many stallholders are migrants, Mr Khieu says, which allows them to work in the same type of business they did back home.
This new eatery brings modern Greek to Brisbane but in traditional Greek style, it’s designed to be shared. Highlight dishes include the fried Saganaki cheese with honey and oregano, and crispy chips, dusted with seaweed salt.
There’s abundant seafood on the menu and eight choices of Uuzo to wash it down with, bringing you back to the coast of Santorini.
3. King Street Bakery
There’s nothing better than the aroma of freshly baked bread and this artisan bakery does just that. It’s staffed by internationally-trained bakers who make a small but moorish menu that features signature tarts, pastries and classics like pain au chocolat.
You can also learn how to make your own bread with the bakery’s roster of cooking classes and eat-in at the bakery cafe, which features breakfasts and sandwiches made with their own fresh dough.
4. Mr Percival’s
With cool shades of mint green and coral, this retro-but-modern bar showcases just how much Brisbane’s food scene has evolved in recent years. Beyond the drinks - they specialise in spritzes of all flavours - is the menu, which features prawns, Moreton Bay bugs, oysters and calamari prepared simply. Other Italian classics include crispy pizza, light dishes and charcuterie boards featuring cured meats and classic Italian cheeses.
5. ARC Dining and Wine Bar
This is the place to take your tastebuds for an adventure. Located right on the banks of the Brisbane River, this fine-dining establishment is led by head chef Alanna Sapwell and sommelier Ian Trinkle. This restaurant focuses on fresh, locally sourced produce, which means its menu changes regularly. The menu is tightly edited but always has something intriguing, such as the raw cobia with thinly sliced daikon and tart finger lime, or the mushroom pasta with garden gremolata.
This is fine-dining without any pretension, so the atmosphere is relaxed. A view of the meandering Brisbane river from nearly any seat doesn’t hurt either.
Brisbane’s craft brewery scene is one of Australia’s fastest-growing, with 17 of 49 openings in 2017 happening in the Queensland capital. Felons - named after four actual falcons were are believed to be the first Europeans to discover the Brisbane River - opened in 2018.
Even though Felons is a brewery - and a big one, at 1000 square metres - it’s the woodfired pizzas that attract just as many people as the beer. There’s the classic Margherita, Rustica (mushrooms, pancetta and rosemary) but it’s hard to say no to a quadruple cheese, featuring mozzarella, parmesan, smoked cheese and gorgonzola.
Head south of the CBD to the suburb of Sunnybank and by greeted by a mecca of bustling crowds, bowls of noodle soup and char siu hanging from shop windows. The lunch rush at this suburban Chinatown is a delight for anyone craving the casual eateries of Asia.
After filling to the brim on a range of cuisines from Malaysia to Korea, there’s no shortage of grocers and speciality stores to meander through for a sweet hit or future snacking.
The area spills across a number of streets and walkways but converges on the corners of Mains Road and McCullough Street in Sunnybank. For those in need of a GPS coordinate, punch in ‘Sunnybank Plaza’ as a first stop.
8. Three Blue Ducks
Despite its name, there’s no duck on this menu, but there is plenty of local, sustainably grown produce. The menu reflects the seasons, including plenty of seafood and fresh vegetables and the restaurant overall focuses on sustainability.
Chef and co-founder Darren Robertson says that buying from local farmers and running the kitchen sustainably is a priority, which sometimes results in inventive ways to reuse and recycle scraps. “A local cacao producer has agreed to take our citrus scraps and use them in his chocolate bars. We [also] take the spent Davidson plums from a local distiller and put [them] in our Christmas pudding, in jams, cocktails, all sorts of things,” he says.
The sustainability doesn’t stop there, and even gets guests involved; ground coffee beans are also repurposed and made into soap, which is available for purchase at the restaurant.