Gianni’s Kitchen – Newstead Brisbane


Buongiorno!  Time to visit Italy without leaving Brisbane.  Gianni’s Kitchen is a full restaurant, however, breakfast is in the deli area rather than the restaurant itself.   Here you can choose to sit outside underneath the huge umbrellas or, inside, surrounded by jars and bottles of Italian delicacies.  Various cured meats and cheeses, beckon you from their chillers, encased behind sparkling glass.


Friendly Italian staff added to the relaxed atmosphere.  Tea and coffee arrived, accompanied by thick pieces of tantalising biscotti.  Definitely a nice touch.    As customers started to arrive, many greeted staff in Italian, inciting excited chatter.

Here, there was no rush to push patrons through.  We were more than happy to catch up with our group over tea and coffee, and drink in the atmosphere.  Everywhere the eye wandered there was something else to look at.   To be fair, it would have been very easy to walk out with a bag of purchases including wine, cheese, fresh cakes, olive oils, the list is endless.   Restraint was most definitely a requirement today.   ( Although, obviously some of us didn’t have enough of that ..!)

 Plenty of choice on the breakfast menu, with our choices including Eggs with Sicilian sausage and the Box of Pan Brioche,, amongst others.  Adore the gorgeous little packets delivered go the table, holding your knife, fork and napkin.  Awesome👍

The Box of  Pan Brioche above, was my choice.  The brioche in the centre, was filled with honey spinach, topped with a poached egg.  Resting upon a bed of smoked salmon, avocado & ricotta mousse, this dish was a delight to eat.  The salmon, avocado & riccotta mousse paired beautifully with the spinach brioche.   A very tasty dish.

This was another venue which looked like the ideal place for a long lunch.  Arrivederci Giannis, see you soon!    In the meantime here’s a dish of the eggs and Sicilian sausage to tempt your tastebuds.


Stones On the Lakes – North Lakes

For a different twist on your dining experience, Hot Volanic stones, heated to 300 degrees, over 5 hours in a special oven, arrive in front of you, allowing you to cook your own meal at the table.

Quite a novel concept, and one which hubby and I really enjoyed.   

We had noticed this restaurant, located on a large  roundabout at Northlakes, on a number of occasions.   Today was the day to try their menu.  Open for dinner, as well as Sunday lunch, this relaxed, comfortable restaurant, with big solid dining settings, is definitely a unique experience.   Sunday lunch meals are half price too, an added bonus.

With a reasonable selection of wines, beers or spirits, as well as iced teas, or other cold or hot drinks, it wasn’t difficult to find the perfect accompaniment to your meal.

Both of us chose a fish meal today, hubby a seafood platter including prawns, scallops and salmon.  For me, the salmon.    Before long, you are presented with a smoking hot stone, accompanied by a selection of condiments on the side, chunky chips and a delightfully colourful salad.

A seperate plate for each of us, with our seafood / meat selection, was placed next to the hot stones.  We were both given a rundown on how to cook on this stone, and the expected length of time for our food to be ready to eat.

The sight and smell of this food as it sizzles away in front of you, tantalises the tastebuds, increasing the anticipation as to what delights lay ahead,

Extremely lucky really, that you do have the chips and salad to snack on whilst you play chef on your own hot stone.  Yes, that is the smoking heat rising in the photo above, not light affecting the photo.

Next time, we will test the cold stone desserts.   They sounded fabulous, but we just couldn’t fit it in on this visit.

With such a relaxed setting, fantastic friendly service, a view out across the massive roundabout, filled with greenery, the setting, food and atmosphere are all key ingredients to a wonderful Sunday afternoon, or an evening meal.   Definitely check this place out, there are a couple of Stones on the Lakes in the Brisbane area.  Maybe there is one near you!

The High Tea Party – Breast Cancer Awareness/Fundraiser

Last year our group attended the High Tea Party at the Hilton Hotel.  For 2015 we decided to try the VIP experience.  After all, the proceeds go towards beating breast cancer.    This years package, included a cap of  100 people in a our private room, instead of the huge crowd we were seated amongst last year.  To be fair,  this was the main reason we had decided to try the VIP  p.

Our beautifully presented table sporting bubbles, goodie bag packed with sponsor gifts and fine china settings, was eye catching.   This year was definitely looking like an upgrade on last year.   The added benefit of only a few tables in the room was a bonus.

Upon our arrival, we set about checking out the stalls near the main ballroom area at Brisbanes Hilton Hotel.  We were quick to secure our bubbly, compliments of Jacobs Creek, before embarking on a stall exploration.   Plenty to see, with pamper stalls along the way.   

Wine in hand, we strolled through the area, looking a lot different by the time we emerged to head up to our VIP private room.  New eyebrows, eyelash extensions, painted nails, there was a seeming endless  list of free pampering.   The staff we spoke to in the different stalls were friendly, full of information, and happy to answer questions on their products.  Beauty product, accessories, jewellery, clothing, tea, juices, foods, the number of businesses represented here was mind bogling.

Tucked in the back corner of one room, we came across a natural vodka tasting.  The printed sample box on display touted this vodka as being for the “intelligent drinker”.  How did they know?. 😄.    Since this was obviously meant for us, we soon found ourselves seated around a tasting table.  Here we were introduced to the delights of some wonderful vodka varieties.  Our presenter gave us a very informative run down on the history of their vodka.

As the stall area started to fill up, we chose to head up for our VIP sitting, now relaxed, happy and feeling a little glammed up.  

We were directed through to our private areas to await the arrival of our high tea. 

Tea was delivered by the wait staff, along with the tiered food plates, proudly displaying delectable delights.  Our group enjoyed the high tea sitting, although a number of us were disappointed not to be part of the fashion parade we had witnessed in the grand ballroom at the normal sitting last year.  Here, beautiful, brave cancer sufferers, parade the catwalk, showing off some fabulous garments.  To us the heart wrenching fashion parade, brought home the reason for this high tea. Perhaps there was something we weren’t made aware of, however without the parade, there was really not a lot else which gave this day a special meaning.   The VIP package, did feel like a fabulous day  of pampering and catching up with the girls, but just lacked that special meaning.   

Something to keep in mind if you are trying to decide which package to try.  All in all though, this is a fantastic  day out, for a worthwhile cause.  Treat yourself sometime, and know you have participated in helping to raise funds to fight breast cancer.   The high tea party Australia  is on in your capital city, at some time every year.  Keep any eye out for the ticket sales.

Eagles Concert – The history of the Eagles, Brisbane 2015 Tour

Music, bared back without the drama, showmanship  or fanfare, this is the presentation for an Eagles concert.   Our second Eagles concert, certainly not disappointing and definitely enjoyed by all.  Along with Roger Waters & Pink Floyd,  the Eagles are the only other band we have seen who play a full 3 hour concert, including an interval, no room for support acts here!

We have attended many concerts, across a broad range of genre.   An Eagles concert cannot be compared to other musicians.  Their concerts are about the music.

Casually dressed, and looking like they have just strolled in off the street, Timothy B still sporting his trademark hair, (albeit a little greyer now and complete with goatee), the Eagles arrived to wow their fans.   This band is tight, having played together for so long.  Since 1971, when the band started, through to today, their music is iconic across five decades.   Even though they did split for a while, their music has never lost popularity.

A request from the Eagles, was that smartphones be off and no videos recorded.   Never before have I witnessed a packed Entertainment Centre where the crowd has so much respect for the band, they have complied.  

Our seats gave us an overview of most of the seating areas.   To witness a crowd this large sitting, and simply drinking in the music proved the popularity of this band.   Apart from the odd heckler in between songs, the crowd maintained a silence, drinking in every aspect of the music and atmosphere, until breaking out in ear shattering applause at the end or beginning of each song.  Respect.  The Eagles asked for that, and they were given it, in bucket loads.

People stayed in their seats, not standing and blocking others behind then, but sitting which ensured everyone had the opportunity to soak up every note of the music performance.   There were a lot of people singing along in parts, but not loud enough to be heard over the sound of the band.   If you had gone home and put on an Eagles DVD, you wouldn’t know the difference between that and the live show most of the time.

The narration by the band, of their history, was delivered in short bouts between songs, and interjected with numerous quips.   

Guitars were changed at the end of songs, with a multitude of different guitars, and the banjo, used in the performance.   Not only were they used, these instruments were brought to life by some very talented musicians.

Seated and starting with the slower sets, they moved onto standing up as the first half progressed.    Some of the best, most well known songs were saved for the encores.   Clever lighting displays also came into play as the intensity of the music increased.

In answer to the Eagles own question, they first asked in 1979, “who is gonna make it, we’ll find out, in the long run….”    There’s no doubt about that one, it’s the Eagles.

Boonah Bowls Club – Sunday Buffet Breakfast

Another gorgeous day dawned in Queensland, with an early start for a car club run out to Boonah.     Morphing from urban into rural, whilst you cruise the roads between, the constant canvas of scenery unfolding around you, leaves you with a wonderful visual experience.

Our destination, the Boonah Bowls Club, to partake of their $13 Sunday Buffet Breakfast. Most definitely worth the drive.   The hardworking individuals at this bowls club, have a wonderfully, fresh, varietal and extremely reasonably priced buffet.

There are three buffet service areas.  Now to say we were impressed with variety, doesn’t really do this set up justice.   Hot & cold buffet including the usual breakfast offerings with the addition of bubble & squeak, lambs fry & bacon, savoury mince, plain or gravy sausages, and the list goes on.  In fact we enjoyed the food so much, one forgot to take photos!

From those working in the kitchen to the staff keeping food fresh, topped up and the wonderful lady on the door and clearing tables, their team work together very well.

All the food was farm fresh, the large fruit salad had been individually cut up by hand, not poured out of a tin and was simply delightful.

Plenty of room around the tables, with a view of the distant hills and pasture, everything here was neat, clean and well set up.    Obviously popular in this area too, with a constant stream of customers through the door.

Should you reside in Brisbane, Ipswich or anywhere in the South East QLD corner, set aside a Sunday to take a drive through to Boonah.   At $13 per head, you would be hard pressed to find a better value breakfast.   Re ver to take cash too, no eftpos here.

  Well done to everyone involved in this venture.   Keep up the great work.👍😄

Blackbird – Brisbane

Find the Blackbird entrance behind the Pig N Whistle in the Riverside complex, follow the sweeping staircase to the top, and you will be greeted by a professional staff member, who will seat you at your allocated table. Should you find yourself near the window, the fabulous view above, will be the perfect accompaniment to your delightful experience ahead.

Movie buffs can be forgiven for feeling something about this place feels familiar. Oozing opulence, the restaurant is themed upon the 1920’s prohibition era. A rug underneath the table on the elevated platform, was used on the set of The Great Gadsby, Beautifully draped golden lighting , hovers majestically over the same table. Heavily patterned gold wallpaper, sporting dark blue birds, intertwined with vines, brings walls and pillars within the room, to life.

The service we received was superb. Definitely fitting the whole atmosphere of the restaurant. Everything ordered arrived without undue delay. With an extensive wine list to choose from, the choice and range contained within, is most impressive.

A selection of tantalising mocktails are available for the non-drinker. The Piker, with raspberry purée , vanilla and apple, was a popular choice at our table.

Free range pork, accompanied with baked pumpkin, orange ginger & witlof marmalade, pictured below, was a delightful dish.

Kangaroo was my choice for this meal. The presentation here, definitely activated the taste buds. Pepperberry encrusted, the kangaroo married beautifully with a beetroot tarte tatin, caramelised cauliflower and riberries. The tastebuds were definitely not disappointed when I tasted this dish. Superb.

Some of the other dishes enjoyed were the shellfish platter, featuring the freshest seafood, a Hanger steak and the market fish. The presentation and taste of the meals was fabulous.

Dessert time arrived, with a couple of guests in our group, choosing to finish with a sweet. Sometimes, a dessert with satisfy the sweet tooth, and provide a perfect ending to the meal. The desserts did just that, winding, up a very enjoyable overall experience. The one below, was a completely different take on an old favourite, the banana split.

We look forward to revisiting and taking some time to enjoy the bar areas overlooking the Brisbane river. Definitely something to look forward to!