Blockhouse Coffee & Eats

Tucked away in the Northside suburb of Nundah is a really cool collection of specialty shops, which include the sleek, clean, Blockhouse Bar.Seating is a mix of tables, bar stools, indoor & outdoor settings, there’s plenty to choose from here. We dropped by early in the week for a brunch and were not disappointed.

If you’re seated inside, the big floor to ceilings windows add a feeling of spaciousness, beautifully blending the line between indoors and out.

The menu choice on this particular day was the Mothers Day brunch menu, which boasted some very interesting, mouthwatering meals.

We took our time to choose, after all, it’s not easy when the selection is so inviting, and different to the normal brekky / brunch choices.

Eventually though, after careful consideration, whilst sipping on refreshing wine and mimosa, the choice was made. I chose the gnocchi.

Certainly not disappointing, in any way, shape or form. This dish was simply delicious. Soft, melt in the mouth gnocchi, blended fabulously with the goat cheese, pumpkin and all ingredients. Not only a filling dish, this one was very tasty. Overall, very happy with my choice!

The other dish chosen today was an interesting chilli scrambled egg. The chilli was not overpowering, and the maple bacon, simply delicious! Oh yes I did have just a little taste, luckily!

As I mentioned there’s plenty of seating choices and we enjoyed the outdoor view, wiling away some time, watching the world pass by.

Stop by, spend some time and browse the interesting specialty shops, before you indulge in a bite to eat or refreshing beverage.

Keep this one in mind, it’s certainly worth a visit!

Sofitel Brisbane Central & Queensland Ballet Mothers Day Performance

Sofitel Brisbane Central hosted High Tea with a performance by Queensland Ballet pe professionals for Mothers Day 2018. I was one of the lucky mothers to be treated to this experience.

High tea was superb with a mouth watering selection of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. Table were set to impressively high standards, with crisp white linen and every little detail covered.

In the background beautiful music gently flowed across the tables of families spoiling their mums, daugthers and sons treating treating their mothers, as well as groups of friends.

The premium package gave us stage side seating with free flowing French Champagne. Ooh La lah!! Clever lighting added to the ambiance of the entire ballroom, with wonderful lavender hues flooding across the tables.

Even the lights above looked superb!. We were treated to a most spectacular performance from Queensland Ballet pre professional students.

Raw emotion was etched on the faces of these superb dancers as their fluid movements told a nurturing story, ending with true love.

The strength, agility and impressive expression of these highly talent dancers, drew you into feeling the emotion behind the performance. Choreography, direction and execution of this heart wrenching story was simply superb.To experience this, whilst sipping on French champagne and indulging in a painstakingly put together high tea was quite special. The high tea included a sense a humour from the chef…

We were also treated to a short heartwarming speech from the very special Li Cunxin. Author of the autobiography, depicting his life as he fought to rise from poverty. Number six of seven brothers, Li started from humble beginnings to progress and become a hugely talented director. To be a mere few metres from such a respected being, was humbling, to say the least.

There was a Q & A with the director and choreographer of todays performance. To be honest I think the audience was awestruck with the day and unable to ask questions, however the host had questions which were answered by Queensland Ballet. Wonderful to hear the young dancers explain that to reach their level takes hard work and commitment. Traits which humanity loses on occasions. And to the direction and choreographer, the emotion you put into this performance was incredible. For these students to portray this emotionally drawn performance was a huge credit to their respect of you, to say the very least,

Thank you to all involved in hosting this day, the hard work and effort was appreciated by all. Look forward to seeing these pre-professionals as they make their mark in ballet history.

And for the Sofitel, never do you disappoint. Drop by sometime, and enjoy the friendly ‘bonjour’ ! Merci !

FV By Peppers – Fortitude Valley Brisbane

Thank you to Travel Massive and FV By Peppers for an interesting, informative evening last week. To attend a meeting at this newly opened complex was a privilege to say the least.The view from the restaurant and bar located on level 6, was certainly stunning as the sun set. Huge, inviting lounges, invite you to rest your feet and enjoy the location. The bar and restaurant area has massive doors opening to this secluded location.

To give some background FV by Peppers is still under construction. In saying that, its only the third accomodation tower which is yet to be finished. Tower One & Two are open for business. Offering both hotel and apartment accommodation, FV by Peppers gives you plenty of choice. Oh yes and you can live here too! Short stay, long stay, corporate, everything is on offer.

Based on skyscraper architecture, New York style, the building is impressive, including the u shaped swimming pool which offers a breathtaking area to both swim and chill- and includes a swim up bar, looking towards Brisbane city.

We were incredibly lucky to be treated to a private tour. So many hidden surprises here, and I would have to say, we were impressed. In fact so much so, that already we have a few groups of people we know making plans to stay. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool.

Hotel rooms, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments, there’s plenty of choice. And when I say apartments, I’m talking full kitchens. These apartments are built to live in, not just stay.

The two bedroomed apartment we viewed, had a gorgeous view of the story bridge at night, as you entered the second bedroom. Muted colours throughout enhanced the beautiful lights outside.

Comfortable lounge setting, leads onto the enclosed glass balcony. Everything you need for a chilled out stay has been included.

There are some impressive extras here you can enjoy with a group of friends or family. For a mere $30, hire one of the four large, beautifully appointed spa rooms and enjoy 4 hours of fun and relaxation.

Relax in the bubbling spa, letting your stress disappear and muscles relax, whilst you either enjoy the city view or watch the TV. There’s plenty of comfortable seating and even your own private bar where staff will provide you with food and drinks (not included in the hire fee), during the course of your four hours.

Should you maybe wish to continue your fun, there is also the moonlight theatre for hire. Again you and your friends relax, enjoy, whilst staff tend to your tends using the private bar (not included in hire fee), contained within the theatre. Bean bags or comfortable lounges make for a sprawling good time!

Even the gym is impressive, roomy plenty of new equipment to keep everyone happy, a wonderful city view, and the cherry on top, will be a new yoga area due to open soon.

Mantra Group have done well to ensure not only do you have the comforts of home, but that extra added luxury at a very reasonable price. For those of us who are Accor Plus members, be sure to keep on checking on how the Mantra Group bid is progressing. To have the Peppers and Mantra complex’s added to Accor portfolio options will be quite the feather in their cap!

And, should you be looking for something special, keep these hire rooms in mind. They aren’t available unless you are staying on site, but what a wonderful treat this could be!

Finally, as with most venues, weekends are busier and it might be that bit harder to secure a private spa or the theatre, so if you are able to stay during the week, chances are you will have most opportunities open to you. Enjoy, we are looking forward to visiting again, perhaps we will even see you there!

Site Cafe – Banyo

A relaxing start to Sunday morning with SereniTea at Site Cafe Banyo. Located next to the Banyo Train Station, this cafe makes up for size with what it has to offer. Enjoy a meal, partake of cake and coffee, or if you cannot spare the time to visit yourself, Uber Eats will deliver to you.

With an interesting choice of meals, the dilemma of what to choose, was no easy task. Site’s menu descriptions have you starting to salivate whilst deciding on the choice. Eventually, after narrowing it down to 4, I chose the Site Fritters, adding salmon instead of bacon.

Now the photo is somewhat deceiving as these fritters were huge, and try as I might, the last one, just could not fit it in my packed belly. A mix of pumpkin, zucchini and corn, the fritters are a solid filler to start your day. My favourite part, was the labna on top. This really is a delightful velvety sauce, originating from Middle Eastern culture which paired extremely well with the fritters. Best part, there was plenty of it!

Spicy Chorizo surrounded the towering vegetable stack. Resting in a superb truffled hollandaise sauce, the stack was made up of crunchy croquette hash, bacon, egg and wilted spinach. I’m told the dish was delicious, maybe needing just a little more of the beautifully spicy chorizo, with the truffled sauce certainly helping the meal hit the right spot.

For those sporting a hearty appetite, the Breakfast Tapas might be the right choice for you. A full plate with cauliflower and Parmesan fritter, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, croquettes hash, the list goes on! There is a vegetable Tapas meal choice too, should you wish to go meatless.

Or perhaps you would like to try the Arabian Eggs? Cooked then presented in the same pan, this mix of baked eggs, bean and chorizo, haloumi , savoury mince with a side of Turkish bread, also makes for a belly full of food.

Whatever your choice to start the day, you will definitely find something on this menu to satisfy your hunger. Staff are friendly and helpful, willing to go just that little bit extra to enhance your overall experience.

Pull up one of those seats next to the large opening window, and wile away some time whilst you indulge in a meal or coffee. With the corner site, there is plenty to see. If you’re really wanting that sweet finish, choose from the cake cabinet, or, how about trying the sweet waffles. And on that light, sweet note, I shall leave you for now….

Silky Oak Tea Gardens ~ Kia Ora Qld

Driving along the Tin Can Bay Road, after leaving Gympie, you will see this sign. If you are an adventurous spirit, don’t pass by, stop in. Should you choose to drive in, you are going to blown away with what you find, the name really doesn’t give away what wonderful secrets lie within.

Firstly, yes tea and cake if you wish, or perhaps a craft beer? Or, if you really do have an adventurous spirit, why not visit for one of the famous pig on the spit nights, which are bound to be filled with music and and a fantastic party atmosphere of some sort.

Your hosts, Helen & Daryl, have built this incredibly diverse country hotel business, over the past twenty years. And yet, this place seems to be one of the best kept secrets in Queensland. Take some time to have a chat to Daryl & Helen, they are the secret behind the success of this business. Plus the stories and down to earth chatter will have you in stitches.

The area is huge, with tall shady trees and interesting gardens opening into a number of different areas. Plenty of seating, starting with the plastic chairs, tables, and umbrellas for extra shade. Follow through though, as you will not be expecting what you find at the end. I’m not going to give all the secrets away, you need to satisfy your curiosity with a visit. It will be worth it!

Every pocket hides a new surprise, the mish mash of ideas here, really works well, blending to morph into one of the most iconic and interesting places we have visited. So many photo opportunities here, but I showed huge restraint, only because you need to go yourself.

Try a pub meal, test that cold beer, savour tea and cake, purchase some lemonade fruit, or country preserves. Oh and we highly recommend the pig on the spit! Unfortunately though when you are enjoying yourself so much, you forget to take photos 🤗. Whatever you do here, one thing is certain the stress of life will be forgotten whilst you linger beneath the canopy of shade.

This best kept secret needs to be unveiled, be sure to include Silky Oak Tea Garden on your next exploration journey. We are already planning the next visit!

FourthChild Cafe Restaurant – Ipswich

Its been a while since we’ve enjoyed an early morning Sunday drive, culminating in an interesting new location. Our recent trip to FourthChild Cafe was certainly worth the visit to Ipswich.

With a small number of tables outside, the entry to the venue provides a feeling of room to spare, due to the massive roof void, plus a huge wall of wonderful graffiti to add some simply awesome splashes of colour.

Lovely wooden tables provided plenty of room for all. Staff here were friendly and professional, whilst willing to assist in anyway.

We perused the menu before coming to our choices. Hubbys choice today was to be the Savoury Mince

Interesting presentation, the mince resting under the two fried eggs. I’m told this dish was most enjoyable with the flavours throughout balancing the reasonably plain mince. In saying that, Hubby does harbour a preference for hot and spicy whilst I’m limited to mild. However this is only a personal preference and he still highly recommended this dish.

This awesome looking dish below was the truffled mushrooms with a side of chorizo. Now not only did this present well, there was nothing left on the plate after the delicious meal was consumed.

Opting for the Vege Stack, I was interested to see how the combination of flavours worked.

Zucchini, mushrooms and pumpkin topped with a superb haloumi cheese. All married together with chickpeas, sweet plato and a surprising pop of juicy warmth from the kasundi. One thing I enjoyed here, was the kasundi, a pickle or relish with Indian origins, was not overdone. To be honest, for me it was perfect. I was able to mix the relish through the breakfast and even out the spice. Overall, a most enjoyable meal.

Eggs Benedict is a popular breakfast menu choice and this one above certainly looked delicious!

Ok, so we now have a new sort of tradition when enjoying Sunday brekky, yes we finish with a dessert style breakfast. At Fourthchild, the menu presented to us, contained not only Red Velvet Pancakes, but also an interesting sounding mix of Peach Melba Creme Brûlée French toast. Now that makes the decision a little difficult so lets just go with both.

No explanation required here! Definitely able to taste the red velvet flavoured pancakes the crisp peppermint was a clever mix to the dish.

Now this, oh yes, most decadent of breakfasts, was quite simply outstanding. With a surprise crunch from the pieces of praline, piercing the softness of the brûlée and juicy peaches, we did declare this one the favourite.

We could see how this venue would be intriguing at any time of the day. The display of tempting cakes was enough to make you want to stop by, without the delights of the menu. Check them out, definitely worth a visit!

Childers Oasis Motel

One thing I love, is looking down that alleyway, just to see what you can find. To stumble across the intriguing Childers Oasis Motel for a Sunday breakfast, was quite a find.

Nestled behind the well known Palace Hotel on Childers Main Street, a whole new world opens . I had hoped to visit the backpackers memorial as this is a monument to an extremely sad part of Queensland’s history. Something that remains in everyone’s minds. Unfortunately our timing was out and this visit we were unable to pay our respects to the young life’s lost. The work that has gone into the permanency of remembering that tragic time is a big part of Childers. And to those who have done so, hats off, not an easy thing to do.

This view, caught my eye. After convincing hubby we should check this out, it was off down to explore. Firstly, there is a chandelier in the garden on the left. Such an eclectic mix of culture and time exist at the end of this laneway.

Every setting is different. So, choose your mood! We chose outside outside, quiet and a pleasant morning. The menu is a basic motel menu, but, we had no issue with that as that was all we were seeking,

Hubby loved his Chai latte. Apparently one of the best he has ever had.

Now this to me is a basic yet filling breakfast, Nothing was wrong here it was perfect. Staff, who we assumed as being the establishment owners were very friendly, helpful and made sure everything was to our taste.

There is a motel here, but we were staying elsewhere, however, if you are travelling North, dont miss stopping in Childers. This town is large part of Queensland history. Who knows what you will find down that alleyway.

Sky Lounge Rooftop Venue – Ibis Brisbane Airport

Exiting the lift into the Sky Lounge Rooftop Venue, the first thing that strikes you is the massive photo on the end wall depicting a bygone era.

Across the expansive room you can already see a stunning, uninterrupted view across Brisbane Airport and surrounds. Dine Live Travel was fortunate to be invited to a private function this week, hosted by Travel Massive and the Brisbane Airport Hotels Group.

Available for private hire, the spacious, comfortable and inviting area has its own impressive bar, which at night, reflected the airport lights in the big mirrors behind.

Glass and stainless blend seamlessly with the comfortable muted surroundings. Here inside, meets outside, leading on to that incredible view, where the sky is pierced regularly with planes arriving and leaving Brisbane Airport. If you’re a plane enthusiast, this will give you one of the best views in Brisbane. Even if you’re not, you cannot help but be impressed by the ever changing scene below as those long, metal, cigar shapes busily play out their orchestrated movements, leading to a symphony of precision.

Staff on site this evening were friendly, obliging and professional, ensuring everyone was looked after at all times. Finger food served was superb. An array of of food choices was constantly circled through the mingling patrons.We were also lucky enough to be given a tour of the onsite hotel rooms. Now keep in mind this venue is at the airport, you could have guests fly in for a function, stay the night and fly out the following morning if they were on a tight schedule. Having only opened in October, the rooms are fresh and clean.

This room above was in the Ibis. Plenty of room, quiet, comfortable, a large bathroom, and to top it off, a fabulous large window framing the Airport. In here, there was not even a whisper from those massive jet engines traversing the runway.

Next stop, the Pullman right next door, where we were treated to a tour of a couple of suites and standard room, as well as the executive lounge.The suite above is popular with business executives flying in for meetings. In the suite you have a large dining table with half a dozen chairs, meaning you can have a private meeting without having to hire a boardroom. The impressively large pod coffee machine would be a sure bet hit with those meeting attendees too!

Keep this venue in mind should you be looking to host a function on a rooftop in Brisbane. Or, for anyone stopping over briefly, these hotels are perfect should you not wish to go into the city or leave the airport. For those of us who are Accor Plus members, here are another couple of venues for utilising those membership advantages.

Thank you to Travel Massive and Brisbane Airport Hotels Group for giving us the opportunity to check out this venue.

Northshore Harbour

Gurgle, gurgle! Have you seen the lovely gurgle jugs for use and on sale here? Quite clever and a nice way to have water delivered to your table. We recently visited the venue located on the Brisbane river just past the new Eat Street Markets and Portside.

We do like this cafe location, with big wide windows and rolling lawn overlooking the River. Some outdoor dining and some indoor, overall plenty of space. The day we visited, there were a few big groups inside which made it a bit noisy with the echoing expanse of the building. Still however we do enjoy the venue overall.

Staff were friendly, attentive and everything ordered was delivered in a timely manner, certainly no issues there.

Today we were visiting for brunch.

Hubbys choice was a breakfast burger, nice he said but not as large a meal as he expected, mind you Hubby does like his big meals! Simple presentation, fresh well cooked food, and in his words, nice meal.

I enjoyed the breakfast stack, for me more than adequate in size, everything fresh and quite a filling meal overall.

Another small thing I enjoyed here, real tea. Not often you are served real tea, not just tea bags. With so much focus on coffee presentation, tea is still not a priority. As a non coffee drinker plus herbal tea being my first choice, I always notice the tea. Especially when you can have two or three cups from the one pot.

Stop by and check out this venue. There’s a lot to see here with the ferry stopping in and the activity of the river. Sit back, chill out and enjoy!

Aarth Cafe, Taigum – New Menu Reviewed

This week we were privileged to attend Aarth Cafe for an early introduction to some of the new menu changes. Starting with entree, choices on tonight’s test menu were a couple of new bread, calamari, Haloumi, soft shell crab and pork belly.

Lets fade into these entrees as we begin our food journey ….

My choices this evening I decided, needed to be foods which can be overcooked easily. Tonight I chose to start with the Grilled Haloumi Salad which sat atop a delightful mixed salad accompanied by an interesting mix of pomegranate & date jam. This jam lifted the Haloumi with a flavour burst which brought the taste buds to life. The thinner slices of haloumi were that little bit crisper compared to larger pieces and were for me, my preferred choice of size. Interestingly the cold carrots on the salad provided a good partner for the jam and haloumi. Will also add here the Endless Pinot Grigio paired beautifully with this dish.

Hubbys choice was the Soft Shell crab with mascarpone and a green apple verjuice salad. We were both tasting the dishes and I did try this soft shell crab was beautifully crispy and again married well with the salad. In fact the selling point here is Hubby ate all his salad, nothing left on the plate. Now as someone who avoids salad whenever he can, that has to be a good advertising point!

Onto the mains. Tonight’s choice included a burger, chicken schnitzel, salmon, duck, steak, lamb, pork belly and pork ribs. Plenty of choice here. For me, it was to be the confit duck leg and candied orange salad. For hubby, grilled lamb with garlic reduction and a poppadum topped with sumac yoghurt salad.

Presentation of the dishes was certainly eyecatching. The poppadum filled with salad not only looked good, it gave the lamb a boost. As Hubby pointed out, the lamb itself was plain, very tender, and paired exceptionally well with the salad. Again, this salad plate was cleared by Hubby. That’s saying something! I did try this dish and in my opinion, felt the lamb should be plain and not flavoured as the yoghurt salad definitely added the flavour, whilst the poppadum gave you your crunch. Here’s a closer look below at the two dishes.

The duck where do I start. These were very large duck legs, and knowing how duck can be easily dried out during cooking, it was with some trepidation, I sliced into the leg. Juices flowed and the meat simply fell off the boat. Never, have I enjoyed such a beautifully tender duck with the slight crispness around the edges making this a superb dish. The salad also held its own surprise with small candied orange pieces popping up at random. These crunchy citrus delights added to this gastronomical delight, were a fantastic additional choice. I paired this one with a French FB Pinot Noir. Not too bad a match for this dish either.

All credit to Sunny and his team, they did do a fantastic job not only with the running the evening, but also with designing this new menu. I did talk to Robin the chef at the end and he told me the duck is slow cooked, well however its done, keep it up as it most certainly works.

To finish tonight was one dessert, a Belgian Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Bean Icecream, chocolate fudge and whipped cream.

The brownie simply melted in the mouth, a soft chocolate delight. Icecream, big tick, loved it!

Talking with Sunny, his intention was for everyone to give an honest opinion or suggest any changes on the dishes. My husband suggested perhaps a jus or sauce drizzled over the lamb, again this I think depends on your taste.

Sunny and his staff are interesting to talk to and happy to explain or answer questions. The reason behind using the pomegranate was nice to hear, especially how common it was for Sunny growing up to have this fruit which is now not as accessible.

We agree that this menu has upped the ante. These are dishes which need to be going out to the table as soon as they are prepared. The pressure is going to be on the kitchen to uphold the standards and front of house to ensure everything is delivered to diners as soon as it is ready.

Drop in and try for yourself. New menu launches fully on December 6. Check it out and remember Choose YOUR Mood!