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!

Sake – Eagle Street Pier Brisbane (Subarashi!)

Time to sit back relax, enjoy this first class experience.  Lets take a flight!  How about a degustation experience combined with a sake flight.  To experience the Japanese menu with service that went above and beyond, whilst seated in a beautiful expansive restaurant overlooking Eagle Street Pier and Brisbane River, is not only heartwarming, but extremely memorable.

Sake anyone?   This incredible wall of sake kegs is awe inspiring.   Are there really this many sakes?  Well lets take a flight and trial some these babies.

Three sakes start on the right with a lighter sweeter style sake, then work your way down.  The ever attentive staff even suggest to you which sake goes with which meal or dish.    Take your time with this, it may look small doses, but sake packs a heafty punch.

Today was a special birthday treat.  To be fair I wasn’t entirely sure of the menu so left that choice to my birthday treat host.  What better way to experience the delights on offer, than with a set menu.   Now normally you need a few people at your table for any restaurant to offer you the opportunity of a set menu, this menu though, only two.  Chefs New Classic Set Menu that was today’s choice.  What a great way to trial a number of dishes on the menu in one go!  So relax, let those taste buds salivate as we take a flight through the menu.   

First up, Norri crisps.  Delightful crispy seaweed, pairing fantastically with that little soft touch of tuna and seasame on top.  Devine.

With fabulous, yet simplistic presentation, Hiramasa Kingfish drizzled with housemad lime & jalapeƱo kosho, followed.  The Kingfish had been replaced with another fish, as there not was enough stock on this particular day.  However, this dish was soft, delectable and enjoyable.

Now I hear a few of you, going hmm not much.  But, this to me is the epitome of a degustation style meal. A wonderful opportunity to experience flavours, understanding what you eat and quite simply savouring for enjoyment.   

Grass fed Beef tatakai.   Staff were right, this one matched perfectly with one of the Sakes!  With a little bit of crunch, mixed with a light salad type topping, this rare beef was an absolute treat.

Coated in an incredibly light batter and even lighter mayonnaise, thevpopcorn shrimp dish was superb to say the least.  Totally different to the previous dishes, it was an enlivening dish, which woke not only only your tastebuds, but your whole being with the simple flavours and the pop of shrimp.

And the dishes kept on coming.   Next up this fabulously presented Bass Grouper.  Yum!

House salad topped up the vege intake, providing a refreshingly different taste sensation to the previous fish and beef dishes.   Also an excellent cleanser before the Cape Grim short rib bo ssam which followed.Combing light, crispy and hot, this was an intriguing, very tasty treat!   The pickles confit garlic and ssam sauce paired wonderfully well with the short rib.

What better way to cleanse the palate before finishing with than with traditional miso soup.  Tofu, spring onion and wakame filled this delightful miso was a sensational cleanser.   

Only one dish left to go on this set menu, the Chefs choice of dessert.Oh WOW!   This colourful eye popping delight was a lovely surprise, added to which the combinations of desserts on the plate were enough to give you a sweet taste experience which finished off this meal beautifully.

I cannot recommend this venue highly enough.   Every now and then we do need to treat ourselves.   This $98 per person sensational taste journey was worth every cent.

Thank you Sake!  Kanpai!

Bribe Island – South East Queensland

Brisbane winter weather can be absolutely stunning.  Beautiful clear warm days without the summer humidity, lend themselves to exploring the great outdoors.

On this particular recent winter day, a visit to this interesting piece of beauty, seeped in history, was a most enjoyable experience. Here you could feel the light breeze, soak up the stunning scenery and explore the different areas dotted across the island. Since 1963, when the bridge was built to connect Bribie with the mainland, accessing the island became an easy drive for Brisbane and surrounding area residents.

We found a meandering little walkway. siting between some lucky residences and a bird sanctuary.   A couple of hides had been built along the way to enable you to spend sometime viewing the different bird species as they mingled near the waters edge.

At the end of the track lies a waterway giving local residents access to the bay.  Sun rays danced across the glistening blue water,, highlighting the moving reflections stretched across the mirroring water.

Explore the different areas across the island, there is plenty to see and do.  A number of  cafes and other venues, leave you plenty of choice to enjoy a relaxing bite to eat.

On this occasion, we stopped by the Blue Anchorage, situated near the jetty, for a pleasant lunch.

With a choice of inside, outside dining and table service, the venue was a lovely place to wile away some time,

Enjoy your visit to Bribie Island, its an easy drive from Brisbane.  In fact from Northside you will do this in well under an hour.  Always nice to visit on on a weekday as weekends can be busy out here, with everyone trying to enjoy a slice of heaven on earth.

Carseldine Roadhouse

An impromptu visit to the Carseldine Roadhouse recently, was in no way disappointing.  Part of the Caltex complex on Gympie Road, the final Brisbane service station stop on the main road out of the city heading north, 

Enjoy the Roadhouse restaurant atmosphere here, whilst you maintain expectancy to indulge in a good hearty meal.


Dropping in for breakfast, the simple all day menu still gave enough choice for us both to enjoy a meal.  Staff were friendly and efficient, with not too much of a wait before meals were delivered to the solid wooden table.  

Bursting with flavour, the Italian omelette was my choice today.  Certainly a bigger meal than expected and not one that would leave you hungry afterwards.   


Hubby’s choice was the Grill breakfast with an added extra or two.  The only problem he had was making his way to the end! 

All food was fresh and nicely cooked, without being overdone or tough.   It was a pleasant start to the day,  partaking of the good quality food at the Roadhouse.

Open 7 days with other meal choices available, and some specials available, stop in before you leave Brisbane, or just drop by if you’re in the area looking for a reasonably priced hearty meal.  We were told Thursdays have good specials šŸ‘.  We will have to check that out sometime.


And those large cups on the menu are exactly what they say!

Lakeview and Mandys on the Mountain Restaurants, Mecure Clear Mountain

Beautifully located on the side of Clear Mountain, with incredible vistas to the side and front, you will find the Mecure Clear Mountain Resort.   Two restaurants are onsite.  One being the general Lakeview restaurant boasting a wide wrap around verandah area giving you a choice of indoor or outdoor dining.

The second is the adults only dinner restaurant Mandy’s on the Moutain.  Menus are similar and simplistic, in a good way.  We enjoyed a lunch at Lakeview on a balmy weekend day, followed by an intimate dinner at Mandy’s, with a backdrop of wine, and nightcaps on the balcony overlooking the evertwinkling Brisbane & surounds lights.

This soft shell tempura crab lunch special, was incredibly soft, with the light tempura giving some crispness to the dish.  Presentation was superb.

Pairing well with the stuffed jalapeƱo dish and delightful platter, lunch was most enjoyable.


With lunch definitely not disappointing, we were left wondering what delights would be in store for this evenings meal at Mandy’s..  

We had a lovely conversation with new restaurant managerduring lunch.  Interesting  to see new staff learning the ropes.  Certainly no complaints from us regarding staff, everyone we came across was friendly and helpful.

Natural oysters displayed on a bed of salt with crisp lime slices,  provided that wonderful raw seafood flavour to the tastebuds.  They were also a perfect starter to our dinner at Mandy’s on the Mountain.Crispy duck was my dinner choice.  Never have I eaten such a delectably soft duck.  With a crunch on the outside, the inside meat simply fell apart and melted in the mouth.Hubby declared his bangers and mash to be superb.  Apparently a very enjoyable dish.Why not finish with a dessert?  This tiramisu with pistachio ice cream, finished off hubby’s meal with that taste of sweet, but not too sweet.  Again service here was superb.

There is no doubt we will be going back to either of these restaurants. To combine this wonderful food, with the atmosphere, views and service, why would we not return!  Look forward to our next visit.

Dragonfly Restaurant – Eden Gardens Carseldine

Situated on the busy corner intersection connecting Beams & Gympie Roads, lies the Eden Gardens. Browse the gardening, landscape and homewares or treat yourself to meal or drink break at the Dragonfly Restaurant.

Local wildlife enjoy the comfortable safe environment, which adds to your relaxing entertainment for the duration of your stay.

Today’s choice for lunch was two of the delectably described salads.   Once you have selected your meals and or drinks, head up to the counter for pay & order.     

The first meal delivered by a very pleasant staff member, was the Avocado Caesar which not only looked superb, but I’m told was most enjoyable.Choosing the Pork Belly salad I was not disappointed.  Juicy pork belly, married beautifully with the soft, slippery noodles and combination salad.   


A very enjoyable meal, nice fresh food and beautiful setting.  Certainly a lovely place to enjoy lunch.

With an intriguing selection of cakes and desserts as well as cold drinks and coffees, you are likely to find something nice here to treat yourself.   Enjoy!

Mecure Clear Mountain LodgeĀ 

Sometimes you need to relax, chillout, have some down time,  What better place than the stunning setting at Mecure Clear Mountain Lodge.   From the time you arrive to the time you reluctantly leave, this location embraces your being with a feeling of peace.  

Stunning vistas unfold in every direction.  The ceremony area frames a picturesque background, who wouldn’t want to tie the knot here.   To have such an incredible venue on the outskirts of Brisbane’s Northside, is a massive bonus in itself.  Couple this with the friendly, helpful staff and food to a high inner city quality, and you have an awesome combination.

Your own balcony, should you choose to take advantage of the onsite accomodations will most likely provide you with a very restful area to spend some time whilst watching the city of Brisbane and surrounds, going about their business.   Planes landing, taking off, cruise ships disappearing into the distance, and a city just doing what a city does.

Pastel hues gave way to the twinkling Brisbane lights as night fell on the area.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.  Maybe from your balcony, maybe from one of the restaurants on site.  Wth a choice of the spacious Lakeview or the more intimate adults only, Mandy’s on the Mountain, you are sure to find something to suit your taste.   To do these restaurants justice, a separate review will follow.  Keep an eye out for it.

On site gardens supply the chefs with fresh produce in the creation of their meals.  Even a small vineyard, supplies grapes which find their way from vineyard to plate.

To give you a taste of what is yet to come, lets tantiilise your tastebuds with this platter for two. Superb!After eating your and drinking your fill, take the time to linger on the deck with a nightcap and drink in the twinkling atmosphere laid out before you.  Eventually you will have to tear yourself away to head back to your  comfortable room, or home, whichever the case may be.  Should you be lucky enough to have decided to stay, see if you can rise in time to watch the sun dawn on a new day.   Our hope is that upon reading this review, you will check this venue out.  Perhaps a wedding venue is what you are after, maybe just somewhere for a relaxing meal, or perhaps you will visit here to enjoy the onsite spa facilities.   Whatever the reason, enjoy your visit.  Remember to take time to relax, its a feeling oozing around you here, which just shouldn’t be resisted.   If you take time to enjoy a restaurant balcony meal, watch out for the local bird life, they enjoy a meat treat, and may feel the need to remove their own meat from your plate if you linger in feeding them!  

One last word in closing, Relax!

Prive’249 – Degustation Menu

Tucked behind the Thyme2 Restaurant in the Sofitel Brisbane, is another fabulous restaurant. Quite the hidden little secret for fine dining.

Find the name of Prive’249 inscribed on the floor with light, and you are heading in the right direction. Once through the doors, you immediately notice the hush, particularly after the clatter of plates, cutlery and crescendo of voices you have just walked past. This is a gorgeous, evening, fine dining setting.

The rectangular glass encased, carpeted room, is lit with subdued lighting and candlelight which complement the coloured lights of Central Brisbane, clearly visible through the oversized city facing windows.

Upon entry you are greeted before being seated at your allocated table. On this occasion, we were next to the window facing the city, overseen by the clock tower, which rose above the roof tops around us.

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The glint of gold and silver cutlery hints at the gastronomic delights ahead. Tonight we chose the $115 6 course degustation menu. After enjoying the complimentary chefs gift which was a delightful salmon dish, the first course arrived. This creamy, velvety soup was presented without the chestnut soup base. However this was poured around the dressed pear, which sat proudly in the middle of the plate, once the dish was delivered to the table.

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The combination of pear and chestnut is superb. To start with, hubby was somewhat horrified when he thought his first course was a pear! You can imagine his relief when the chestnut soup base was poured around the dish.

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Second course was this warm pork belly, served with watermelon, pickled red onion and cashew butter. Beautiful presentation of this appetiser coupled with a fabulous taste, as the tender pork with popping candy gently exploded in the mouth, oh wow, an absolutely divine dish!

Next was the barramundi dish with a crunchy, crisp skin and yellow squash. Superb.

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Frozen in thyme, the palate cleanser pictured above. Again presentation left you feeling slightly guilty at having to dip your cutlery into this frozen topped dish. An exquisite little winner.

Wagyu beef fillet followed, a delightfully tender course, married perfectly with vegetables and a creamy mash. The chances now of fitting in a dessert are slim to middling, but sometimes you have to take one for the team. Trust me , You just do šŸ™‚ .

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Chocolate cake. Not just any chocolate cake but an elegant, chocolate cake, not sweet, presented with beautiful juicy berries. A totally devine finish to end this degustation menu.

I did opt to go with the wine matching for each course, which tonight was an excellent choice given the wines matched the dishes beautifully. Even the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc wine, which to be honest is one I avoid. I’m a straight Sauvignon Blanc fan, not that keen on the sweeter Semillon mix. But, who could resist a coaster like this….Bling!!!

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The service throughout was impeccable. Every dish and wine was explained, staff were happy to be discreet or interact, whatever happened to be your preference. It was with a full belly and somewhat heavy heart we had to leave at the end of the evening. Why the heavy heart? Well we are long time devotees of our favourite fine dining restaurant, Salt Grill. Sorry Luke, once this year we had a lunch at a place which came close, but on this occasion, we have found a fine dining restaurant which equals, and in parts, betters our favourite. Another note, the menu changes here every three or so months. Fantastic!

Anyone looking for a special , exclusive fine dining restaurant, I would highly recommend you try Prive’249. We will definitely be back, it might not be for awhile, but we shall return!

Breakfast Creek Hotel – Spanish Garden Restaurant

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Let’s back track slightly to the sights we saw on the trip to this family dinner. Most of the time, as you’re driving along, you notice some of the activities, happening in the other vehicles around you. Today, for some obscure reason, was a drive full of free entertainment.

A people mover blatantly driving down the road, not a number plate in sight. Didn’t seem to bother the driver! Many other amusing sights in nearby vehicles, but the best was definitely the young lady who jumped into her vehicle, reversed back on the car park, before driving forward straight into the back bumper of a police van. We figured that probably ruined her day!

Feeling well entertained and hungry, we arrived at Brekky Creek. Tonight was to be a small family dinner to celebrate an engagement. A little early, we ducked unto the the rum bar (Sub Station no 41), for a pre dinner drink. Seated near a wall of rum, from around the world, we enjoyed a quiet drink. Surrounded by huge stone and exposed brick walls, topped by huge windows, whilst seated on a high lounge or stools, you do feel a very small inside this huge castle style area.

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Time for dinner. A short walk back through the busy bar areas brought us back to the Spanish Garden Restaurant. Beef is a main part of the menu here, just not this one…

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Designed as a Spanish style Restaurant, the area inside is huge, a long main seating area with private alcoves and other areas scattered around. White washed walls, numerous arches, stone floors, with a big beef display unit, all help to enhance the Spanish experience.

Staff were pleasant, helpful and happy to interact. The only entree tonight was a nice cheese garlic bread for the table. Complimentary large, beautifully soft rolls, were delivered before the mains arrived. The arrival of the huge, nicely designed meals, presented a challenge to everyone.

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Char grilled steak with calamari, was my choice, accompanied by Idaho potato and coleslaw. This steak was thick, tender, partnering well with the side bowl of large calamari rings. A most enjoyable meal all round.

The first meal pictured was The Creek dish, including Moreton bay bug, scallops and steak. This I am told, was also a tasty meal, which hubby did come close to finishing. Closer than most of us!

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Even with a struggle to the finish line, there’s still that feeling of needing to finish with a sweet dish. The mocha choc chip cheesecake was a popular choice for our table, whilst I chose the berry meringue. Mine was certainly as delicious as it looks in the photo above. I have it on good authority, as well as the evidence of clean dessert plates, that the cheesecake was a winner.

A good reliable restaurant if you’re seeking the Spanish style or after big meals. Rum lovers will certainly enjoy a visit to the caverns of Sub Station no 21.

Powerhouse Brisbane

Met with a facade of brick, you can be forgiven for thinking this looks like a wall left standing from an abandoned factory, not an actual building.

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Yet, upon entry into this fascinating venue, you enter a whole new world. The combination of brick, concrete, steel, blended with deliberately designed graffiti, exudes an industrial grunge feel. Everywhere you look is another level, doorway, entrance or stairwell. The entrance leads you through to a huge balcony area on the other side with plenty of seating areas overlooking the Brisbane river.

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The choices are endless here, Bar Alto, restaurants, cafe, theatres, reception venues. We were attending a short course today, which I will cover separately, so this meant a quick bar snack and relaxing wine whilst watching the world go by. The bruschetta pictured above, was topped with roasted baby beetroot, ricotta and balsamic. Normally I am not a beetroot fan, however on this occasion, the bruschetta was tasty, without being overpowering and partnered well with a Marlborough Savignon Blanc.

An enjoyable and relaxing way to wile away the spare time was enjoyed by us on the balcony. Different groups were seated around, a couple of ladies enjoying a catch up over a bottle of wine, the young family encouraging children to expand their taste range, couples, groups. All were friendly, relaxing and enjoying the afternoon.

Like a big TV screen, the Brisbane river provided an ever changing program of shows. Jet skiers, City Cats, the Kookaburra Queen, planes arriving and departing Brisbane, pigeons as well as the odd albatross. Always something happening, with a backdrop of modern apartments and houses scattered about on the other side of the river.

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Three weddings were taking place in this venue alone on this one Saturday. The size of the place meant the wedding parties were swallowed after their respective ceremonies, into somewhere within the building.

On another section of the buildings outside wall, absailers learnt and tested their new skill. Possibilities here are endless!

I personally would return to try one of the restaurants on site. Although, I think I would probably have a preference for a cleaner lined building rather the grunge style, there is something rather fascinating about this place. Certainly is a nice area to catch up with friends or family. Worth checking it out.