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!

Cryptic Artt -Rice Cooking Event

We enjoy going anywhere and experiencing what life has to offer. Hence, upon receiving an invitation to attend a rice cooking event, to aid a good friend with their art project, we were happy to accept. I will note here too, we weren’t invited for me to take photos or write, this was simply something I chose to do as the photo opportunities presented on this day were, I felt, really cool, and different.

The idea behind the event, was to complete a uni project studying “relationship”, “human interaction” and the idea of “sharing within a multicultural environment”.

After rounding up a number of friends and their families, Jodesa from Cryptic Artt, had everything set up with cooking equipment and food preparation, ready to go.Watching the process, participating as well as interaction, really was a lot of fun. The rice dishes included some delicious recipes from China, Korea, Carribean, and the Philippines.

Those couple of hours spent, chatting, tasting new dishes and ingredients, plus learning new processes, really was quite enjoyable and I would be interested to see the results of this event.

Everyone was more than happy to offer information on the types of food and ingredients. Me, well I came away that day with a bit more knowledge than I had prior to the event. That to me, makes it worthwhile. Learning new things not only expands the mind, you open doors to other things you may have never considered before.This Korean rice dish above, sported a symphony of colours and textures, added to which it was superb! What was the key behaviour everyone took away from this? I believe it would be the completely relaxed, non judgemental and friendly attitude of everyone involved, no matter what background or culture. A reminder that you do not have to step too far from your comfort zone to be surprised by what is out there.

For something quite different, and being a person who believes artists should be supported in their endeavours, not only was this a pleasant afternoon, but to have the pleasure of tasting and devouring the end results- unbeatable!

Check out @cryptic_artt on instagram, Jodesa’s ideas are offer an interesting look at how she views the world. Love how everyone’s mind has that different perspective!

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!

Anzac Day 25 April

On the eve of Anzac Day 2018, the setting sun provided a fitting commemorative backdrop to the day which was next to dawn.Pink skies morphed into fiery orange. A sunset befitting to the memory of so many lives lost.

This year, our choice was to attend the Pinnaroo Service, held amongst the War Graves at dawn, A heart wrenching location at the best of times.

To see so many gathered to keep the memories of those incredible souls alive, including many from the younger generations, is heartwarming.

Pink tinged the grey clouds as the sun rose over the cemetery. Tall palms standing proudly in their specific spots, set off by the carpet of neatly mowed lawns surrounding the graves. Wafts of rosemary scent drift through the air.

Medals are worn on the left if you’ve served, on the right if wearing on behalf of your family family or others who served.

The speeches, the Ode & the wreath laying, are the foundation for the haunting bugle, breaking the silence with the eerie sounds of The Last Post, playing either side of the minutes silence.

As the tears slide down, the National anthems of New Zealand and Australia are played, sending a massive wave of pride and patriotism across the assembled crowd.

All over Australia, New Zealand and in many parts of the world, commemorative services and parades take place. It is a time for the generations of the future to honour and remember those who made sacrifices for our freedom, and those who continue to bear the burden of wounds from the far too many wars our troops and support crews, have fought.

The Ode of Remembrance – Laurence Binyon (Extract from his poem For The Fallen)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Lest we forget❤️

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….

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.

The Bromley Room – West End Village

This weekend the opportunity arose to spend time at an @ozshotmag and @visitbrisbane event. 3 areas were on offer to the group for photo opportunities. Not open to the public, the areas are available for functions or dinners.

Situated in the old Peters Ice Cream Factory, the Bromley room is a temporary display which will end in a few short months. Cafes and restaurants abound in West End, Some quirky some themed, but whatever your taste West End has something for you, check around each corner and down the lane way, you ever know what you will find.

After wandering through the area on this fabulous Brisbane Saturday, it was time to enter the cool airconditioned building. The interesting eclectic collection of sculptures, paintings blended with the graffiti art, plants and unexpected pieces strategically placed throughout the rambling warehouse. Everywhere there was something to see. This collection has been put together by the husband and wife Bromley team, who have ensured history has been preserved with pieces which relate back to the Peters Ice Cream Factory days. David Bromley used to work for Peters in those days, instrumental in adding colour to the factory trucks.

Every direction you look something different catches your eye. There are paintings so large you feel like you are part of the scenery and wait for the artwork to spring to life.Standing in front of this piece, you are drawn to the other side of the road, and feel obliged to check for traffic at these lights.So many forms and uses of different types of materials here. There are ships, planes, trains and everything in between. One can only be mesmerised by the amount of thought and time that has gone into everything here.

After roaming around the expansive area downstairs, it was time to venture up the steep stairs to check out the apartment and rooftop areas. Well worth the effort!

Look everywhere as everything is different. Faces peer out from all directions, some shy some bold. Colours change from solid to broken, bright to subdued. The back wall on the apartment strikes you as soon as you walk in.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend this venue, then take it. Otherwise, check out the Bromley art pieces sometime.

Thanks go to the crew at Ozshot Mag & Visit Brisbane who made this possible as well as to the artists who contributed to this awesome display.

More photos are posted on the Dine Live Travel facebook page. Enjoy!

Mecure Clear Mountain Resort

Imagine if you may, waking up to the rolling vistas from you your own room at the Mecure Clear Mountain Resort. With a location so close to Brisbane’s northside, yet you feel a complete world away, this really is a wonderful place to escape to.

We first visited last year and could not wait to book another weekend escape. When the opportunity arose, we booked in that precious two night escape and looked forward to February when it would finally arrive. Which before long, it did. Time to chillout and relax.

So close to Brisbane, its an easy drive up the mountain to our weekend break.Excitingly enough we were lucky to be staying in one of the Lodge Suites, this is where being an accor plus member and booking those special member only deals, is handy as well as fulfilling . Check out the size of the beautiful twin head rain shower. Matching this was a roomy bathroom with twin handbasins and a free standing bath.Light brightens the room through the skylights, everything in here was beautifully clean with plenty of amenities available.

Space and roominess give you a wonderful relaxed feeling. Nothing to do here, just breathe, chill and relax.

There are a number of things to do on site. Stephanie’s provide an array of spa treatment, or enjoy the pool,tennis court and gym provided. Add to this the wonderful on site main restaurant, Lakeview. You can wile a day away here if you like, partake of the extensive buffet breakfast, whilst drinking in the view and enjoying the company of the local wildlife, then stay on for lunch, nibbles or drinks.Rain or shine, the locals will show up hoping for some soft tasty meat morsels. How heartwarming as well as a wonderful down to earth experience to interact with wildlife. Popping up anywhere, so dont be surprised if you pass a kookaburra sitting quietly on the railing. They wont move, just sit quietly and observe as you go past,or make their day and stop for a quick chat. Even better, offer some of their favourite soft meat to become their friend. Don’t worry they wont bite, just take the offerings from your fingers.

When you’re weary and hungry, enjoy a bite,there so much choice at the Lakeview or at the adult only restaurant Mandys on the Mountain.

If you cant stay, just drop by for a drink or meal. The staff here are simply awesome. No matter what area they work in, everyone we interacted with was friendly, helpful and best of all, some of the staff remembered us from our last visit. Now thats personal service! Highly recommend visiting this venue,no matter what the weather or reason. .

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!