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. .

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!

Tin Can Bay

Taking a break this week from the NZ blogs to write about Tin Can Bay. After we returned from NZ, we undertook the short 2 1/2 hour drive from Brisbane to spend a few days relaxing at Tin Can Bay. Our choice for accommodation here was at Dolphin Waters Motel, on the Esplanade. Very friendly motel managers, big roomy apartments including kitchen and laundry facilities. All in all good value for the price.

Upstairs, we had a wonderful peaceful view across the Esplanade. The generous balcony was plenty roomy enough for us, also making a fantastic temporary outdoor office for keeping up with work commitments. Sunrise was definitely worth being up and about for. Filtered golden hues of sun rays dancing across the water, providing a wonderfully colourful backdrop from the motel balcony.

The pool area is inviting with a natural rock look, your eyes are drawn across the mirrored pool to the esplanade beyond. Here, we were lucky to meet an amazing group travelling through who were also out to relax and enjoy.

Exploring our area, we stopped in for lunch at the Marina, where we discovered the laid back restaurant Marina Bar & Grill, with lovely, well presented food and an entertaining owner who fed the fish in the marina for us to show how many there were. Enjoying our view across the Marina, the stresses of life started to slip away. Usually all the water is clear, however recent rains had left a muddied look through the sea water. We still had a clear view of the many fish swimming happily around the marina area.

700 metres approximately from the Dolphin Waters Motel, Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Centre, not only a cafe which provides fulfilling meals but also the opportunity each morning to feed the wild dolphins. For a $5 entry fee you can learn about the dolphins plus receive a discount on your breakfast. Nice, hearty meals, certainly worth sitting here with a cuppa whilst watching the dolphin, listening to the volunteer talks and, participating in the feeding. On two days we made the trip down to hand feed the dolphins. What a wonderful soul cleansing experience. There is no other way to describe this without experiencing for yourself.

We found the locals to be friendly, relaxed and out of all the places we have visited, this little gem close to home really tugged the heart strings. We loved it. All the meals we had were fantastic, accommodation was great value and the dolphins, well that was on another level again.

After being invited by the lovely group we met at the pool, we joined them for dinner at the local bowls club, making use of the bowls club courtesy bus.

True honest meals at a very affordable price, with raffles and a couple of pokie machines, the evening was a lot of fun.

Close by are Rainbow Beach and Inskip point, where we took a drive one day for a look around. Beautiful vistas everywhere we stopped. Well worth a drive around.

We have yet to visit Fraser Island, but for anyone doing so, take particular care to read and understand all the warnings and advice given, particularly for 4WD vehicles heading over.

We fell in love with Tin Can Bay, mainly due to its fabulous relaxed feel. Most definitely heading back. Ill leave you with this chap, a pelican with attitude who frequents Barnacles Cafe. Happy to have his photo taken by his adoring fans, however everyone was warned not to get to close, he has been know to show his disapproval with a little more than a peck!

Darling Downs Zoo

A couple of hours drive from Brisbane will bring you to Darling Downs Zoo.  Scenery is ever changing on the drive.


Stop at some of the interesting little places along the way. We stopped at the quaint Me Ma store on the way, leaving us just a half hour short drive to the Zoo.

Family owned, this zoo is home to a diverse range of animals.  From Australian natives to big cats and giraffes.  Sure too be something here for everyone.   Friendly staff in the entrance shop, explain the zoo and the symbols showing animals you can feed, before sending you on your way with map in hand.Sleepy koalas peer out from their open enclosure.   Birds of all shapes sizes, some sporting a myriad of vivid colours, reside thoughout the zoo.

Nothing beats the pleasure, especially for the little visitors, of hand feeding animals.  Ostriches were more than happy to devour the food pellets offered.

Meerkats, and monkeys, can provide you with hours of entertainment.  Busy, on guard and curious, meerkats are a definite draw card.    One cannot help but smile as you loose yourself in the antics of these alert animals.

A number of monkey breeds are housed here.  Some dart around their enclosures with effortless ease, whilst their buddies, use their agile limbs to forage food or swing easily from rope to branch.Keeping an eye out fir the arrival f rod, this lionesswas quite content as she soaked up the sun.the tiger was a little shyer preferring to lurk in the greenery at the back of her enclosure.Llamas and zebras cohabitat in one enclosure.  Competing for those enticing pellets visitors offer for hand feeding, there is some pushing and shoving, as the heirachy is determined. All are happy to receive the feed, always on the lookout for the telltale white bucket dangled by patrons.

In between the giraffes, big cats monkeys, birds, crocodile, reptiles and meerkats, take a moment to soak in the pastel colours of the landscape canvas rolling off into the distance. It really is breathtaking. 

It’s an easy stroll around the animal enclosures, the furtherest being the giraffes up the back.

Informative talks are held at different times to give visitors the chance to interact with residents.  For an extra fee, you can take the opportunity to have a close up experience wth big cats or meerkats, to name just a couple.Brazilian Tapir proved popular with visitors.  Their long soft snouts, gratefully and politely accepted the feed offered.  A lot more gentle than the pushy zebras next door.

The zoo certainly makes a good day out destination from Brisbane.  Enjoy the drive and be sure to stop off here and to support the small businesses and townships on the route.  Take your time, it will be worth it!

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 & jalapeño 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!