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 & jalape├▒o 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!

Novotel Surfers Paradise – Hanlans Restaurant/Bar

Mini Breaks are a great way to give your mind and body a chance to take a breath before you launch back into the routine of life. This view of Surfers Paradise Main Beach area, could be all yours at Novotel Surfers Paradise.  As an Accor Plus member, the complimentary room for the year was still waiting to be utilised.  Hence a visit to Novotel Surfers Paradise.

Our view from the room, was mesmerising.  From here we could watch the activity on the streets below, check for whales passing out at sea, view the river and its boats, or simply chill out and enjoy the landscape canvas rolled out before us.   Sunset and Sunrise views, were nothing less than superb!

Day rolled into night, with outstanding orange hues as the sun dropped in behind the Western Ranges.  As the hunger pains set in, we visited the Novotel Restaurant, Hanlans.  Located on Level 1 of the complex, the expansive restaurant mainly operates as a buffet for both breakfast and dinner.   On the ground floor, Hanlans Bar is open through the day, with a breakfast and lunch mini menu to keep you going.Staff here are attentive.  Water is topped up throughout your meal, plates are cleared in a timely fashion and above all else, every staff member we came across, throughout the hotel, from reception, concierge through to bar, restaurant and cleaners, were professional yet friendly.  Its a rare venue to have all staff displaying good quality customer service.

From fresh seafood, to seafood salads and other salads or meats, through to a delectable dessert selection, along with many options in between, there is plenty to choose from.

Should you have the prilege of being an Accor Plus member, you will receive big discounts of your meals.  For two people with one membership, this results in a 50% meal discount, essentially one of you eats for free.

Rooms are comfortable, clean, with balconies plus the added bonus of being so close to a lot of options, where you will likely park the car and leave it there.  Shopping is below the hotel, or walk to the beach in 5 minutes.  Check out the Q1 tower for a birds eye view, barely 10 minutes walk or visit the many other attractions in the area.  

As night falls, life does not become quieter on the streets below. Patrons flock to the nightlife, bathing in the depth of colourful lights, twinkling around them from all angles.

A winter sunrise in Queensland is stunning.  Orange hues light up the fiery sky before fading through to the daylight blue.  Take a short walk to the beach and you may have the opportunity to see a surfer disappearing into the waves. 

Silhouettes outlined by. the rising sun provide not only fantastic photo opportunities, but also those moments where time stands still, momentarily.  Indulge yourself, take the walk and wonder at the colourful birth of a new day.

All the food we enjoyed at the Novotel was fresh, nicely presented, and enjoyable.  Below are some food images from our weekend stay.Caesar Salad with Chicken tenders at Hanlans Bar.

Love the presentation of the loose leaf tea.

Calamari & salad at Hanlans Bar.

Cheese plate at Hanlans Bar.Burger at Hanlans Bar.

Ice cream is made fresh on the premises.

I love this personal touch with what we think are staff handprints across the front window, making an interesting view from Hanlans Bar.   Sit down in the bar, enjoy a barista or bar drink whilst you watch the world go by.   There is always something happening in Surfers. This is a venue we will return to, look forward to seeing you there!


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 ­čĹŹ.  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 jalape├▒o 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.

South Burnett, South Queensland


Road tripping.  A fabulous way to explore both new and re-visited areas.   Recently we enjoyed a road trip to an area of Queensland I never before travelled to.   The beautiful South Burnett region in Southern  Queensland.   Blessed with two wine regions, the South Burnett and the Granite Belt, Southern Queensland is a fantastic area to visit and sample a large range of produce.


What better place to start than Taste, located in Kingaroy opposite the Woolworths shopping complex.  Spot the Taste sign out the front then head down the alley to a delightful little shop showcasing an overview of the produce in this area.  Cheeses, meats, olive oils and of course, the wine!   Just to name a few.   

After sampling the wine, select your choice of vino, and don’t forget the selection of cheeses to make your own mouthwatering cheese platter accompaniment.

Now if you’re short on time, this may be your only stop.  Should you however be here to enjoy the natural beauty offered by the South Burnett, then allow me tell you more!

How about a visit to Moffatdale Ridge Wines. A fabulous Tuscan style set up with an array of wines and liqueurs to keep most people’s interest.  


Step through the heavy wooden doors to an inviting, spacious cellar door.  Knowledgeable staff are more than happy to run you through the selection on offer.  Keep an eye out for the current year vintage…. You will understand what I mean once you visit ……


A large selection is up for tasting here.  You are most likely to find something to everyone’s liking.   If wine itself isn’t your thing, perhaps a few sips Turkish Delight liqueur will jumpstart your tastebuds!    Somewhat interesting is the Tuscan events held here.   I myself could definitely wile away some time on the generous balcony overlooking yet another of the areas fabulous views.   But, on this occasion, one must take one for the team so to speak, and continue on to the next venue.


And here it was, with rolling vistas for as far as the eye can see.  All just from visiting the friendly Crane Wines.   Yes you will leave the sealed road for the last kilometre or so, but trust me, it is well worth the drive.  Friendly personalised service, including being greeted and escorted to the cellar door by a very amiable dog, whose name I have forgotten.   

Quite an interesting little cellar door with plenty of interesting wares for you to browse through whilst clasping the wine tasting glass in hand.   Love the family, intimate feel, with the owners Bernie & Judy providing information, not just on their wines, but on the area as a whole.  Fantastic ambassadors with a passion for their region I feel.    Interesting note here, is this was the first winery to open its doors in the region.   

Stop here for a wile, drink in the pure beauty of natures canvas, from your chosen rustic table setting, whilst enjoying a wine or two with a platter.  An excellent way to unwind.  In fact if you find you are enjoying your time at Crane Wines, pick up a brochure and consider staying in one of their private, quiet little homes away from home.  

Again though time to move on.  Today it was heading back to the Dusty Hill Vineyard with the Irish pub onsite.   Obviously very popular, however the large area gives you plenty of choice in regards to sitting inside or out.   

Overlooking a pond fall of budding waterlillies, dotted with drifting ducks, geese and other wildlife, all ingredients for a very relaxing setting.    Our lunch today was interrupted by the loud honking of the geese below, who we could only assume were voicing their displeasure at an adjustment to feeding time.   To add to their concerns, the drake in front, appeared to be along for ride, hoping to score some of their feed.   

One goose took exception to his participation, trying vainly to chase him off.   The honking worked however, with a bartender arriving out the front clutching a bag of feed, which was distributed down by the pond.  Again this did not suit the geese who would have preferred instant food where they were.  Not keen on missing out though, the mismatched trio waddled their way after the bartender, demolishing the food he distributed.   Now the residents were placated, serenity was restored.

Order a Guiness at Prendergasts Irish Tavern, to go with your meal, or to simply enjoy.   Taste some of the Dusty Hill wine selection in the cellar door, also located within the complex.   Or, you may even choose coffee and cake, with a delectable selection of desserts and cakes on offer.

Hubby trialled this hearty bangers and mash meal, which went down a treat.   Ideal Guiness soaking food.

Our final stop today was the Clovely Estate Winery, where we were staying for the weekend.  How fabulous to have your own cellar door at the end of the lawn.  Check my previous Clovely Estate review for a glimpse of this wonderful venue.

Be sure to visit this friendly, inviting  and fabulously interesting area of Southern Queensland.   We are already planning to revisit!

Clovely Estate Bed & Breakfast

Have you ever dreamed of a cellar door within easy walking distance from your back door?  You can make this a reality without winning the lotto, your own piece of paradise for a couple of days.  Step out the backdoor of this Queenslander to duck down the end of the lawn for a quick wine tasting, or select a bottle to accompany dinner.

 Buildings date back to the dairy farm days, with this shed retaining its old farm charm on the outside, but restored inside to make a comfortable wine tasting setting.    

For reasonable cost, bring some friends and fill the house, which becomes yours entirely once the cellar door closes each day.   Breakfast supplies come with the house including bacon & eggs left in the fridge.   Walking into the house is like walking into a home.    You will need to bring lunch or dinner food, however all the main kitchen essentials are taken care of, with a barbecue on the verandah.

Keep in mind there is an Irish Pub/Restaurant a very short drive away so you may prefer to eat out rather than taking food to cook.   

Furnishings are to the era of this close to century old home.    Polished floors throughout, two full bathrooms, 4 double rooms, one with an additional single bed in the room, plus one separate single room, an extra toilet and a huge dining/ kitchen, through to lounge room make the home complete.   Laundry facilities are in a separate building located down the stairs.



Well worth the drive from Brisbane, keep this in mind as a place to visit for a weekend getaway.  Bring the family or some friends and drink in the peacefulness of this beautiful area.   Drink in the beauty of the sun setting over the vines, whilst you enjoy the peacefulness of this beautiful countryside.   Gaze upon and uninterrupted carpet of stars on a clear night, no city lights here to spoil the view!  

Make sure you check this place out!   We are already planning a trip back….