Last year, we all went giddy with excitement over the opening of Alfred and Constance. It is still very much a favourite haunt in the Valley but there is one extra addition that has made it even better - a really awesome pizzeria next door. The trendy ones amongst you will have already heard a bit of hype about Alfredo's Pizzeria. It is owned by the same guy who owns Alfred & Constance (and for that matter, Limes Hotel
and Chester Street Bakery and Bar
) so we can expect for all the cool cats to be seen at Alfredo's too. And yes, the reality exceeded these expectations.
They like to keep it retro cool at Alfredo's Pizzeria. The place looks like an old Italian warehouse with neon signs, exposed brick walls, hanging factory lights, tomato cans as cutlery holders and for dramatic effect, there is a wall-sized picture of an old Italian man devouring a pizza. It's a bit in your face but it works. The music is a little loud, but it helps to fill the silence for those tables of hipsters who like to sit there and just look cool rather than socialise with each other.
There were six of us but two weren't really eating so three pizzas (plus several jugs of sangria) were more than enough for the table. There are eleven sexy pizzas to choose from and I can confidently say that we picked three of the best - Chuck Berry (tomato, oregano, mozzarella and basil), Pizza Formerly Known As Prince (proscuitto, tomato, oregano, mozzarella and rocket) and Wild Things (wild mushrooms, truffle tapenade, thyme and pecorino). They say that Australian pizzas tend to use too many toppings but I think any Italian nonna would be pretty pleased with the ones served at Alfredo's - carefully selected gourmet toppings with a crispy base that has been wood fired to perfection. My only regret is not ordering that extra garlic bread.
Finally, I am happy to report that Alfredo's also do take away. Say goodbye to dirty deep pan delivery pizzas forever (sorry Domino's…) and hello to fresh authentic wood fired pizzas delivered to your door. They deliver on a cute little red vespa too - who could resist? And what is more, they also deliver alcohol. Beer, wine, spirits, ice - you name it, as long as you order some food with your delivery (gotta keep it legal). Lazy nights at home have now been revolutionised.
39 Alfred Street, Fortitude Valley
Phone: 07 3251 6555
The valley is a dirty place. No one can deny that. For clean people like you and me, it takes a lot of effort (usually involving a lot of drinks) to muster up the energy to brave the dodgy crowds on Brunswick Street Mall on a busy Saturday night. In my opinion, there are only a few safe havens in the lively mall district. And it gives me great pleasure to present one of these newest venues - Elixir Rooftop Bar.
I know I know, this place isn't exactly new but you will have to forgive me for being overseas for most of this year. This cool little rooftop bar opened in May and there are still queues to get in during peak hour on Saturday nights. This is partly because it's the place to be seen right now, and also partly because the space is tiny - basically the picture above and below showcases the entire area. But in my opinion, it is worth the wait. Elixir is situated above X and Y Bar in an open space that was previously an unused rooftop. Now it looks as chic as ever, illuminated with fairy lights and surrounded with vertical hanging gardens. And the daybeds make it the ideal location for a drinks date (you know, the 'pre-first date' date?!). My personal favourite touch is the bar - King Midas would definitely approve of the lines of gold bunnies.
As for the menu, I think you will be satisfied with the boutique wines, local craft beers and hand crafted ciders on offer. I prefer the cocktails personally (= higher alcohol percentage for your dollar). The food menu is also not too bad if you need some nibbles to get you through the night (but that's weak, right?!). With summer fast approaching, I think we will be spending a lot of upcoming nights on this rooftop sipping cocktails and looking down at the plebs sprawled across Ann Street. Maybe not tonight though, it looks like the summer storm season will begin this afternoon. Keep your suits high and dry friends. Elixir Rooftop Bar
646 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley https://www.facebook.com/elixirrooftop
07 3363 5599
I once heard rumours about an amazing meatball joint on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that is famed for serving house-made succulent meatballs and scrumptious ice-cream sandwiches. It sounds like a pretty limited menu, but hey, anyone working in professional services will appreciate the notion of keeping to your own specialisation. Next year, I have plans to hit up this place up for myself on a planned trip to the Big Apple, but in the meantime, my meatball cravings can be satisfied by The Meatball Company
- a spanking new restaurant at The Fox
in South Brisbane.
I can see some of you rolling your eyes at the thought of The Fox
. Admittedly, this hotel has been through some serious history over the years including hosting many drunk student parties back in my golden years at university and more recently going under administration. But now it might be time to give The Fox a second chance. There has been a major renovation of the entire space with the final result being The Meatball Company downstairs, an art and design studio gallery on the middle floors (Fish Lane Studios
) and the eclectic new Dandys Rooftop
Bloody Warhol (right) - so painfully hip.
Enough with the background though. Let's get down to serious business with the food and drink. The first thing to order is a cocktail (obviously). But not just any cocktail - you must get the Bloody Warhol. As you can see, it is an Andy Warhol inspired Bloody Mary. It even tastes a lot better than your average Bloody Mary, or maybe I just like it more because it looks so painfully hip in a Campbells' soup can.
Next, it is time to choose your meatballs. You get three big balls per serve (which is funny because I thought balls came in pairs?!) so I would try to come to this place in a group in order to taste as many as possible. My favourites were the beef served in smokey tomato sauce, lamb garlic and rosemary with tomato and olive sauce, and pork and veal with chilli tomato and roast pepper sauce. Vegetarians - keep your hats on - you can order the green pea, arborio rice with mint and manchego meatballs along with other rabbit food options like the roast beetroot salad, and wild rice with pearl barley and quinoa.
Meatballs ... come at me!
Rabbit food for the vegos.
Strawberries and cream ice-cream sandwich <3
Make sure to leave room for dessert too. The ice-cream sandwiches are made of soft cookies holding together a generous filling of thick and creamy ice-cream. There are classic flavours to choose from such as chocolate hazelnut, coffee tiramisu, strawberries and cream and coconut and lime.
The verdict on The Meatball Company? Simply 'amaze-balls'. The Meatball Company
Open 12pm until late, 7 days a week
71-73 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane www.thefox.com.au/meatball-co
Photo credit (except for the Instagram): Eugene Went
Did anyone else begrudgingly return to their office jobs last week? Of course you did, and of course I don't blame you for wishing the holidays weren't over. But look on the bright side; there are so many great new bars and restaurants that have opened around town to keep your social calendar busy all week long, from Manic Monday to Thank God It's Friday.
As for our beloved Eagle Street precinct, my newest post on The Urban List
is a full wrap up of the hottest new 'it' venues and the long-established favourites of this classic stomping ground. I am very qualified to be your tour guide of this neighbourhood—trust me, I'm a lawyer.
Photo Source: The Urban List (http://www.theurbanlist.com/brisbane/a-list/eagle-street-edit)
Last year, the most popular corporate team bonding activity seemed to be cooking classes at Spring
. Unfortunately, I have never been much of a cook. But luckily, I am much more better suited at the new corporate team bonding activity that seems to be trending right now: cocktail making class. I had the pleasure of attending two cocktail making classes during the silly season, one of them being held at the ever popular Limes Hotel
Here is a little sneak recipe for those of you who might be entertaining guests at home. I love Pimms ... it's a perfect a drink for the summer season!
1. Add to a karaf:
- 180mL Pimms
- 60mL Gin (Limes used Hendrick’s Gin which is from Scotland and distilled and aged with cucumber)
- 60mL lemon juice
- 3 x strawberries finely sliced
- ¼ orange finely sliced
- 1 inch cucumber finely sliced
2. Stir through the ingredients and then add:
- a handful of mint (FYI the mint should be handpicked and twisted in your palm to release the flavour)
- 190mL ginger beer
- 120mL lemonade
- a dash of tonic water
3. Stir together and garnish with some extra mintEnough for around 6 pax (depending on how thirsty your friends are of course...)Limes Hotel and Roof Top Bar
142 Constance Street Fortitude Valley
For more information: www.limeshotel.com.au
Just another low key night at Limes, right?
If you are interested, check out my brief overview on the cocktail-making class from the highly regarded bartenders at The Laneway
Forget about your advent calendar, everyone on Eagle Street knows that it is all about your event calendar when it comes to the festive season. Did all of you behave yourself at the firm Christmas party? I hope so for your own career's sake, but then again, I also hope that there were a few scandals at the party to make headlines for the Monday morning gossip session. Just quietly, I am pretty chuffed with the list of invitations that I received for this month's festive social calendar. Here is a sneak preview of my busiest week in the silly season.
What could be better than the firm Christmas party? The practice group Christmas party, of course! This is a real opportunity for each practice group to showcase how generous the partners in their group are to their employees. The stingy partners will often insist on a low key activity for their group, like a weeknight BYO dinner or a Saturday picnic where everyone has to bring a plate of food. Thankfully, I belong in a practice group with partners who enjoy their fine wine and who are very generous when it comes to celebrations. We knocked off work early and jumped on board the a luxury charter vessel to enjoy four hours of boozing and cruising (in the most elegant possible way). The cruise was also an excellent tour of the prestige riverfront homes owned by various partners of the firm.
Every year, we invite the team of one of our major clients to a fancy wine tasting dinner. This year's dinner was held at the Hilton's Vintaged Bar and Grill.
And every year, it gets pretty loose. There is one paramount rule when you work in professional services: the client is king. This rule still applies in a social setting. If the client casually mentions that he really enjoyed one of the wines that we tasted, then we send over a case of that wine to his office the next day. If the client wants to see the sommelier slice a champagne bottle open with a sword, then we will immediately procure the sommelier to do exactly that. If the client wants to kick on in the Valley until 2am after dinner, then you know what the answer is. And if the client wants documents to be sent out first thing tomorrow morning, then you better get your hungover ass back to the office at 8am the next morning no matter what.Vintaged Bar and Grill
Address: Level 6 Hilton, 190 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane
Phone: 07 3231 3265
Photo Source: The Laneway (https://www.facebook.com/TheLanewayBris)
Let's skip over to the other side of the spectrum. Being in professional services also means that you can be a valuable referrer to other professional services firms. That is how I scored myself an invitation to a cocktail-making class at The Laneway
. If you haven't already heard, cocktail-making class is the new corporate team bonding activity. (I hope it surpasses the cooking class trend because I have never been much of a cook.) The highly regarded bartenders at The Laneway run the class with a demonstration of the finer points of making a French 75, Caiprioska and Amaretto Sour. After each demonstration, we joined them behind the bar in groups of four to make the same cocktail, albeit much less eloquently. By the end of the night, most of us were far more interested in drinking cocktails than making them, so we never got to learn our fourth cocktail recipe. As for pulling up the next day, that was not a problem - didn't I mention that the event was hosted by experts in recovery?The Laneway
Address: Level 1 (upstairs from Urbane and The Euro), 181 Mary Street, Brisbane
Phone: 07 3229 2271
Spotted on Brunswick Street: a poignant quote about office parties on the blackboard outside Gertie's. There are many reasons why Gertie's is one of my favourite local watering holes, and funnily enough, the insightful blackboard happens to be one of those reasons. The blackboard once read 'Octsober? Heck No!' so I decided to stop my self-imposed alcohol drought a few months ago. Another time the blackboard told me that 'New York is the only real city' so I bought tickets to New York for my next holiday. It sounds crazy, but I trust that blackboard as if it was my fairy godmother speaking to me in chalk riddles. I certainly enjoyed cocktails and tapas at Gertie's to celebrate the end of an amazing year with the team from The Urban List
.Gertie's Bar and Restaurant
Address: 699 Brunswick Street, New Farm
Phone: 07 3358 5088
Photo Source: Pony Dining (http://ponydining.com.au/pony_brisbane.htm)
We all know what TGIF stands for. Let me introduce a new acronym: FGF. It stands for Foie Gras Fridays. Foie Gras Fridays has become a regular routine of mine that involves sneaking out of the office for a lavish long lunch on Fridays with a select group of friends. We are yet to actually eat foie gras at lunch, but I just like the alliteration and the ostentatious sound of 'Foie Gras' Fridays. This week, everyone has been very excited about lunch at the brand new Pony Lounge and Dining
for Foie Gras Friday. Pony just opened at Eagle Street Pier and it is hot to trot, if you get my drift. I am sure that many of you have walked past this mysterious facade on the upper level of Eagle Street Pier over the last few months. Now, the mystery and wait are finally over. ...
Pony is originally a Sydney institution, with two separate locations in The Rocks and Neutral Bay. It has been a huge success with the superficial Sydney-siders and, having an affinity for all things superficial and Sydney, I am quietly confident that the new Pony in Eagle Street Pier will be equally well received in our fair-weathered metropolis. I am also quietly pleased that Brisbane was chosen over Melbourne for the restaurant brand's first interstate venture. Under the leadership of head chef Damian Heads and established Sydney restaurateurs, The Kyprianou boys, Pony promises to showcase modern Australian food, a boutique selection of wines and a long and cheeky cocktail list from its iconic riverfront location with unrivalled views of the Story Bridge.
Prepare to be impressed with an open plan kitchen with a wood fire grill, custom rotisserie and a contemporary menu featuring the finest cuts of meat, freshest seafood and array of shared and larger plates. We should also expect grandeur in the restaurant's design - Woods Bagot
, the firm behind Sydney’s Ivy Bar
was enlisted for the fit out and interiors.
Photo Source: Concrete Playground (http://brisbane.concreteplayground.com.au/restaurants/94170/pony.htm)
The opening of Pony has been one of the most hotly anticipated restaurant launches of the season. Keep your eyes out for Matt Moran's River Bar
that is due to open in December over the old Boardwalk Bar and Bistro site. Pony Lounge & Dining
Address: Upper Level Eagle Street Pier, 18/45 Eagle Street, Brisbane
Phone: 07 3181 3400
A close friend of mine was recently taken out on a first date to Grill'd. My reaction? Put it this way—mortified would be a gross understatement. Call me old fashioned, but I am a strong advocate for playing by the traditional dating rulebook. To paraphrase the rulebook, the location for a real first date must be somewhere slightly more thoughtful than your local burger joint.
If you are a bit rusty on the old rules and need some inspiration for a first date spot, read my edit of the best first date venues in Brisbane's inner city on The Urban List
Image Credit: The Urban List (http://www.theurbanlist.com/brisbane/a-list/first-date-rules-location-location-location)
I will admit that it has been a long while since I have gone to the Treasury Casino. In fact, usually I have only ended up at the casino after being locked out of somewhere else after 3am in the morning and the choices to kick on after that are pretty slim. But perhaps the casino has ‘upped the ante’ recently. The casino’s newest bar The Kitty opened in August for the first time as an exclusive party for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival in August. Not too shabby, huh?
I was invited to check out The Kitty a couple of weeks ago with a few friends. We had a VIP booth booked for us with free flowing cocktails all evening. I’m not going to lie, we all enjoyed feeling superior to everyone else in the bar in our exclusive booth that was roped off from all the other patrons. And you can do the same by booking a private booth on which ever night you intend to visit. The cocktail list is pretty impressive too – my favourites were the Espresso Martini and The Bramble.
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Of course, there are still plenty of characters around in the casino that aren’t my usual Eagle-Street-type crowd (to phrase it subtly), but The Kitty has brought some elegance and class to the casino. In true casino style, it is open 24/7 so come lockdown in the early hours of Saturday or Sunday morning, you might just find yourself here shouting rounds of mojitos after winning it big at the blackjack tables.The Kitty
Address: The Treasury Casino and Hotel, Queen Street Mall, Brisbane City
Phone: 07 3306 8888
Opening hours: Seven days, 24 hours
Photo Source: The Weekend Edition (http://theweekendedition.com.au/food-drink/kentucky-fried-duck-done-differently-at-public-brisbane-city/)
I was sceptical when I first heard about this establishment; the place is called 'Public' after all and it would have appealed to me much more had it been named 'Private'. It is also located on George Street, and you know how I generally feel about George Street
. Despite all of this, I have actually looking forward to blogging about Public for some time now. After all, it was awarded 'Best New Restaurant' and 'one hat' in Queensland's Good Food Guide
this year. I would have to agree with the discerning judges of the Good Food Guide because I have come back to Public on several occasions ever since my first visit a few weeks ago. It seems that the George Street side of the city has stepped up its game with new establishments like Public, and I like it. ...