A multicultural fresh food market, modern Greek, global food markets and a bustling suburban Chinatown - welcome to Brisbane's new foodie experiences. Here are eight reasons to eat your way around the Queensland city:
1. Global Food Market
What started 15 years ago as a way to support local producers in the City of Logan (just 30 mins south of Brisbane's CBD) has become one of the most popular ‘melting pots’ of fresh ingredients to make local and international favourites. Dean Khieu, whose father immigrated from Cambodia and started the market, says that he wanted to support small, local farmers. Since then, it’s ballooned into something much more.
“We sell all the types of fresh foods you find at supermarkets but we also have a lot of stuff you don’t see as much,"
“We sell all the types of fresh foods you find at supermarkets but we also have a lot of stuff you don’t see as much, like Asian greens and we also have the food store section, which sells a lot of ethnic foods like Thai, Vietnamese, Laos, Malaysian, Indian and African,” he says.
Many stallholders are migrants, Mr Khieu says, which allows them to work in the same type of business they did back home.
This new eatery brings modern Greek to Brisbane but in traditional Greek style, it’s designed to be shared. Highlight dishes include the fried Saganaki cheese with honey and oregano, and crispy chips, dusted with seaweed salt.
There’s abundant seafood on the menu and eight choices of Uuzo to wash it down with, bringing you back to the coast of Santorini.
3. King Street Bakery
There’s nothing better than the aroma of freshly baked bread and this artisan bakery does just that. It’s staffed by internationally-trained bakers who make a small but moreish menu that features signature tarts, pastries and classics like pain au chocolat.
You can also learn how to make your own bread with the bakery’s roster of cooking classes and eat-in at the bakery cafe, which features breakfasts and sandwiches made with their own fresh dough.
4. Miss Bliss Whole Foods Kitchen
Bliss is the word at this Brisbane eatery which specialises in unprocessed foods which are free from refined sugars. Through a modern menu it pays homage to owner Jacqui Toumbas’ Greek heritage and community spirit as the cafe was formerly a fruit shop owned by one of Toumbas' grandfather’s friends.
Among the acai bowls and smashed avocado is cafe’s signature ‘Miss Bliss feast’ featuring halloumi, bacon, mushroom, tomato and eggs on sourdough toast and her grandmother’s spanakopita. In keeping with her fresh food philosophy, which is also part of the traditional Greek approach to food, the menu changes every three months.
5. Swiss Gourmet Deli
If you thought the humble pavlova was the exclusive domain of Australia (and New Zealand), think again. This popular family-run store has brought an equally delicious Portuguese meringue cake to Brisbane’s West End. Made with caramel, it’s a rich, gooey delight.
Swiss Gourmet Deli has a suspicious name for selling Portuguese cakes, but it had opened in the 1950s under the same name and once exclusively sold traditional Swiss goods but since the 1980s has provided foods from across continental Europe. It's now known for pasta, cured meats, pates, dips, chocolates and cheeses from all corners of the continent.
Brisbane’s craft brewery scene is one of Australia’s fastest-growing, with 17 of 49 openings in 2017 happening in the Queensland capital. Felons - named after four actual falcons were are believed to be the first Europeans to discover the Brisbane River - opened in 2018.
Even though Felons is a brewery - and a big one, at 1000 square metres - it’s the woodfired pizzas that attract just as many people as the beer. There’s the classic Margherita, Rustica (mushrooms, pancetta and rosemary) but it’s hard to say no to a quadruple cheese, featuring mozzarella, parmesan, smoked cheese and gorgonzola.
Head south of the CBD to the suburb of Sunnybank and by greeted by a mecca of bustling crowds, bowls of noodle soup and char siu hanging from shop windows. The lunch rush at this suburban Chinatown is a delight for anyone craving the casual eateries of Asia.
After filling to the brim on a range of cuisines from Malaysia to Korea, there’s no shortage of grocers and speciality stores to meander through for a sweet hit or future snacking.
The area spills across a number of streets and walkways but converges on the corners of Mains Road and McCullough Street in Sunnybank. For those in need of a GPS coordinate, punch in ‘Sunnybank Plaza’ as a first stop.
8. Three Blue Ducks
Despite its name, there’s no duck on this menu, but there is plenty of local, sustainably grown produce. The menu reflects the seasons, including plenty of seafood and fresh vegetables and the restaurant overall focuses on sustainability.
“A local cacao producer has agreed to take our citrus scraps and use them in his chocolate bars."
Chef and co-founder Darren Robertson says that buying from local farmers and running the kitchen sustainably is a priority, which sometimes results in inventive ways to reuse and recycle scraps. “A local cacao producer has agreed to take our citrus scraps and use them in his chocolate bars. We [also] take the spent Davidson plums from a local distiller and put [them] in our Christmas pudding, in jams, cocktails, all sorts of things,” he says.
The sustainability doesn’t stop there, and even gets guests involved; ground coffee beans are also repurposed and made into soap, which is available for purchase at the restaurant.
Ainsley Harriott traverses The Fresh Market in Warrnambool during episode 1 of the brand-new season of Ainsley's Australian Market Menu. Catch it at 7:30pm Thursday 17 October on SBS, catch up on SBS Food at 7:30pm Sundays, or stream on SBS On Demand. Visit the Market Menu website for recipes, the episode guide and more.