Australia’s top restaurants revealed, London vibes in Brisbane, new river cruise, lunch without the cup, Irish in the Valley, cocktails on the beach, watermelon margaritas, new picnic packs, whisky tasting, what’s brewing at Scarborough? It’s all in Feast on Brisbane #40, a carefully curated collection of the best food and experiences on offer.

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Feast on Brisbane #40

Elska, Brisbane, Gourmet Traveller restaurant awards state winner. 

*10 top Brisbane bites

What you need to know about food in Brisbane and beyond this week.

Australia’s top restaurants revealed

Gourmet Traveller has released its 2022 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards and a Restaurant Guide featuring Australia’s Top 80 restaurants. You’ll find all the details in a special Gourmet Traveller Celebration issue on newsstands now.

The national winner is Tedesca Osteria in Red Hill, Victoria. Set in an early 20th-century weatherboard house overlooking 27 acres of lush Red Hill farmland, the restaurant seats between 30 and 35 diners for intimate, slow-paced lunches.

The top Queensland winner is Oaks Kitchen and Garden in the Tropical North Queensland coastal village of Oak Beach which won Best Destination Dining. Oak Beach is a bit over halfway between Cairns and Port Douglas just off the Captain Cook Highway, which makes it a perfect lunch stop between the two top destinations. It’s a great stop on this Great Barrier Reef road trip.

Much lauded Brisbane restaurant Elska is the Queensland State winner. Others for your dining list include these interstate winners – Saint Peter in NSW, Fico in Tasmania, Restaurant Botanic in SA, Millbrook in WA, and Pilot in ACT.

Other award winners to note are Gimlet, Melbourne – Best New Restaurant and Monopole, Sydney, Best Wine Bar.

“This year has been enormously challenging for the restaurant industry, but it has also sparked new depths of creativity and resilience, particularly from our Restaurant Award winners,” says Gourmet Traveller editor, Joanna Hunkin.

I rate the Gourmet Traveller awards above all others because of their independence. Reviewers arrive at restaurants unannounced and pay their own way. Each restaurant is judged on its overall dining experience, including its food and drink offering, as well as ambience, service and setting.

Tastes of London

When you can’t get to London’s The Savoy Grill but you are hungry for a hit of timeless European-influenced dining, new Rothwell’s Bar & Grill in the CBD at 235 Edward St is the answer. Housed in the heritage-listed Rothwell’s building in the city’s luxury Edward Street precinct, opposite Gucci, Rothwell’s Bar & Grill is the vision of Dan Clark (1889 Enoteca, Addley Clark Fine Wines) and Chef, Ben Russell (Aria Sydney and Brisbane, Est Est Est). The menu features favourites such as prawn cocktail, Moreton Bay bugs with café de Paris butter, Beef Wellington and as-you-like-it grass-fed T-bone steak. The centrepiece of the 90-seat dining space is the Marble Bar, an expansive white Italian marble seated dining space where jacketed chefs will shuck oysters onto custom silver trays that were handmade in London exclusively for Rothwell’s. Walls lined with cosy leather banquettes featuring vintage table lamps offer a more intimate dining experience. There’s also a 40 seat Foyer Bar and a private dining room. Opening in November – I’m going to a preview and will report back! Follow their progress on Instagram.

Cruise the Brisbane River

Cities are built around rivers so what better way to explore Brisbane, especially when the weather hots up. Museum of Brisbane is changing their walking tours into Tides of Brisbane River to Bay cruises that leave near the city Botanic Gardens in November and December. The three-hour MoB tour is hosted by Brian Ogden and Asuka Shiraishi and runs alternate on Sundays and Wednesdays. Brian is full of quirky Brisbane facts and stories that you’ll find quite amazing.  The cruise is a relaxing look at the river with a short fast speed stint that will put a smile on your face! Tickets cost $120.

No Cup Long Lunch

With many turning away from the Melbourne Cup due to animal rights concerns, Brisbane café, Botero House in Adelaide Street, is adding their spin on a long lunch. Enjoy the extravagance of the day without participating in the racing element with an incredible four course lunch paired with drinks to raise money for the RSPCA. The event focuses on a fun afternoon out with friends, family, and colleagues, providing the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy high quality food, drinks and company.  Lunch will be prepared by Dan Brown, highlighting the produce from farms in Toowoomba, the Sunshine Coast and Victoria. Menu items include Fraser Isle Spanner Crab with Avocado, Mascarpone and Charcoal Cracker, White Pyrenees Lamb Rump, Spinach Puree, 5 Vegetable Gratin, Lamb and Thyme Reduction and Pistachio, and Sweet Corn Risotto, Mascarpone, Burnt Corn, Chives and Onion Oil. Price: $89 per person, which includes a donation the RSPCA.

Get your Irish on the Valley

Finn McCool’s Irish Pub in Fortitude Valley welcoming guests back for a pint and hearty bite from Friday, November 12 after repairs and renovations. They are celebrating with a street party in Brunswick Street Mall with pop-up bars, Irish dancers, a pipe band and live entertainment on Saturday 13 November. From 10 am on Saturday, expect a sea of green, flowing Guinness and performances by Irish favourites including, The Gathering, Murphy’s Pigs and Sasta, and Tartan Shamrock, for a Finn McCool’s Irish Pub opening weekend celebration like no other.

Broadbeach cocktails on the sand

From December 1 to the end of January Broadbeach will take on an international beach flavour with a sand bar that’s not what you expect.  Rather than a moving body of sand under the water, this will be a full-on umbrellas and deckchairs on the sand look, the same as you’ll see at Ibiza.

New craft brewery at Scarborough

Keep an eye on Bird O’Passage Parade at Scarborough for the emergence of the new Scarborough Harbour Brewing Co microbrewery.

Watermelon margaritas anyone?

If the idea of a watermelon margarita has you running out the door, plan your escape to Howard Smith Wharves on Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon until late.  La Mexicana has a menu filled with Chef Louis Tikaram’s favourite Mexican street dishes.

Picnic pack Otto style

Elevate your next South Bank parklands experience with a picnic pack from Otto Osteria.  The packs are full of Italian delights and designed to be shared.  You can add vino too! They need 24 hours notice. A classic picnic pack for two costs $110.

Whisky tasting with a difference

From the brains behind Supping Club comes Whisky Whisky, a different type of whisky appreciation coming to Fish Lane on Saturday, November 13.  Set beneath the train tracks of South Brisbane’s Fish Lane, Whisky Whisky will see more than 20 Australian and international whisky brands come together for an afternoon. The line-up includes the likes of Bladnoch, Lark, Archie Rose, Starward and Kilchoman, plus many more. Across two 2.5-hour sessions, guests will have the opportunity to sample more than 40 different drams alongside delectable pan-Asian-inspired eats provided by Whisky Whisky’s restaurant partner Hello Please. Between sips, guests can test their skills on the Whisky Whisky claw machine, which will be filled with an assortment of whisky-themed prizes. Limited-release early-bird $100 (almost sold out) and $120 -second release.

Who is open on the Ekka Public Holiday?

This Friday, October 29 is the revised date for the Ekka public holiday.  These venues will be open.

City / Valley / Newstead

  • e’cco Bistro, Newstead, Lunch from 12pm, Dinner from 6:15 pm -late
  • The Inchcolm Bar, Spring Hill, Open as normal, 12pm-late Lunch & Dinner. $69 Three Martini Lunch from 12pm, Signature Martini Hour from 5:30 pm
  • ZA ZA TA, Fortitude Valley, Open as normal, Breakfast from 6:30 am, Lunch from 12 pm-3 pm, Dinner from 5 pm
  • Bar Kazba, Fortitude Valley, Open as normal, 5 pm -late, Vinyl DJ from 7 pm
  • The Defiant Duck, Open as normal, 11 am -late

South Brisbane / West End / Woolloongabba

  • Ahmet’s Restaurant, Southbank, Open as normal, 11:30 am -late, all-day dining
  • OLE Restaurant, Southbank, Open as normal, 11 am -late, all-day dining
  • The Sangria Bar, Southbank, Open as normal, 11 am -late
  • Mucho Mexicano, Southbank, Open as normal, 11 am -late, all-day dining
  • Nonna’s Pizza & Deli, Southbank, Open as normal 11 am -late, all-day dining
  • Ehden – Open as normal, 12pm-late, Lunch & Dinner (a la carte dining, $2 Oyster Happy Hour from 3 pm-6 pm), or special offer for this day only: $99 Spring Rose Lunch, bookings from 12pm, Cocktail on arrival, Four Courses with paired French & Australian Rose
  • Suki, Southbank, Open 11 am-7:30 pm
  • C’est Bon Restaurant, Woolloongabba, Dinner from 5 pm
  • Le Bon Bar (at C’est Bon), Woolloongabba, Open from 3 pm
  • Ooh La La Rooftop (at C’est Bon), Woolloongabba, Open from 3 pm, Long Rays Bar Takeover featuring Eleven Bridges Distillery and Capricorn Distillery. Meet the distillers and people behind each brand and enjoy a special cocktail menu from each + live music and competitions! These crews will be mixing and muddling til late. No bookings, walk-in. [


  • Downtown Istanbul, Hawthorne, Open as normal, 11 am -late, all-day dining
  • Mucho Mexicano, Hawthorne, Open as normal, 11 am -late, all-day dining

Brisbane deals

Cocktail happy hour

Here’s to the weekend with a delightful cucumber rose cocktail I enjoyed in the bar at The Inchcolm by Ovolo.  Cocktails are half price from 5.30 to 6.30 daily at The Inchcolm but go on Thursdays to enjoy wonderful live music and nibbles.


Granite Belt winery accommodation at Ridgemill Estate inside

Ridgemill Estate cabins

Plan your next escape

​Granite Belt boom

Interstate travel restrictions continue to deliver an unprecedented tourism boom on the Granite Belt, as Ballandean Estate, Queensland’s oldest family-owned and operated winery, reports over five hundred people through its cellar door over the weekend.

“Queenslanders have relished in their relative freedom over the pandemic, and really got behind supporting regional areas. So many have embraced a cool climate wine country getaway,” says Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi, fourth-generation vigneron and wine industry leader.

“What we are finding is that the last 18 months have brought thousands of people to the Granite Belt for the first time. “And they are coming back. Last week, we had a young couple from Brisbane at the cellar door who first visited the region last July. Since then, they’ve returned four times! This is not unusual, we have so many new amicis!

“The distance from Brisbane and the Gold Coast is a blessing in disguise, as people are coming out to stay and play for longer. This is in stark contrast to what we witnessed at some of McLaren Vale’s biggest wineries a few weeks ago. Vineyard restaurants were buzzing, but cellar doors were almost empty when we visited, even on the weekend! This made for a luxurious tasting experience, undivided attention. Operators told us that being so close to Adelaide made McLaren Vale more of a day trip destination.

“If you are looking at visiting the Granite Belt before the end of 2021, get online and book as soon as you can, as many accommodation houses are fully booked every weekend until the new year. You can also try the visitor information centre, as they are keeping track won who still has availability,” says Ms Puglisi-Gangemi.

These are my favourite places to stay on the Granite Belt.

Halloween started in Ireland

Feast on Brisbane #40 Recipe of the week – Barmbeck for Halloween

Looking for some Halloween inspo? Famous for its tall tales, it’s no surprise that the mystery and merriment of Halloween started in Ireland where it can be traced back to the Celtic festival of Samain. There are strong Irish traditions and delicious Irish Halloween food like a slice of warm Barmbeck that will tell your fortune for the coming year.

Here’s how to make Barmbeck, an Irish fruit cake, and yes, it includes whisky!

What happened last week in Brisbane? Check Feast on Brisbane #39