By The Road Ahead food writer Kerry Heaney
Newly opened is Madame Rouge Bar & Bistro, replacing Gordita Bar & Restaurant in the M&A building on McLachlan Street, Fortitude Valley.
Head behind the thick red velvet curtains to find a French-themed bistro from Mary Randles. With 13 years living in Brittany and two years as front-of-house at husband Philip Johnson’s e’cco bistro, Randles has created a cosy French atmosphere that oozes fun times and fabulous food.
The menu includes share plates and mains, ranging from a rich gruyere beignet that comes with a dill pickle and strong smear of Dijon mustard, to thin slices of black pudding with perfectly seared scallops on a bed of celeriac puree.
The tender steak frites is accompanied by crisp, hand-cut fries and the confit duck leg is as tender as you’d want. Desserts are hard to pass with a flat apple tart with calvados ice cream and a nougat glace with fresh raspberries headlining the list.
Best of all, this is a restaurant where you’ll be able to have a conversation that your dining companions can hear.
Do you enjoy a local brew? Try the newly opened Scenic Rim Brewery & Café at Mount Alford or Brouhaha Brewery at Maleny, where the emphasis is strongly on using locally sourced produce.
Tuck into one of their grazing plates, a 12-hour slow-cooked steak sandwich, or freshly beer-battered fish and chips and enjoy the slow Maleny vibe.
The times, they are a changing, with one of Brisbane’s longest standing restaurants, Baguette Bistro + Bar, morphing into One Fifty Ascot Bar & Bistro after an extensive renovation. You can expect something special from the Coats Group, who also operate Eleven Rooftop Bar in Fortitude Valley, The Jetty at South Bank, and The Jetty Oxford at Bulimba.
Steak lovers should check out Vaquero on Albion Road at Sandgate (behind Albion Butchery), where there is a Josper charcoal oven churning out some pretty impressive dry aged beef steaks. The menu was devised by Damon Porter, who was heading up Malt Dining until recently.
Foodies seeking locally-made goods at Noosa have a new pit stop. Providore on Hastings, an on-site food outlet at Netanya, offers freshly-made breads, coffee, cheeses, pastries, charcuterie items and more with a deli-style experience.
“All of the produce is Australian and wherever possible it is locally sourced,” said Netanya Noosa general manager Graham Bradford.
“We have 280 different deli items that people can take away to enjoy in their own apartments, as well as a selection of ready-made meals prepared with the products we stock.”
Providore on Hastings is licensed with an imported EuroCave wine cellar to store a selection of wines. Expect to find products from Tanglewood Bakery, Maleny Cheese, Kenilworth Country Foods, Eumundi Meats and Little Cove coffee.
Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is putting its rich food culture in prime position with the launch of the Sunshine Coast Food Trail.
Visitors can create a personalised food trail around the region’s best producers, markets, restaurants, cooking schools, events, wineries and brewers.
Launched by Sunshine Coast chef, Peter Kuruvita from Noosa Beach House, the drive trails can be designed to suit anything from a half-day ‘taste’ to a multi-day ‘buffet’.
“Since moving to the Sunshine Coast three years ago and recently filming the region for SBS’s Coastal Kitchen, I have been amazed at how the area has expanded both its food scene and variety of produce over recent years,” Peter said.
“We have incredible and abundant seafood, a huge variety of ethical organic produce being farmed, covering everything from nomadic chickens, macadamias and indigenous bush tucker to camel milk. The producers are passionate and the local community incredibly supportive of them.
“All this, along with a thriving and expanding restaurant scene and food and wine festivals throughout the year, have really cemented Sunshine Coast on the culinary map. Oh, and the surf and beaches aren’t bad either!”