Sparrow & Finch:
Sparrow & Finch is the perfect place for either a takeaway lunch or a catch up with fellow pigs on your lunch break. My favourite thing to order from the big, beautiful presented cabinets are the range of salads, which change daily. The ceaser, roast vegetable and Asian noodle salads are my top picks. But if you are feeling super hungry, you can order a mammoth burger (beef or chicken) served with chips. I would avoid the sandwiches, although they look tempting, they are too front-loaded for my linking (aka, they look jam packed with ingredients but in reality, they are mostly bread). Price: $7 for medium salad.
Sparrow & Finch – 100 Creek St Cnr Adelaide St, Brisbane, QLD 4000
I am a sucker for an Asian soup so Fantasia made my life a lot easier when they opened earlier this year and now they are all popping up all over the city! My pick is the prawn wonton soup (you can add BBQ pork for an extra $2), it is clean, clear and fresh, ideal for those days when you are feeling a little heavy or in the mood for something hot. All wontons and dumplings are made on premises, as is the amazing malayasian chilli sauce. Don’t let the long lines deter you, they move quicker than you can say ‘soy sauce’. Price: $9.50 for a soup.
Fantasia – Macarthur Chambers food court (Lvl 1/255 Queen St), Brisbane, QLD 4000
As the name suggests the guys here are coffee lovers and the proof is in their pudding. But, considering I am more of a food enthusiastic than a bean hunter I was more blown away by their food. I am a serious sandwich enthusiast so I was thrilled when I found Pourboy who do one of the best Ploughman sandwiches I have ever had – stuffed with leg ham, vintage cheddar and pickle on grainy bread. If you are looking for something lighter they do a great caprese salad. Price: $10 for a sandwich, $18 for a salad.
PourBoy Expresso – 26 Wharf Street Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.pourboy.com.au
This hole in the wall is a well-known and well-loved amongst the Vietnamese obsessed community of Brisbane. They do the classics well including the spring rolls, vermecilli salads and soups. I recommend the spicy beef pho or the grilled chicken salad, both jam packed with meat, salad, herbs and noodles. Get there early if you want a seat or call ahead for takeaway. If you’re a spice lover, tell them to make it HOT! Price: All soups are under $10
Brew is one of the many not-so-new restaurants in Brisbane Burnette Lane, what seems to be continue to be all the rage for city-goers. This basement café is a great place to hide away from bad weather and eat some amazing and amazingly cheap food on your break. The sandwiches are all classics and done well, my picks are the turkey with cranberry sauce and roast beef. But my favourite lunch option here is the avocado and halumi salad. Price: all under $10.
This is the ideal casual Friday lunch spot, it is located within the thriving Eagle Street Pier precinct on the river, without the big price tag. Jude has a range of different salads that change daily and you can team these with pies, quiches or Jude’s balls (thai chicken, risotto, Morrocan lamb or lentil). But for me, Jude is all about big beautiful burgers. My favourite is the Brissy Beef Beetroot Burger which is a made with a huge meat pattie (made fresh in-house) with beetroot, salad and served with crisp, beer battered chips, perfectly accompanied with their aioli. Price: Burger with chips or salad $15.
Jude – Eagle Street Pier, 45 Eagle Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.judebrisbane.com.au
Who would have thought that the basement of the arts factory would make such great Italian food? Don’t let the dark and dingy space scare you because the food is phenomenal. My usual go-to dish is the poached chicken fettuccini in a rich creamy sauce with english spinach and roasted almond flakes stirred through. Be prepared for a food coma because most of the dishes are as heavy as they are delicious. Price: around $20 for a bowl of pasta
Verve Café and Cider House – 109 Edward St, Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.vervecafe.com
My old office was right around the corner from malt and my colleagues and I found any excuse to go there to enjoy a great meal and atmosphere in a stunning setting. The specials board is always what captures my attention and I can thank it for one of the best prawn laksas I have ever had! But the steak sandwich is a consistent favourite, the lavin bread is melded together with beautiful gruyere cheese and caramalised onions. The braised beef cheeks, placed on perfectly creamy mash are also a winning dish. Price: all meals are are between $15-$20.
Malt Dining – 28 Market Street Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.maltdining.com.au
Hanaichi is better than your normal run-of-the-mill sushi train, it makes sushi because it prepares sushi, sashimi and dumpling fresh to order, as well as delicious option that pass by on the rail tracks. This is my top pick for when I am n the mood for something healthy, so I can’t go past a mixed sashimi salad and a miso soup. Or if sushi is more your thing, go for their tempura prawn, chicken and avocado and soft shell crab rolls. Price: Miso and a salad cost about $20.
Hanaichi Sushi Bar and Dining – Winter Garden, Queen St, Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.hanaichi.com.au
Arguably Brisbane’s best restaurant, Il Centro has survived the GFC, one plate of sand crab lasagne at a time. This long standing institution has a wine list as impressive as the view, serving some of the city’s best sea food and steaks. The menu is long and I lust over it, but I can never go past their famous lasagne – lashings of fresh pasts sheets layered with crab and the most delicious and devilish sauce you will ever taste. If creatures of the sea aren’t your thing, opt for the parmesan crumbed veal with carbonara and wilted spinach, trust me, it tastes as good as it sounds. Price: Main meals are around $40.
Il Centro Restaurant and Bar – Eagle Street Pier, 45 Eagle Street – Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.il-centro.com.au
As the name suggests this restaurants is all about beef and its meals are as big as the restaurant itself. The grand venue is part of the Stanford Hotel and has impressive cabinets of beef and wine adorning the walls, leading diners into the bar, restaurant and private dining booths. My suggestion would be to order with your piggy friends and get a spice rubbed 1kg wagyu rump to share and a bunch of sides. The steak is brought out and sliced in front of you and is perfectly accompanied with tempura onion rings with smokey BBQ sauce, a iceberg wedge salad and the best thing of all, truffled parmesan shoe fries. Price: approximately $40 per person.
Moo Moos Wine Bar + Grill – 39 Edward St, Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.moomoosrestaurant.com.au
Sake was created and runs on the following values – precision, organisation and respect. The food and fit out are reflective of this, brilliantly executed, made with car and absolutely stunning. Pigs have the option to dine at the bar, in the main restaurant or a traditional sunken banquet table, private dining room or intimate booth, all are the perfect place to celebrate something special. I opt for all my favourites when I go here – sashimi tasting plate, featuring my favourite raw calamari, edemame, beef tataki with garlic chips and snow peas and miso, a little piece of japan in our fare city. Price: Enough food for a pig will cost about $50.
Sake Restaurant and Bar – Eagle Street Pier, 45 Eagle Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.sakerestaurant.com.au/brisbane
Tucked away on the edge of the CBD, E’cco has become a destination restaurant and a consistent favourite amongst foodies around Brisbane and is an institution known for its high quality food and impeccable service. Its style, both in the food and the restaurant itself, is classic with modern twist and is perfect for a lunch in the city to celebrate anything worth the trip (and cheque). You won’t be disappointed with anything on the seasonal menu but my suggestions would be the eye fillet with bone marrow and onion rings or the bork belly with caramalised peach. Price: about $60 for 2 courses.
E’cco Bistro – 100 Boundary St Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.eccobistro.com
Vintaged Bar and Grill:
I felt like I had walked into ‘Back to the Future’ when I finally saw the Hilton refurbishment earlier this year. What was once a 80’s inspired, drab foyer is now a grand, modern, stunning lobby fit for a king. And the best part about it is the hotel’s restaurant, Vintaged Bar + Grill. With a wine room the size of my apartment and Himalayan rock salt insulated fridge for the abundance of cured meats, I knew was going to like this place. You can’t go wrong with one of their steaks, or if you want to eat like a king on a budget, they have $20 lunch specials including a huge, delicious Rueben sandwich and a glass of wine. Price: lunch special – $20 or a steak with trimmings will cost about $40.
Vintaged Bar and Grill – The Hilton – Level 6, 190 Elizabeth St Brisbane, QLD 4000 – www.vintagedbarandgrill.com