My great friend, Melly, invited me up to Brisbane for a weekend to hang at her place. I accepted and arrived Friday afternoon.
Unexpected Greeting to Brisbane
Now, jokes abound about Queenslanders and their foibles, some warranted, most not. However, when you are literally “greeted” at the airport by a bona fide Wally (big blue pants and red and white striped top… and a moustache), it does set a particular standard for the weekend to come. Wally dealt with (he insisted on driving me to the city, I insisted on sending him on his way and alerted security), I gifted Melly a much harder and longer hug than she likely anticipated.
As all girlfriends do as soon as they see each other, we rushed our conversations and finished one another’s sentences as we took the scenic route back to her place via a juice bar for a refresher on the way.
Upon arrival at Melly and Adam’s, I was given a wet welcome by Saffron, my friends’ miniature poodle. Gorgeous, isn’t she? We took a walk around Chapel Hill and explored many garden frontages. There is a definite “wilderness” aspect to Brisbane, leading right into the city. Being summer, everything has taken on a life of its own. The tropical style plants give an air of relaxation and I couldn’t help feel that I was on holidays. The lay of the land is full of hills, the ones where manual drivers break into a sweat at the top of a right hand turn. I was constantly waiting for the beach to appear at the crest of each hill, such was the sunny and easy environment. Hard to believe it’s a further 45 minutes to reach the coast.
After a mostly liquid dinner, we chatted into the wee hours before heading to bed.
Saturday mornings are for coffee and wandering. We instilled ourselves at the local and ordered tasty paninis and double shot coffees. The perfect sustenance for our road trip around the outskirts of Brisbane. Some highlights:
Chapel Hill/ Indooroopilly – Suburban yet close to the city fringe. The best of both worlds with well maintained homes from the post war era.
Paddington – fabulous inner city area with cute terraces and homes and lots of quirky shopfronts and spaces.
Graceville/Sherwood – set on the river like much of Brisbane, these areas have a beautiful and endearing vibe. We drove around the suburbs, taking in the homes with gorgeous frontages, teasing us with their prettiness.
Welcome to Goodness Gracious Cafe. Whether you are in need of a caffeine fix or a tipple, this little gem is your go to. This gorgeous suburb knows how to entertain a guest and the few eateries were all completely packed to the rafters and gave off a fun and easy vibe. When it comes to choosing a spot to pull up a chair I am guilty of judging a book by its cover. When I see signage as cute and crafty as GGC, I want in!
Saturday night lead us to the Suburban Social Neighbourhood, a new joint just opened on a busy corner in Chapel Hill and scarily close to Melly and Adam’s. Oh, the drinks! Their cocktails have some amazing ability to reach liquid umami. My long island iced tea was the best I’ve had and Adam agrees. There is some incredible tangy freshness that comes through with each sip that is so gloriously refreshing it takes you straight to the Bahamas (because, you know, I would totally know how sitting in the Bahamas feels!). The decor helps, the banquet style seating covered in a fun printed fabric. Oh, and the food? Don’t get me started! Ah-ma-zing! That calamari. Those chips – those chips are worth the trip alone. I’m salivating right now.
Sunday mornings, don’t you love them? Nothing better than a market and the market at Eagle Farm Market is a corker! Food, glorious food. Live jazz. Gorgeous clothing boutiques. Sunshine and just nice. A favourite was the clever and indulgent Health and Beauty from the Hive stall with natural honey products. Clever name too!
Sunday afternoon is time to relax (as opposed to Sunday mornings which is time to well, relax). We chose to do so at a friend’s place in Mt Cotton. Set amongst an acre of trees sat Bernie’s home. His housemate, Diablo, was a lovely host, entertaining us with a myriad of trips into the bushy scrub to find his favourite toy we kept hurling into the wilderness.
Diablo made the perfect playdate for Saffron. Pizzas were on the menu and it was my turn to give back to the hosts so I created some easy flavours on Lebanese bread bases for a cheeky lunch. Think lots of olives, prosciutto, feta and mountains of herbs. Bernie backed it up with his collection of whiskies, including an Australian clear version from Sydney that was a standout.
Get Archie Rose White Rye Whisky here.
We backed it up with an evening drive through Redlands and a pitt stop at a waterside pub.
All in all, a pretty awesome weekend. I reckon I could set up home here myself.
Health Warning: Staying with Adam and Melly may lead to addiction, particularly to coffee (mornings) and long island iced tea (evenings).