Food and drink is something we tend to take fairly seriously in Brisbane, but sometimes some of the best produce we have comes from a little way out. We’re talking Moreton Bay prawns, to greens from Lockyer Valley, to coffee from the Gold Coast Hinterland.
With this in mind we though why not let our tastebuds do the walking, so we've tracked down 10 glorious eats all within two hours of Brisbane.
#1 Nu Orleans | Ipswich
Attracting visitors to its vast green spaces, heritage buildings and growing cosmopolitan dining options, Ipswich has an ever-present urban charm. At Nu Orleans, on Limestone Street, you can savour forkfuls of culture, tradition and Creole and Cajun dishes that capture the unique flavours of the French Quarter. Breakfast offers up everything from a nourishing bruschetta to the epicurean Nu Orleans big breakfast, while lunch is more focused towards Americana burgers and salads. When the sun goes down, head upstairs for some Bourbon Street Grilled Chicken, Shrimp Nu Orleans or American-style Baby Back Ribs.
#2 Ocean View Estates Winery and Restaurant | Mt Mee
Order a picnic hamper and lunch among the vines by the lake with a picnic hamper available at Ocean View Estates Winery, or head up to the restaurant to relax and keep warm by the glow of the fire. Head Chef Tony Tierney, formerly of Bretts Wharf and Tank, has developed a modern Australian menu featuring fresh seasonal produce to compliment and incorporate a number of wines and ports.
#3 Poppi's Heath Food Store and Wholefood Cafe | Boonah
Follow the changing landscape west and you’ll find yourself in the Scenic Rim, Brisbane’s World Heritage-listed backyard, home to lush rainforests, spectacular mountain ranges and ancient landforms. With a rustic feel and indoor/outdoor seating, Poppi’s–which merged with Wild Grain earlier this year–is the place to go for local and organic produce and meals like the fudgy chocolate cake with chia jam, cashew cream and raw choc ganache which is gluten free, dairy free, vegan and paleo but still big on taste!
#4 Restaurant Lurleen's at Sirromet Winrery | Mt Cotton
Restaurant Lurleen's offers the ultimate fine dining experience with a relaxed and warming atmosphere and contemporary menu which includes bay-fresh seafood, game meats such as rabbit and venison, and a variety of vegetarian, each dish with a recommended Sirromet wine match. Get a group together and try the Baron’s Table which features a whole wood fired roasted suckling pig, carved at the table, with baked apples, duck fat potatoes, baby carrots and greens with rosemary gravy. If roaming the vineyards is more your thing, book a winery tour, and finish your afternoon with a casual bite on the Tuscan Terrace.
#5 Songbirds Rainforest Retreat | Mt Tamborine
Follow the changing landscape west and you’ll find yourself in the Scenic Rim, Brisbane’s World Heritage-listed backyard, home to lush rainforests, spectacular mountain ranges, ancient landforms and Songbirds Rainforest Retreat. Set on 50 acres of lush rainforest, this multi award-winning restaurant was recently awarded one Chef’s Hat by the Australian Good Food Guide. With two, three and four course options, as well as a five or eight course tasting menu with matching wines, Songbirds well-executed creations change seasonally.
#6 Seaduction | Gold Coast
Don’t be fooled by the Surfers Paradise location, Seaduction, on level 2 of the Soul building, takes you above the hustle and bustle of the glitter strip and offers up a ring-side view of the beach through floor to ceiling windows. Executive Chef Reuben Radonich has developed a menu that pays homage to his travels as a chef and international culinary practices, is influenced by both earth and sea and features touches of molecular gastronomy.
#7 The Long Apron at Spicers Clovelly Retreat | Montville
Tucked away in a beautiful estate in the hills of Montville, The Long Apron restaurant is the dining jewel in the crown of luxurious Spicers Clovelly Estate. Open to the general public, The Long Apron is is ideal for day-trippers and long-weekenders alike. A two-hatted restaurant for a reason, the degustation dinner menu, which showcases incredible local produce and creative gastronomic technique, provides a once in a lifetime dining experience!
#8 Spirit House | Yandina
Food, like life, is a journey to be shared according to the team at Spirit House. Named as one of Australia’s best food experiences and set in lush Asian-style garden around a tranquil man-made pond, The Spirit House will awaken your senses. The menu has been designed for a shared experience. For a hands-on experience, book in for one of their cooking classes.
#9 Vanitas at Versace | Gold Coast
It’s no surprise that dining at Palazzo Versace is an unforgettable experience. With an ‘elegant evening wear’ dress code, Vanitas proclaims to take one’s tastebuds on a journey of modern Australian cuisine. Chef De Cuisine, Dayan Hartill-Law has created an ever-evolving seasonal menu, although for the full experience, try the ‘Vanitas Experience’ which includes Cheese on Toast, Smoked Milk + Beetroot and Mandarin + Aperol Spritz.
#10 Bauer's Organic Farm | Mt Sylvia
Less than an hour’s drive from Brisbane, Lockyer Valley offers up a laid-back country atmosphere and stunning valley views. Bauer’s Organic Farm, which has won a swag of awards for their fresh produce, will host a Seasonal Open Day on Sunday 31 July with special guest Alastair McLeod, where you can BYO picnic, pick up some fresh produce to take home and learn about organic gardening and farming. Round out your visit with a cheeky cellar door visit to Preston Peak Wines, in Toowoomba, which offers views over the Great Dividing Range.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie
Looking for more awesome things to do around Brisbane? Check out 9 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do In Brisbane!