I’m changing things up here on the blog today.
If you’re new around these parts, when I’m not talking fashion or beauty, I indulge my passion for food, drinks and travel. And often the best of those three things is found on your doorstep.
It’s eight months since we made the move from the Sunshine Coast to the city and in that time we’ve barely scratched the surface of where to eat and drink in Brisbane.
The reason for this is two-fold: life is busy and and I love being able to just step out the door and walk somewhere locally.
So when our friends and fellow bloggers, Mr and Mrs Romance, announced they were coming to visit again, we sprung for a small cab fare and headed a few kilometres across town to explore one of Brisbane’s fun dining and drinking precincts.
Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley has a seedy past and a party present. For better or for worse this gives The Valley character.
When I was growing up and we’d come and visit my grandparents at New Farm (long before it was a hip and happening place to live), the Valley was where you shopped if you wanted to shop at a department store. The city’s Queen Street Mall was only a pipe dream.
Now The Valley is more boutique-y than big stores and it’s an area of Brisbane that has evolved as developers realise the potential of once-industrial areas.
This has seen the rise of different precincts within The Valley. The main area still centres around Chinatown and Brunswick Street. Plus, there are the newer James Street and The Emporium precincts.
In this post, I’m focussing on the entertainment precinct on and around the corner of Alfred and Constance Streets.
Most of the restaurants and bars on this block are owned by The Griffiths Group. It’s an area of the Valley that was once dominated by a multi-storey carpark and office buildings.
The carpark is still there but the corner is now an entertainment destination.
By chance and good engineering, last week we spent two nights enjoying the hospitality of the area.
Dutch Courage Officers Mess
This cocktail, gin and share-plate bar offers up an impressive selection of more than 100 different types of gin. We got to taste four Australian gins that left me loving gin even more (if that were possible!). And quite fancying a Negroni as my new favourite way to drink it.
Special guest on the night was Mark Watkins from Mt Uncle Distillery, a small but heavily awarded distillery on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland.
I’m extremely studious … look at that gin-tasting note-taking.
Limes Hotel Rooftop Bar
The following night we were guests of the Griffiths Group, starting our night with a twilight drink at Limes Hotel Rooftop Bar.
(When Mr and Mrs Romance last visited we visited another of the Valley’s roof-top bars, Elixir. I think the UP bar at the new TRYP boutique hotel further down Constance Street might be the go for their next visit.)
Limes was quiet early on this Thursday night but it was gearing up for a movie showing on the outdoor screen. You even have the option of watching from the comfort of a hot tub.
We left our clothes on (best for all concerned) and instead headed downstairs and next door to Alfred and Constance.
Alfred and Constance
These once run-down Queensland cottages are now home to four separate dining and drinking options.
We were treated to a look at the new spring menu at The Vanguard and were not disappointed.
At one point Mrs Romance and I looked across the table and laughed at the apparent food coma that Mr SY and Mr Romance had found themselves in.
Both were leaning back against the wall, smiling with a shared delirium that follows indulging in really good food.
They went hard, optimistically aiming for burgers after the starters of soft shell crab avocado rolls, crispy calamari, slow-roasted pork belly and lamb ribs. Mrs Romance and I shared a main of barramundi and pulled pork from the grill. I’m still dreaming of the crispy crackling.
Look away my vegetarian friends.
Food coma or no food coma, dessert was ordered and devoured.
This WAS a piece of banoffee pie.
Other places to visit
This won’t be our last visit to this entertainment precinct.
Check out this post: 100 things to do in Brisbane.
And get excited hotel lovers, The W is heading Brisbane’s way.
Over to you … been to Brisbane lately? What did you do? Live in Brisbane? Share your favourite places to eat and drink out.