There is a series of books on Australian cities entitled 'Hide & Seek Brisbane / Melbourne / Syndey etc. For Christmas I was given Hide & Seek Melbourne because I love the place and Melbourne maybe more then other cities in Australia is full of crazily cool bars, stores and hidey-holes that you can only go to after you've discovered where they are hidden.
When at a friends house a few months ago, she had the Brisbane version sitting on her coffee table. Looking at it, I was quite surprised at some of the places that were included. It is a personal opinion book, complied by local contributors and I got to thinking – if I were to create a Hide & Seek Brisbane, what would I include? Well, these are the places I'd recommend.
Flamingo Café – Tucked away in Winn Lane, one of Brisbane's few lanes (certainly after the Council's cancellation of its Laneways Project), Flamingo Cafe is full of character. Full of kitchy furniture and waitresses with attitude, the food is delicious and affordable.
Anise – Anise is only for a special evening out, but if you're going to go to town on a meal, this is the place to do it. A tiny, hole in the wall restaurant, Anise sits only 13 people around a bar, making for an intimate and convivial atmosphere. They are known for their degustation menus, which they change every season as well as having 'specials' – game, seafood, French-themed specials. It costs $90 for a 'standard' seasonal 7-course degustation, $130 for the seven courses with wine. If anyone were thinking of going, I would say go the whole hog with the wine. It is worth it, for the matched wines served by the owner – who really cares about the wine and the food you're eating and wants you to enjoy and appreciate it to the fullest.
Mizu – A Japanese restaurant with a bistro feel in Tenneriffe. Their menu is one of those wonderful constructions where you look at it and know you can't go wrong. Everything is fresh and creative without being over the top. There is also a wonderful lunch menu with a great sushi and bento box selection. Even the most basic Mizu Bento Box – a bargain at $16 – is my favourite work-lunch treat. Other great Japanese in Brisbane are Bishamon and Edamame.
Sassafras – A long-time favourite breakfast café in Paddington. Hard to get a table if you haven't booked but worth planning ahead for the ricotta hotcakes, chilli corn cakes and scrumptious bacon. The back terrace is also perfect for enjoying beautiful Brisbane weekend mornings.
Piaf - A French Bistro in all the correct meanings of the word. Tucked into a tiny space in Little Stanley Street, what I love so many things about Piaf. I love the short but perfectly formed menu that regularly changes to that every time I go it is new and interesting. I love the selection of French wines and how many of them you can get by the glass. I love the petite serving sizes of the courses - and the corresponding petite prices. I love that a couple can go to Piaf, have a three course meal (be able to fit in a three course meal) with a glass of wine each for around $100. It's the cheapest a special-night-out can be.