This Sunday my friends and I headed along to the Delectable Queensland Food Bowl at the City Botanic Gardens.
I'd been really looking forward to this festival for a while. A score of Brisbane's best award-winning restaurants all in one place putting on plates of food I could actually afford, with wine and sunshine in the park – what was not to enjoy?
Sunday was one of those perfect days that help to remind you why you choose to live in Queensland. We got to the gardens at 11, nabbed a table under the trees and started to scope out the impressive array of food on offer.
There were 24 resturants and cafes participating in the Festival, each of them well known and some of them award-winning with international chefs. The ones I was most excited to sample were Moda, Sake, Ortiga and Stokehouse.
I started the day with Ortiga's chicken and lemon croquettas and what a good way to start, particularly when washed down with a nice pinot grigio.
Ortiga's chicken and lemon croquettas - so good I had two serves.
Followed up by Armstrong's crisp fried Toowoomba pork cheek, caramelised onion and apple puree with apple salad. Delicious!
I have to say that there seemed to be definite issues with the organisation of the festival. Part of the day's entertainment – Delectable Sounds on the RiverStage - was cancelled and as I understand it, ticket sales in the week leading up to the event were sufficiently poor that there were significant ticket give aways. However, chatting to one of the restaurant owners, he observed that Brisbane-ites leave their decision making to the last minute. Fortunately for the organisers it was a gorgeous Brisbane winter day, all sunshine and clear skies so the local foodies were out in force. So much so that it created another problem.
Winter sunshine bringing out the crowds.
A line-up of restaurants and wine importers.
The organisers had decided that rather than have people just pay in cash at the stalls, they should have to buy 'Delectable Dollars' in packets of $20, $30 or $50. At each stall you fiddled around with your wine glass and map as you ripped out $2 vouchers to buy your pork or your macarons. Sometime around 12 o'clock, when the crowd was at its biggest, the lines to buy Delectable Dollars stretched across the park and you had to wait 50 minutes to get to the front of the queue. They even ran out of the Dollars at one point.
Part of the queue for Delectable Dollars. The line stretched across the gardens.
For those of us lucky to be cashed up, however, it was a great day out. The biggest issue I had was deciding what to eat and getting full before I could sample everything.
Sharing half of Tartufo's traditional italian style porchetta on ciabatta. Delicious!
I hope the festival runs again next year, though maybe with a few organisational changes. We none of us were disappointed in the food selection, the cider and beer, the wine and the wonderful desserts. Next year I would plan to stay longer, snooze in the sun and really have a day out with my food-loving friends.
My dessert of choice: custard tart with fresh local raspberries thanks to Confit Bistro.
Heaven on a plate!