Queensland’s top 19 must-eat dishes
YIELDING beef cheeks rendered so tender they melt on the tongue… ethereally light doughnuts oozing with a sticky date pudding centre… or roast pork with crackling so crisp you could here it snap from the other side of the room.
These are just some of the 19 must-eat dishes for 2019.
Taken from the delicious.100 out tomorrow in The Sunday Mail's U on Sunday, they show the depth and breadth of our food scene across Queensland.
Whether it be Italian porchetta, Thai curry or Chinese flat bread, our chefs are turning out dishes that will make even the hardest-to-please foodie salivate.
The delicious.100 celebrates Queensland's 100 most delicious restaurants, and if the below are enough to get your mouth watering, well they're not even from our top 20 venues.
But what they are is truly outstanding.
Dished out by some of the most respected chefs in the country including Jake Nicolson at Donna Chang, Ben Bertei at Longtime and Jake Pregnell at Little Valley, they're dishes worth visiting the restaurant for alone.
And best of all, they're all accessible and won't break the bank, like the $22 margherita pizza at Julius in South Brisbane.
"We use an amazing Stefano Ferrara oven which reaches 430 degrees and cooks pizzas in 90 seconds to two minutes," owner Cordell Khory says.
"Our pizzas have a crispy chewiness and they are light and airy.
"This lightens comes from the slow fermentation which makes them easy to digest and doesn't leave you feeling heavy."
1. BEEF CHEEK RED CURRY
610 Ann St, Fortitude Valley
With meltingly tender Angus beef in a sauce that expertly layers in the sweet-sour-salty-bitter balance of Thai cooking, this dish is death-row worthy. Add the outstanding accompanying pork and sweet potato dumplings into the equation and it's a rib-sticking dish that you'd happily go out on.
2. SALT AND PEPPER QUAIL EGGS
East St, Fortitude Valley
There's a reason this dish has stayed on the menu at this cheap and cheerful Chinese eatery, even after it moved from Spring Hill into the Valley. It's because locals simply can't get enough of these bargain-priced ($10) bites of salt-and-pepper pleasure. Cooked until their centre runs with a ribbon of yolk, they come tossed in fried onions, chilli and other tasty bits making them a perfect starter, middle or end to a meal.
3. LOBSTER AND CHIVE HAR GOW
6 Warner St, Fortitude Valley
Harnessing the sweetest of crustacean wrapped in breath-thin pastry, these steamed dumplings will elicit groans and moans of pure pleasure. But to make the most of them, be sure to sit them in a spoon, pour in the accompanying dipping sauce and suck them into your mouth. Even better with one of the quirky Asian-inspired cocktails at this neo-Chinese restaurant.
4. MARGHERITA PIZZA
77 Grey St, South Brisbane
Using Italian flour and given a 48-hour ferment, this dough creation is among the best you'd find anywhere in Italy. The simple topping of juicy tomatoes, fior di latte and basil ensures the real star of the show shines brightest - the base: charry, bubbly and with that signature chew.
5. SPANNER CRAB RAVIOLI
Shop 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
Pan-Asian eatery Mamasan brings Italy and Thailand together in a tasty multicultural mouthful you'll need more than one plate of. Perfectly al dente pasta encases a generous serve of sweet crab, boosted by an aromatic bisque of fish sauce, coconut, ginger and chilli to create a dish of refinement and punch.
6. CHINESE FLAT BREAD
123 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba
Fried until dark golden, its almost paper-thin edges shattering like glass, while its chewy centre harbours sticky glazed pork and peppy kimchi. This is Chinese flat bread Spice-Bar-style, and it's terrific.
7. CUMIN LAMB BUNS
171 George St, Brisbane
Like perfect little parcels, their base pan-fried till golden and the filling soft and luscious, these buns may be for sharing, but you'll want to eat them all yourself. Swipe them through the incendiary chilli dipping sauce and they walk the right side of the line between pleasure and pain.
8. EDAMAME DIP
1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Best described as the Japanese version of guacamole, this dip made from mashed immature soybeans is like crack. Use the corn-chip-imitating deep-fried wonton wrappers to scoop it up and you'll be hooked and planning your next fix.
9. RANGERS VALLEY BEEF CHEEKS
3/61 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane
This is not a dish for first dates, as you'll want to stick your head in the bowl and lick it clean. The beef cheeks are rendered until melting tenderness, collapsing at the touch of a fork. And if your cholesterol levels aren't spiking enough, the cheeks rest on a decadent, butter-rich celeriac and cauliflower puree doused with an intense pedro ximinez reduction and scattering of wafer-thin, sweet potato crisps.
10. SMOKED PUMPKIN
6/11 Logan Rd, Woolloongabba
You'll never question eating all your vegetables again with pumpkin this good. Thick wedges of the kent variety come roasted until soft and yielding, and dusted with a nubbly maltose powder, supporting hunks of aerated fudge pieces resembling honeycomb. With dollops of mustard for tang and heat, it's a fiery combination of savoury and sweet worth booking the restaurant for alone.
11. SEAFOOD SAN CHOI BAO
The Ville Resort-casino, Sir Leslie Thiess Drive, Townsville
The Chinese version of a taco sees lettuce cups filled with water chestnut, bamboo shoot, snow pea and a mix of prawn and scallop to create addictive little morsels impossible to stop at just one.
12. THE BOMBE
Sidon St, South Bank
The long-admired signature dessert of this riverside eatery, "the bombe" is like Queensland summers on a plate. A take on the classic bombe Alaska, it features frozen white chocolate parfait, strawberries and toasted meringue that's just sweet enough.
13. MORETON BAY BUG TORTELLINI
6 Bayview St, Runaway Bay
A signature of chef/owner Daniel Ridgeway, these just al dente pasta parcels filled with a coarsely ground seafood blend to create texture and mouthfeel, while a creamy sauce spiked with mustard fruits delivers hits of aniseed.
14. TUNA MAGURO
2440 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Tuna so fresh it seems like it's been plucked straight from the ocean and put on to your plate is the star of this stunning inside-out sushi roll. The fish comes two ways: raw and diced on the inside and oh-so-gently seared on the outside with a puddle of dry miso and sesame yuzu for dipping.
15. STICKY DATE DOUGHNUTS
14 Austin St, Newstead
The clever folk at this inner-city bistro have merged two of the greatest desserts of all time together to create fluffy, sugar-dusted balls filled with rich, sticky date sauce. Accompanied by fresh figs, macadamia gelato from Brisbane's La Macelleria and a salted butterscotch sauce, it's a dish you'll happily run an hour on the treadmill for.
16. GUAVA, MASCARPONE AND HONEY DESSERT
Stanley Place, South Brisbane
Conjuring images of a Japanese rock garden, a quenelle of the silkiest of honey ice creams sits atop pebbles of nitrogen-frozen mascarpone dotted with pearls of blackberry, finger lime and marigold petals, concealing spoonfuls of guava sorbet. Not too sweet, well-balanced, fresh and cleansing, this is a dessert as elegant, refined and sophisticated as the restaurant's Gallery of Modern Art location.
17. SWEET POTATO HUMMUS AND FLAT BREAD
Three Blue Ducks
81 North Quay, Brisbane
Flaky, buttery and devastatingly more-ish is the roti-style bread being turned out of the wood-fired oven at this Brisbane River-facing restaurant. Swiped through silken sweet potato hummus with nutty black sesame, the vegan-friendly nod to the Middle East is cracker whether you eat meat or not.
18. DUCK RAGU
10 Vernon Terrace, Teneriffe
Even in the top restaurants of Italy you'd be hard-pressed to find a pasta dish as good as the Pappardelle al Ragù d'Anatra at this Brisbane institution. Al dente ribbons of hand-made pappardelle twirl around melting bites of duck in a rich and bitey tomato sauce providing comfort and pleasure in equal measure.
Level 2, 300 George St, Brisbane
This rustic Italian pork dish has popped up on menu across Queensland, but the version at new Brisbane city restaurant Persone is arguably the best. The juicy slab of belly meat comes rolled and stuffed, and encircled with the crispest of crackling so good you'll be begging the chef for the recipe.