You've tried every burger place in town, heaped mac 'n' cheese on everything and worked your way through Brisbane's newest restaurants. Feeling like you've eaten every single Brissie meal there is? That's understandable, but the city's eateries still have more than a few inventive dishes on their menus.
With MasterChef Australia turning every food fiend into a gourmand over the show's decade-long run, Brisbane's restaurants have stepped up, serving up different takes on old favourites, creative options you'd never expect and everything in between. Rest assured, you can eat your way around town and never feel like you're eating the same old thing.
We can't promise that Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris have tried our top ten unexpected finds, but we're pretty certain they'd like the sound of bug dumplings, black garlic bread and mulled wine ice cream — and more.
Brisbane might be experiencing a German pub bonanza, with two opening around the city in just the last two months, but the city's original slice of Deutschland still reigns supreme. If you want a piece of pork that'll make you feel like you've stepped on a plane to Europe — or sent your tastebuds across the world, at the very least — then you'll find it here.
There's a reason that the pork knuckle is one of the restaurant's signature dishes, all one whopping kilogram of it. Keeping every mouthful of the meal authentic, it comes with juicy fried potatoes, a hefty helping of sauerkraut and a big splash of smoked beer gravy.
Hankering for a sweet treat, but feel like you should be opting for fruit rather than ice cream? Why not combine both? Eat Street's Double Good doesn't just serveup fruit-flavoured ice cream or even ice cream with fruit chunks mixed in — rather, it swirls its soft serve directly into a slice of watermelon.
Extremely delicious and incredibly photogenic, it's the ultimate dessert for Brisbane's year-round warm climate. You can also opt for soft serve dished up in a coconut or a pineapple (or, let's face it, you can head back three times and try them all).
Usually, when you order a serving of spring rolls, the resulting crisp cylinders come filled with vegetables and meat. There's nothing usual about Heya Bar's spring rolls, however — unless cheeseburger spring rolls sounds ordinary to you. It's the food mash-up that you didn't know you needed. Best of all, it goes well with everything else on the Brunswick Street bar's menu. You can pair them with a plate of fries — and complete the North American fast-food meal — or travel down the Asian street food path with bao, karaage and edamame.
Pizza for breakfast is a hungover person's dream. Carbonara for breakfast — that's something that can be enjoyed by everyone. Forget whatever you thought you should be eating to break the fast, and make Morning After's famous dish your go-to brekkie. Whether you're recovering from a big night or just feel like some creamy carbs, this blend of pappardelle, field mushrooms, smoked pancetta and manchego hits the spot. It's also topped with a 63-degree eggs and is available until 4pm seven days a week.
The brainchild of chef Damon Amos, Kentucky Fried Duck (or, KFD) has been a Brisbane favourite for quite a few years now, and you probably even tried it over at Public — where Amos used to work as head chef. But when he moved to Detour in Woolloongabba, he took his famous dish with him.
There, in the shadow of the Gabba, it's served with jalapeño cornbread and sour cream, which make for a rather stellar combo. And, if you're feeling like a feast, it's just one of the inventive dishes on the menu — alongside emu tartare, master stock salmon with black ants and fossilised carrots.
Located in Eagle Street's Riparian Plaza, Madame Wu has no less than four creative dumplings on its menu, including pan-fried scallops with verjus butter, pork with corn puree and lamb with eggplant. There's one type that's worth booking a table for alone, however: the Moreton Bay bug dumplings. If you're a seafood-lover, then you're probably accustomed to automatically selecting the bug option on every menu, and your instincts won't steer you wrong here. Served in plates of four, the tasty parcels arrive with XO sauce and lime.
Peking duck tastes great however it's served — whether it's stuffed in savoury pancakes, turned into san choy bow or eaten one succulent sliver at a time. Or, at Red Hook, you can devour it in tacos for the ultimate mix of Asian and Mexican staples. The tacos also arrive stuffed with slaw, fried shallots and hoisin sauce, which really bring out the flavour of the duck.
If you're eager for another mash-up while you're there, wash it down with a pickled cheeseburger martini — while it doesn't feature any minced beef, it does mix together vodka, pickle brine, mustard and a strip of bacon.
If you're cooking garlic bread at home and it adopts a darkened shade, that's not a good sign. But this is not the case at Gauge. Here, black garlic bread doesn't mean that the chef got distracted — it's exactly how it is supposed to look and taste. The restaurant's best-known dish since it opened in 2015, the black piece of fermented bread is made from ash, vanilla pods and treacle, and served with burnt butter and burnt vanilla. Even better — it can accompany both savoury and sweet meals, and it's available all day.
DRY-AGED BEEF TARTARE, WALTER'S STEAKHOUSE
One of Brisbane's newest steak joints, Walter's isn't your standard steak, potatoes and salad kind of eatery — not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. Here, opposite the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens on Alice Street in the CBD, you'll sit on red leather seats, get comfy amidst other retro-style furnishings and tuck into dry-aged slaps of meat.
Or, you can feast on our pick, a dry-aged beef tartare. Made from raw, ground steak, it comes with cornichons, eschallots, mustard and cured egg yolk, and pairs particularly well with a heavy glass of red.
MULLED WINE ICE CREAM, DEER DUCK BISTRO
Everything can be turned into ice cream, as many a gelateria and ice creamery have demonstrated in recent years. To the delight of booze-loving dessert fiends, that also includes alcohol. But you won't find this standout boozy dessert at any old gelateria.
This mulled wine ice cream is one of the sweet highlights at Auchenflower degustation favourite Deer Duck Bistro, and it's accompanied by chocolate rose ice cream and seasonal berries. Love wine? Love mulled wine? Love ice cream? Of course you do, and this blend of all of the above won't disappoint.