Eating Brisbane: Australia’s Unsung City (Vol. II)

While it is true that there are no songs about Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, a brief walk through this burgeoning metropolis’ bohemian centre of West End will give you something to sing about.  One possible reason why there are no songs about Brisbane is because everyone’s mouth is too full of delicious food and drink to contemplate composing even the smallest ditty.


The West End of Brisbane, which is actually in the South of the city – don’t ask me why – has something to satisfy every palette and any budget.

On the top end of the scale I can heartily recommend the Lychee Lounge for refined food and creative cocktails that will leave your head spinning and your stomach begging you to make reservations to come back again and again.  It’s always a good sign when the staff at a restaurant or bar doesn’t want to go home.  On any given night you’ll find Chefs Texas and Otis saddled up to the Lychee’s sophisticated bar, in the process of culinary innovation, discussing gluten free and vegetarian options in addition to the old Aussie standby of Victorian lamb.  These cutting edge chefs’ constant dedication to the culinary arts has given rise to what is arguably the best menu in town, incorporating notes of Tapas and Asian cuisine with the freshest ingredients, and their own singular style.  It’s most likely that your whistle will need wetting before, during and after eating, and the Lychee Lounge’s cocktail menu is as long as your arm, a full 26 pages of libidinous libation.

A short walk up Boundary Street will take you to the newest addition to the food fest that is the West End.  Char Char Yiros is a family run Greek, Barbecue and Mediterranean joint with sidewalk seating, and main courses for under $15 Australian.  Since its opening earlier this year, the smell of charcoal cooked meat has attracted the locals, and smiles are growing in tandem with local waste lines. Australia has a long tradition of Greek and Mediterranean food – it is said that for a while there were more Greeks in Australia than there were in Greece – so clearly the locals know authentic Greek cuisine when they see it, and Char Char Yiros is it.  And if you need a little exercise to work off your meal, stop in at the Rumpus Room just next store and have yourself a boogie.

The Rumpus Room is the unofficial town hall of the West End, with rockin’ Dj’s on every night of the week.  It’s the best place to press the flesh with local hipsters or have a dance with visitors from all over the world.

Before you leave Australia, it is guaranteed that someone will ask you if you’ve tried “a pie”, and by this they mean the iconic meat pie.  Brisbane’s West End delivers a classic pie experience at Kim Tan, a Vietnamese bakery, whose British meat pies are an institution, attracting cabbies, cops, and pie aficionados from all over the state.  Your standard, “Plain Steak Pie” will only set you back $2.20 Australian, and keep you going all day – a true blue Aussie adventure not to be missed, Mate.

So whether you’re in the mood for hip fusion, alfresco Mediterranean, or a lesson in mate-ship and Down Under culture, Brisbane’s West End is the best and most affordable place to get your eat on.  All of the places mentioned are within walking distance of each other, so take a stroll down Boundary Street and see what tickles your fancy.  There’s something for everyone.

September 8, 2010