5 insanely delicious dishes to try in Brisbane

It may have been seen as Australia’s Sleepy Hollow in the past, but Brisbane’s diverse food scene is just as exciting as that of Sydney and Melbourne. You’ll find something delicious around just about every corner, from fine dining and excellent coffee to a quick bite at a pavement café. Lynda Ingham-Brown shares five of her favourite finds in Brisbane.

Strawberry panna cotta at Otto

Make sure you save space for dessert at Otto, the latest venue from the team behind Quay and Bennelong in Sydney. The views over the Brisbane River, a contemporary Italian-inspired menu from chef Will Cowper, and super-stylish décor are a recipe for success. Try dishes such as braised rabbit with gnocchi (yes, I did!), Wagyu shortrib with pickled carrots, cucumber and salsa verde and, desserts of lemon custard, fennel granita (surprisingly delicious) and lemon sorbet, or the silky smooth strawberry panna cotta, topped with crunchy Amaretti biscuits and a refreshingly tart yoghurt gelato. You’ll be glad you did.

The strawberry panna cotta. Photo by Lynda Ingham-Brown.

The strawberry panna cotta. Photo by Lynda Ingham-Brown.

Banh mi at Kim Thanh Hot Bread

This tiny shop might not look like much, but makes the most delicious Vietnamese banh mi – grilled pork on a freshly baked baguette spread with mayonnaise and topped with pickled carrots, coriander and a very pleasing salty-hot secret sauce. They’re a steal at just $6. Order extra chilli if you dare. You won’t want to share – take our word for it!

Anything at Cake & Bake

Pop in here for a delicious range of bakes, sweet and savoury, from gluten-free chocolate and hazelnut cupcakes, caramel butter cake, gluten-free raspberry-and-coconut bites, specials of the day, plus salads for lunch. Everything is made using produce from owner Jocelyn Hancock’s family farm. The slick red-and-white décor shows off the wares perfectly – as if you needed any encouragement. Homemade preserves and jams are also available.

A caramel butter cake. Photo by Lynda Ingham-Brown.

A caramel butter cake. Photo by Lynda Ingham-Brown.

Bubble and squeak at Sassafras Cantee

Come hungry when you visit this relaxed and dog-friendly café. The bubble and squeak is encased in a deep-fried, crunchy coating and contains potatoes, peas and carrots. It’s balanced on a pea purée, served with poached eggs and bacon or avo – if you’re that way inclined. Add a freshly squeezed juice or a perfect flat white, take a seat in the sunny courtyard, and you’ll be as happy as Larry. There is also a selection of cakes, including various gluten-free options.

Bubble and squeak in a crispy batter. Photo  by Lynda Ingham-Brown.

Bubble and squeak in a crispy batter. Photo by Lynda Ingham-Brown.

Ramen at Genkotsu Ramen

Here it’s all about the ramen and its various incarnations. Choose your broth (salt with pork, soya, gyokai [fish] or miso), then choose your topping (extra pork, black garlic, karaage [fried chicken] or tsuke men – noodles and broth in separate bowls) and stipulate whether you want extra noodles for extra slurping. Most come topped with nitamago, hard-boiled eggs marinated overnight in a special sauce, a piece of wakame (seaweed) and bamboo shoots. Take a number, sit down and wait in anticipation. The broth is perfect umami-rich comfort in a bowl and the pork salty and delicious. Put your head down and start slurping.

The glorious ramen at Genkotsu. Photo by Lynda Ingham-Brown.

The glorious ramen at Genkotsu. Photo by Lynda Ingham-Brown.

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