A few weeks ago now following a wonderful weekend on the Gold Coast attending the Problogger Event, I popped into Brisbane to visit a good friend before returning to Melbourne. It was wonderfully hot and sunny and I had just arrived in time for the Brisbane Festival.
We decided to take an extra long walk from New Farm through to Southbank so Helene could play tour guide starting in James Street shopping and cafe strip.
Knowing me all too well, our first stop was the James Street Market in Fortitude Valley. Entering the market, one is greeted by the smiling buddha and bursts of colour from the flower shop just inside the doorway. Once inside, the eye is drawn over neatly stacked stalls of fresh produce, fragrant herbs and accompanied by the smell of freshly baked bread and hot pastries wafting over from the french bakery. There is also a fresh fish and meat market, cafe and homewares store to explore.
Helene leads me to the back of the market where the selection of both Australian and European cheeses is quite impressive . She points to her favourite French varieties of Camembert which she laments she is no longer able to eat since becoming Vegan. I credit Helene with teaching me on how to eat soft cheeses the ‘French’ way when we first met in Melbourne years back- by enjoying a generous portion of cheese in one hand followed separately by a small bite of a fresh crusty baguette in the other. Not smeared together like we tend to do here in Australia. I recall I had a large glass of French red somewhere close by too…
Walking along James Street, you will also find some great fashions stores like Sass and Bide and Zimmerman as well as quirky design shops below like Greenhouse. At Greenhouse you can find a plethora of beautifully designed kitchenware items that you never knew you needed until now..also find furniture, jewellery and gifts for the lovely ‘little’ people in your life.
Next Helene is eager to show me a bar that I wont find in Melbourne called Cloudland. When we arrive, we step off the busy high street into a calm garden oasis of greenery, cascading vines and waterfalls and look up towards a spiral staircase leading to a ceiling of open blue sky. She’s right, I wont find this in Melbourne. The venue stretches over 3 levels, containing 2 bars, a restaurants and event spaces. I quite enjoy my cocktail within this Aladdin’s cave of Brisbane while we escape the heat outside.
Next, it was time for some refueling to reward ourselves for all that walking. Helene assured me that she knew where the BEST cake in the world could be found AND that it was chocolate. I was sold! Helene converted to Vegan a while back and really loves raw desserts. This beauty came from a small takeaway outlet called VegeRama in the Myer Centre located next to the Brisbane Mall. The cheesecake was creamy and rich, made of tofu, coconut milk and dark chocolate rounded of by the crunchy nutty crumbly base. It was outrageously good -I recommend a visit if you happen to be in the area.
We then rolled into Southbank and took in a show at the Brisbane Festival on a lovely balmy evening
As Monday morning rolled around, it was time to head back home unfortunately but not without a visit to Winn Lane, Fortitude Valley – Brisbane’s version of Melbourne style laneways’. I popped into the Flamingo Cafe on recommendation from The Design Files which you can check out here. If you do get the chance, be sure to get your caffeine hit here, the staff are so very lovely and the menu is simple and comforting with an emphasis on great produce. The decor is a little quirky too with hand written menu’s, white wrought iron garden furniture and the gorgeous ‘jungle’ room inside which makes you feel like you just stepped into a retro Amazon scene.
See you again soon Brisbane xo