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A bite of Brisbane

The former head chef of Zuma and Nobu restaurants, Queenslander Ross Shonhan, shares his foodie guide to Brisbane

A bite of Brisbane
The Bun Mobile, Brisbane. Image: Getty

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Best for breakfast
Don’t miss Strauss, down a lane opposite the Hilton on Elizabeth St — you can’t beat the hot smoked salmon rillettes with preserved lemon and a boiled egg. Alternatively, Pearl (T: 00 61 7 3392 3300) is a winner on a Saturday morning. My last breakfast here was polenta with a duck egg, washed down with a couple of espresso macchiatos. Its thick-cut bacon with avocado is worth the visit alone, too. 

Best for seafood
Brisbane’s daily catch is out of this world. If you have a kitchen at your disposal, stock up from the trawlers at Gold Coast Fisherman’s Co-Op or Mooloolaba and cook up a seafood storm, while the green tiger prawns from Samies Fresh Seafood Market are to die for. Elsewhere, JellyFish restaurant does a decent job of preparing fine dishes of line-caught fish, from swordfish to snapper and yellowfin tuna. The view’s not to be sniffed at either, overlooking the Brisbane River. 

Best for fine dining
You can’t do much better than Saké — order the red claw tempura or Wagyu cheek. Cha Cha Char, meanwhile, is a Brisbane institution for steak heralding from Queensland pastures. Master kobe sirloin melts in your mouth, particularly when matched with wine from McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley. A cross section of Grange can also be found here, though serious wine lovers can find more joy among the smaller single vineyard producers, such as Kay Brothers.  

Best for views
Pull up a chair at Blackbird, order a cold beer and watch the world go by. The bar of this plush restaurant in Brisbane’s Riverside Centre has fantastic views of the Story Bridge, the river and spectacular sunsets.

Best for street food
Head to Eat Street Markets on Hamilton Wharf every Friday and Saturday, and take your pick from churros, chicken satay, chargrilled prawns, and more. Or seek out Danny’s Bun food truck — just because it does steamed buns.

The chef

After serving his apprenticeship in in some of the best Brisbane restaurants, Ross Shonhan moved to London and opened Bone Daddies, Soho’s rock ’n’ roll ramen bar, in 2012, while 2013 welcomed Flesh & Buns, a Japanese-inspired ‘izakaya’ specialising in gua bao buns. Bone Daddies Kensington followed in 2014, with Bone Daddies Shoreditch set to open this spring.


Published in the March 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)