Remember the days when Soutbank was once a place hated by locals and visited only by tourists? I remember those painful Sunday shifts I used to do in 38 degree heat at Cold Rock Icecreamery, mashing up Tim Tams into a litre cookie dough icecream at a time for the families visiting out of town, showing their kids the ‘big smoke’ and swimming at the man made beach, they were not fond memories.
But these days, Southbank has become a trendy hub for locals wanting to indulge in some amazing food any time of day, and be entertained by the diverse people watching at hand or of course, enjoy a drink at one of the numerous bogan-less bars around the place. As a result, over the past few years I have done plenty of market research, and here is the short list of Southbank’s Best:
When it comes to food and wine, you can rely on the French to nail it. And Piaf looks taste like it has been teleported from Paris as they believe in fresh produce, butter and operate under the philosophy that less is more. The seasonal menu provides you with a few options for each meal, all of which are on the smaller side when it comes to portion size, but leaves you feeling satisfied rather than stuffed. The breakfast menu’s stars of the show are the Avocado on sourdough w with roasted sweet corn and coriander salsa and the porcini omelette with truffle oil. Or if you’re looking for a meal later in the day, the dinner menu is ever changing and inclusive of rich orange infused duck dishes and perfectly cooked steaks with buttery sides.
If you’re looking for a night cap and cheese board dessert after a meal at Piaf, you can head to their sister bar Sardine Tin, the optimum place to set up shop and watch the world go by once the sun goes down. You can get a tasting plate full of cheese, quince and crisp breads and team it with a selection of cured meats and house marinated olives. If that doesn’t do the job, the Soy braised pork belly sandwich with kimchi and a bowl of the kipfler potato fires with chipotle mayo will certainly do the job…. beats going to Cold Rock, that is for sure!
The first thing I think of when someone says Spain is TAPAS and the second thing that comes to mind is SANGRIA. Thankfully I don’t need to travel across the world to find them, I can just head to Ole and enjoy some lethal but delicious sangria (concocted with either red or white wine) and some delicious small, overpriced dishes to share with friends. But I would head here for the amazing drinks, atmosphere and stuffed olives rather than a full meal.
Inspired by old roman romance, Popolo has certainly seduced me. At the moment I don’t think there is any better place to enjoy a long, lazy lunch with friends on a weekend. The best place to start is with one of their perfectly shaken espresso martinis or Mojitos to ensure you have the energy to power through the lengthy lunch, then of course the share plates, the stand out being the pork and beef meats balls and aranchini balls. For the main, you can’t go paste the suckling pig share dish with apple peach compote – it will fall apart in your mouth and leave you wanting more. If you have a large group, fill in the gaps with their perfect potatoes (uber crunchy out, super soft inner) or wafer thin pizzas topped with only the most gourmet toppings. You will be amazing by how cheap the bill is at the end of it once you have eaten and drunk the day away.
I may not be an expert of wine, coffee or caviar, but I know my way around a burger and consider myself quiet the expert when it comes to gourmet burgers. Bestie Boys have led the way the likes of Grill’s pale in any comparison. The burgers are everything a burger should be – a parcel of juicy, beefy goodness topped with the best ingredients you can imagine. The highlights are the The frenchie burger which are loaded with a melted rocqueforte cheese and onion jam, or the Spice Route burger which is layered with spiced sweet potato, haloumi and hommus. You will return time and time again, trust me.