Fresh flavours and seasonal produce from local farms and producers are the stars of spring menus at cafes and restaurant around the region.
Don’t miss these foodie faves:
The Finch, Toowoomba
Perch yourself at the front window of The Finch Café while you sample their Spring offerings and watch the world go by.
Try the spicy Indonesian-style chicken gado gado – a taste sensation of crunchy vegetables, boiled eggs, seared chicken, peanut sauce & coriander or the salt and pepper calamari with a salad of shaved radish, dill, fennel and orange.
Bunnyconnellen Olive Grove, Crows Nest
There’s no better place to chill in the Spring sun than at Bunnyconnellen with a simple Margherita pizza topped with freshly plucked herbs and an abundant cheese platter featuring Stanthorpe Cheese and the farm’s own olives, washed down with a crisp white from their cellar door.
Relax on the verandah or laze on a blanket under the majestic Moreton Bay Fig trees to enjoy the fresh air and views of the olive grove.
Encores at the Empire, Toowoomba
For something really special in the heart of Toowoomba, book at Encores and then take in a show at Empire Theatre.
The Spring menu features entrees such as roasted pumpkin, tempura cauliflower, truffle oil, hummus, candied onion, deep fried basil, popped grains and yoghurt; mains like lamb rack, Iranian date, garlic silver beets, celeriac puree and apricot cous cous and desserts like chocolate panna cotta, pistachio, blood orange cris and fresh cream.
The Barrelroom at Ballandean Estate, Ballandean
Generous Italian home-style cooking paired with Ballandean Estate Wines awaits you at The Barrelroom.
Try the fresh and zingy Sicilian-style tuna carpaccio with confit garlic creme, baby rocket, fried capers, dill, roasted chilli, extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon, along with the full- bodied smooth and creamy 2017 Viognier; or for a local taste, order the wild-caught local venison and mushroom tarte tatin with Ballandean PO pumpkin purée, mustard fruits, dressed rocket and chocolate balsamic glaze, matched with the medium-bodied aromatic 2017 ‘Messing About’ Shiraz Viognier.
Be sure to finish with the tarte tatin of Stanthorpe apples with burnt orange sauce and vanilla bean gelato, paired with the 2016 Late Harvest Viognier – a sweet, viscous full-bodied white with notes of apricot & honeysuckle.
Varias Restaurant, Stanthorpe
Varias at Queensland College of Wine Tourism embodies what eating and drinking on the Granite Belt is all about – locally grown food beautifully prepared and complimented by locally-made wine.
The chef’s signature Medley of Mains features three dishes paired with three of the College’s own Banca Ridge wines. The Spring selection includes a grilled chorizo and haloumi skewer with roasted pumpkin, hummus and vincotto; crispy fried quail with roasted root vegetable salad, pickled garlic, and a deep roasted sesame seed dressing; local Mallow organic lamb terrine with a cumin crust, minted pea puree, roasted truss tomatoes, and a red wine jus.
If you have room, the peanut butter and jelly panna cotta is the perfect finish! You’re welcome to taste more wines at the cellar door and be sure to book ahead to tour the winery.
Urban Paddock Cafe, Dalby
Set in historic Quambi House (circa 1909), Urban Paddock is a family-friendly café offering contemporary relaxed dining.
Sit on the wide verandahs of this classic Queenslander and breakfast on French toasted fruit loaf with crème brulee, lemon curd, fresh fruits, berries and honeycomb or find a table in the sunny garden and settle in for a tasty spring lunch of truffled duck breast with poached beetroot, citrus salad, whipped goats cheese, parsnip crème, port red wine reduction and beetroot gel.