Blonde Ambition’s 5 Brisbane dates under $50
Blonde Ambition’s Brooke Falvey shares her favourite cheap and cheerful Brisbane date ideas.
Have you ever spent days deliberating over a date venue, wondering if it’s got the right vibe, friendly staff and great food and/or drinks? The good news is I’m here to help (at least for those who live in Brisbane). Consider me your gastronomic love guide. While long-written off as a big country town, Brisbane has come into its own in recent years and now boasts a veritable feast of places to eat, drink and dance your way into someone’s heart. Here are five of my favourites.
A late night supper club and bar, Farrier is the newest addition to Fortitude Valley’s James Street precinct, tucked away underneath the iconic QA Hotel. The bar’s decor is a nod to the venue’s former life as stables with beautiful black and white artworks of horses, exposed brick walls and striking metal work features. There are comfy couches to make yourself at home in, as well as little nooks and crannies, and dark corners for doing dark deeds (yes I stole that line from Love Actually). While my date settled on a beer, I decided to spice things up with The Passion, a fruity mix of Vodka, Cointreau, Chambord, passion fruit, lime and apple ($16).
There’s something intimate about sharing food so we ordered the Blow Torched Scallops served in a crispy turmeric wafer taco; Rustic Spiced Sweet Potato Chips served with Japanese mayo ($10.50); and the BBQ Pork Steamed Buns served with Hoi Sin sauce ($10.50) and weren’t disappointed by either offering.
Opening hours: 12pm to 2am, seven days a week.
Chester St Bakery & Bar
A bakery by day, Chester Street serves up coffee, signature cakes, desserts and sourdough bread as well as an all-day (everyday!) brunch menu, but it’s when the lights go down that things heat up with late night desserts and cakes as well as a full bar with beer, wine and hand-crafted cocktails. On Friday and Saturday nights they also fire up the wood fired pizza oven. On my recent visit, my date and I shared a Brown Sugar pizza, a mouth-watering combination of meatballs, pancetta, provolone, bourbon and barbeque sauce ($25) before sharing a dessert.
After drooling in front of the delectable range of desserts and cakes which include a Rainbow Cake, Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake and Mini Oreo Cheesecake, we settled on the Snickers Cheesecake topped with Oreo pieces which comes served in a parfait glass ($10).
We then experienced the time-honoured tradition of the spoon battle to see who could get the most. He’s a chivalrous guy so, naturally, I won. Located down a side street in Newstead, Chester Street offers both indoor and alfresco dining in a casual and relaxed environment. There’s onsite and street parking available and it’s just a short walk from the restaurants and bars of James Street, as well as the cinemas if you’re not quite ready to say goodnight after catching a movie.
Opening hours: 7am to late (brunch until 3pm), seven days a week
Located in a revamped old corner shop, Billykart Kitchen boasts an intimate, homely feel with a touch of the eclectic. It’s like eating breakfast (or lunch or dinner) at your favourite kitchen table but knowing you don’t have to clean up afterwards. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable about the day’s specials and what options are available for the fresh juices (think watermelon, carrot, mint, ginger and orange to name a few) so you can create your preferred blend. Owned and operated by Chef Ben O’Donoghue, the breakfast menu is available daily until 11.30am and serves up seasonal produce including Date, Apple and Quinoa Bircher Muesli with Roasted Coconut, Hazelnut & Pecans; Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes with coconut caramel bananas; and Poached or Scrambled Eggs on sourdough. I had the Crispy Corn Fritters with avocado and heirloom tomatoes ($18) while my date had the Scrambled Eggs with sourdough ($12). Despite being satisfied with my breakfast and freshly-squeezed orange juice ($7.50), I couldn’t help but eye off the assorted baked goods on offer at the counter before settling on some fresh flowers and stretching my legs in the nearby park. Billykart Kitchen is a fully licensed venue with great daily specials and all day dining on weekends. Street parking is available.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 6:30am (kitchen opens from 7.00am) – 5:00pm. Friday: 6:30am – 9:00pm. Saturday – Sunday: 7:00am – 2:00pm
Located right on the Brisbane River, Riverlife is the perfect inner-city playground for unbeatable adventures. Live out your wildest dreams rock climbing the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, taking a Segway spin under the majestic Story Bridge or gliding down the river in a nighttime kayak with the dazzling city lights as your backdrop. If chilling out is more your speed, they also offer regular events featuring some of Brisbane’s hottest bands and DJs, or simple grab and boutique beer on a Sunday afternoon and watch the river float by. Activities include stand up paddle boarding, Segway, abseiling, rock climbing, cycling, kayaking and rollerblading, with prices ranging from $20 per person for cycling to $139 for the Segway & BBQ or Segway and Prawn experience. Limited parking is available on site but you can also park at the top of the cliffs and walk down the stairs. Rock climbing with Riverlife is $55 per person.
Opening hours: 9am to 9pm, seven days a week
With views overlooking Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge, Madame Wu proclaims itself to be a bar and restaurant best suited for those with “exquisite taste and a desire for the exotic”.
Boasting a modern Asian silhouette, Madame Wu’s mood lighting, romantic view and magnificent bamboo entrance with sculptured tree will transport you to a far-off place.
They have an extensive wine cellar, signature cocktail list and have both a resident Sommelier and Mixologist (cocktail maker). While we perused the menu and admired the view, I started with a Summertime Punch mocktail ($10) which was a tantalising blend of pineapple and cranberry juice mixed with a passion fruit and watermelon puree. As well as their cocktail list, they also have cocktail jugs and mocktails available. Food wise, we settled on a mixture of share plates including the pumpkin, sweet potato & water chestnut rice noodle roll ($10); pan fried scallop dumplings, verjus butter, black tobiko ($20); and moreton bay bug dumpling, xo & lime ($18) and it’s impossible to pick which was my favourite because they were all so good.
Opening hours: 12pm until late, seven days a week
By Brooke Falvey, Blonde Ambition
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