Monday, December 9, 2013

Keeping it simple

With the holiday season approaching I will admit to getting in the spirit and spending some time and hard earned dollars on one of my favourite games of risk: online shopping.

So what have I purchased lately?

To start with - this gorgeous Ted Baker Playsuit. I spotted this a few months ago and deliberated over it for a long, long time until I took the plunge and bought it from House of Fraser and I'm so glad I did! I'm yet to find the right occasion to wear it but have a few lined up and honestly can't wait to take this baby for a spin.
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The next item I purchased is this pink crepe dress (which I am still waiting to get in the mail - not happy Topshop!). I think this is going to be a great, wearable dress for summer and plan on wearing it with wedges and some chunky jewellery. It's simply and classic and actually comes in a bunch of different colours if you're interested in getting your own - I've spotted green, cobalt, red, and black to name a few.     

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Ok so I didn't buy these ones but this is what the Boyfriend is getting me for Christmas so I've got some  black ankle boots for the UK in February. These are form the Wittner sale page and I love the fact they are just a little different to a lot of the boots I've seen around. The large band around them can be completely removed so you can wear them in different ways too. I can't wait for our trip to roll around to sport them with black skinnies, a leather jacket and scarf.
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I saw this black and blue cap sleeve daisy print dress on sale on the New Look website for $11 and figured it was probably worth the *huge* expense. In summer I'm going to belt it up and pair it with gladiators and in winter it will be perfect with tights and my ankle boots. 

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Finally, I got myself a new dairy as Kikki K sent me a $10 off voucher. As I'm turning 30 in February I decided to go for something cute but crown up and this was what I chose...Merry Christmas to me!

Have you made any Christmas purchases or yourself? I'd love to know if you have - leave me a comment below.
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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Crisps

This post is short and sweet - quite literally!

Lately, the Boyfriend and I have been trying to eat a mostly Paleo diet (with the exception of a couple of cheat meals on date night) to improve our overall health and wellbeing. We have tried to eliminate almost all grains, dairy and processed food from our diet and are sticking to wholefoods as much as we can. But what do we do when at that sweet tooth just can't be ignored?

Make Cinnamon Apple Crisps!

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These are so simple and super delicious - plus they last a few days so we can save them for when we really need a treat.

1. Core your apples and slice them up as thin as you can get 'em then sprinkle them with cinnamon.
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 photo IMG_3787_zps98d15db6.jpgMine might not look the best but they taste amazing and are a great snack to nibble on instead of reaching for some processed or overly sugary.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Primal Pantry

So the time has finally come for me to review one of my favourite places on the Brisbane cafe scene: Primal Pantry!

The brainchild of Paleo Hero's Mark Rockley , Tracey Hirst (formerly of the delightful Gillian's Garden Cafe) and Shannon Cooper, Primal Pantry delivers delicious paleo friendly meals at reasonable prices - and generally with a smile.

I've been an avid fan of this place since it opened back in June and can honestly say that the food is both tasty and a little bit 'fancier' than the paleo meals you may find elsewhere.

Heading there for Breakfast?

You've got a whole range of traditional options that have been re-designed to be paleo friendly including Potted Muesli, Bangers and Mash and the huuuuge Caveman plate (bacon, lamb, poached eggs, mushrooms, fresh spinach & roasted tomatoes). Sitting alongside these is a hearty option of Sticky Pork, some pancakes to satiate a sweet tooth and the ever popular Primal Acai Bowl.

I've tried almost all of these options (The Boy is often forced to share!) and whilst the pork was a little too rich for my liking I can't fault any of the other dishes - especially if served with one of Primal's dairy-free smoothies - my favourite is the coffee frappe!

Lunch date?

I've only been to Primal for lunch once but I managed to take some (albeit poor quality) photos. We enjoyed some seeded crackers and whilst I had to add a wee bit of salt to the hummus it was a really yummy snack.  Ordinarily, I would say you definitely don't need to order a starter unless you're super hungry - on this particular occasion we went to Primal after a big crossfit session and were starving so the little snack while we waited was perfect.
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Seeded crackers and almond hummus
I ordered the chicken pie and Tom ordered the lamb and both were lovely. The flavours were simple but very satisfying and I loved the pomegranate and mixed salad that accompanied my pie - it really complimented the dish and helped to break up what could have been a bit of a heavy meal.

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Moroccan Chicken Pie with almond & cinnamon crust
The service I've received at Primal has generally been great - even if at times the wait for a table or food has been a little long. That said, I have had a few friends say otherwise so there is probably a little room for improvement in this area.
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Twice-Cooked Lamb Shank with mushroom ragout & glazed golden onions
Another thing Primal do well is their sweets and takeaway dishes. They have amazing cauliflower fried rice,  heavenly carrot cake and mouthwatering key lime pies but although they are paleo I would still advise limiting your intake as they no doubt pack a punch calorie wise!

Overall, the food and service at Primal Pantry is good andI love that the cafe really tries to educate it's clientele about the benefits of the Paleo lifestyle - you can even pick up recipe cards! Whilst I do prefer the simpler flavours on the menu at The Paleo Cafe, I can't complain that Brisbane has two lifestyle friendly options that offer nutritionally sound meals that won't break the bank - we really are very lucky!

Primal Pantry on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fashion Friday - fresh summer threads

Does anyone else become obsessed with aztec prints and maxi skirts when summer rolls around or is it just me?

With so many options popping up in store this season I've been nurturing my inner hippie in both comfort and style, rocking beachy blonde waves, patterned maxi's and friendship bracelets. Want to join me - check out some of these beauties available now from Dissh and Mr Zimi.

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Shorts from Dissh
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Mr Zimi's summer collection
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Skirt from Dissh
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Shorts from Dissh

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Listomania: What's going on in my world

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When catching up on one of my favourite Blogs recently - The Littlest Things - I was struck with motivation. Sophie had created a list of her current life and despite it being a simple post it really made me think. Why hadn't I done this before? I am a chronic list-maker in my day to day life when it comes to all manner of things to do (job tasks, groceries, dates to remember, you name it) but I don't often sit down to write about what's actually on in my life, to appreciate it and to be present. So I made haste and wrote my list. Not all of my list is introspective but I think it provides a nice little package of my present state. So here we go - time to cross this one off the list.

My List - November 2013
- eating: paleo foods (I am baking cinnamon apple crisps as we speak and my house smells like Christmas!).
- drinking: as much water as I can, along with Green tea, smoothies with almond milk, banana, spinach and berries and the very, very occasional red wine.
- practising: building my confidence - I've had a pretty rough year this year so I'm doing my best to build myself back up. I'm also practising visualisation techniques and trying to create new mind patterns. Yup really. Oh and also my photo skills so I'm better equipped to capture moments.
- mastering: crossfit - ok, not mastering but I've started it and am feeling muscles I've not felt for a loooong time.
- learning: gratitude. I'm really trying to identify the things I am grateful for. I do sometimes take things for granted and want to move away from that mindset to one of thankfulness as I believe this will make my life fuller and more positive.
- playing: with my blog, a bunch of other social media and my hair cut and colour (although not drastically on those last ones).
- finishing: a cup of tea.

- reading: bucketloads of blogs, magazines and a few new books including Benjamin Law's 'The Family Law' and The Happiness Code by Domonique Bertolucci. 
- enjoying: writing, experimenting with new recipes and watching back to back episodes of The Only Way is Essex- listening: to the wind outside and the whir of my computer as it heats up.
- needing: a pay rise, a holiday and time to clear my head and 're-set'. 
- wearing: my pyjamas...but on the weekends I am rocking the maxi-skirts and gladiator combo.
- wondering: if I can convince our landlord to allow us to get a puppy...I want one so bad!!
- working: at trying to upskill myself and score a job I love that makes me feel more fulfilled.
- liking: fresh roses and lillies in my living room- travelling: to the England and Hong Kong in will I survive the wait?
- planning: for our overseas trip, namely what I'll wear, where we'll eat (can someone say Heston's?), and what I'll buy; only the big issues.
- wanting: a new summer wardrobe, but it ain't gonna happen this side of the New Year. Oh and just a little something called life direction and clarity.
- loving: my boyfriend. Recently we finally got a rare two days off together and it reminded me of how wonderful he is and how lucky I am to have him in my life. He makes my heart happy.
- wishing: I could have a white christmas and be living my dream life overseas.
- marvelling: at how quickly the year has gone.
- smelling: the apple and cinnamon baking in my oven - told you so! 
- hoping: I can achieve a few personal goals in the next few months.

So there is is. A whole mishmash of thoughts and goings-on in my current life. Why not try this yourself and let me know how you go? I'd love to read what's on your list

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Summer blonde

Needing some fresh inspiration for summer hair? Here's mine! Balyage and blonde are still going strong and I'll be taking these pics to my lovely hairdresser to update my 'do and get myself looking smokin' again.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Paleo Cafe

Recently I encountered a few health problems and this, combined with my boyfriend's new-found love for crossfit, has seen the two of us slowly adapt to following a Paleo lifestyle (for more information on Paleo scroll to the bottom of this post).So it was with much excitement that we waited for The Paleo Cafe to open up in Brisbane last month (we had visited the Cairns location earlier in the year and simply loved it).

Our anticipation for lifestyle-friendly food reached fever pitch when I clocked the new cafe - with its signature orange and white decor - opening just down the road from us at Paddington (look out for a few new franchises set to open up around Brisbane in coming months).

The week it opened I went twice in two days and I'm happy to admit I was one of the many people lining up again last weekend for a table.

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Eggs and Avocado on Toast with  side of Nitrate Free Bacon
The food is simple but delicious!

To date I've enjoyed the following:

- Eggs and Avocado on Paleo Toast with the addition of nitrate free bacon - this was yummmmmy! Completely no fuss but still full of flavour - and the bacon tastes amazing and contains no harmful additives or preservatives. Win!
- Pistachio & Coconut Crusted Ocean Fish served with seasonal greens - this meal was delicious. I absolutely adored it and will definitely be going back again and re-ordering it. It was a great size for lunch and the combination of pistachio and coconut was really light and complimented the fish perfectly.

The boyfriend tried the following and loved both of them:

- Caveman's Big Breakfast of free range eggs cooked to your liking served with sirloin steak, crispy bacon, pork sausage, wild mushrooms, roast cherry tomato, red onion and spinach on Paleo toast with Paleo tomato sauce
- Seared Tasmanian Salmon served with sweet potato and pumpkin mash, grilled asparagus spears and caper and lemon ghee. I can confirm the salmon was excellent, but perhaps not as amazing as my ocean fish.

Drinks wise I've tried the Breakfast smoothie, the Acai smoothie, an iced coffee and some chocolate banana smoothie thing - all non dairy and all very, very delicious.
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The Caveman's Big Breakfast
Overall, I can safely say that The Paleo Cafe has already become my new local favourite and I am positive that I'll keep it in business for years to come. It is perfect for anyone with food intolerances (hello all you non-gluten and non-dairy warriors) and also for those who just love good grub.

Now if only they opened for dinner all my prayers would be answered...

Paleo Cafe on Urbanspoon

If you're looking for more information on the Paleo Lifestyle some websites I found helpful include:
- Eat Drink Paleo (I also have this recipe book which is full of delicious and easy to make meals!)
- Paleo Diet Lifestyle 
- NomNomPaleo

Monday, November 11, 2013

Market wanderings

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I little while ago I posted about 10 Things you can do in Brisbane on a weekend and outlined a few of the great farmer's markets you can visit to get your fix of fresh fruit and veg, good coffee and superior flowers.

But dear reader's I must admit that in that post I failed to include the ahhhmazing Kelvin Grove Urban Village markets. I stumbled across a month or two ago and now I can't leave them alone - you must get yourselves there asap!

Conveniently located (and by that I mean it is close to my house and my favourite frozen yoghurt shop) in Kelvin Grove this market is smaller than most but it makes up for it in quality. The produce is the best I have seen and the prices are significantly lower than more popular markets in Brisbane. Think huge bunches of kale for $3 and delicious fresh mangos at $2.50 a pop.

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Plus there is (my personal favourite) a store that sells ice mason jars! I know it is painfully hipster but I am so obsessed with the hibiscus and green tea 'flavours' that I have amassed my own little collection of mason jars from my weekend visits...can you say cocktail hour at Kirst's house?
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Other reasons that make the KG Village markets great are the handful of local designers and homeware stores like Paddington fair trade favourite Spout and Sherpa which sells gorgeous handmade products.

All in all, you can pick up your groceries (4 Aussie eye fillets for $20!), some new purchases for your living room, a bunch of flowers for your mum and all without having to fork our your entire pay packet or battle a million other market goers equipped with their 'danger carts'.

What more could you ask for?

The Urban Village Markets run every Saturday from 6am - 1pm so mark it in your diaries and get shopping.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Diner en Blanc, Brisbane Style

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This past Saturday, a bunch of my girlfriends and I participated in Diner en Blanc - the second year it has been held in Brisbane.

Dressed all in white, with our picnic baskets, tables and chairs in toe we assembled at our meeting point at 4:25pm and after a short while were whisked away by bus to a secret location along the Brisbane River.

Once we arrived at the location - Hamilton Reach - the fun began.

We set up our tables and chairs, collected our cheese and wine then popped champagne to celebrate spending a lovely, girly evening of fun together.
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We ate, we drank (in moderation), we danced like lunatics to the band, waved our serviettes in the air and lit sparklers in the moonlight.

I had so much fun it was worth lugging my four ikea chairs across Brisbane and I'll certainly be keen to do it all again next year!

I'd highly encourage you to get on board with the special event if there is one being held in your city - it really is a pretty fabulous experience

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I love sparklers!!
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Some of the amazing table decorations
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My beautiful friends 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A change is as good as a holiday

That's right - it has been a fair while since I've posted on here, but I have a good reason for my absence.  As some of you may know I started a new job as a travel consultant in June and things have been a little hectic while I did my training and settled into my new position.

It's a long way from my Marketing roots and it's a calculated risk that I've taken but so far it seems to be working out well. I've met some great new friends and am enjoying going to work where my days fly by - each one different from the next.

I do plan to get back into blogging (and twitter!) more regularly and am working on a schedule now to get some exciting new content to you so please stay tuned!

And if you're looking to book a know where to find me!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Hot sauce and tasty tacos – date night at Chilliwow

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On Sunday night Tom and I found ourselves escaping the first flush of winter, in a booth at one of Brisbane’s newest fiesta joints – Chilliwow. Residing in what was once Barsoma, Chilliwow has brought its A-game to the themed bar scene in Brisbane with festive splashes of paint and more mexican décor than you can poke at a piñata.
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It also offers a cheap and tasty menu consisting pretty much of chilidogs and tacos.
We only stayed a while but while we were there we indulged in two tacos (one beef, one pork) a chilidog, a Mexican beer and a red Mexican sangria.
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Look at these babies - yummo!
The food was quick to come out and the tacos were simple, but fresh and tasty – not amazing – really the kind of food you’d throw together at home, but for $5 each you can’t complain.  The chilidog was a lot smaller than we expected but Tom seemed to enjoy it along with his beer.

I will say I was a bit disappointed with the sangria. It tasted good but the already small cup was crammed to the top with ice so I got around 4 small sips and it was over. Not really worth it in my book and next time I will most likely order a beer so I have a drink that lasts a little/a lot longer (when hot sauce is involved, this is important to me).
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For a newly opened bar on a Sunday night Chilliwow wasn’t doing too badly. There were plenty of seats available and a steady stream of people kept coming through the door so I’m sure it would have picked up later on in the evening.

Chilliwow is a visual treat with its kitschy Mexican styling and this transpires to a super fun atmosphere – perfect for a laidback get together or a fun night out. I think it will become a firm and reliable favourite of ours and we’ll definitely stop in again for an inexpensive and relaxing evening...only next time I might read the labels on the hot sauce more carefully before sloshing it all over my tacos (beware the XXX hot!)…

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Must try this drink next time
Images courtesy of The Thousands, The Urban List and The Weekend Edition.

Chilliwow on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The walk of shame...or is it?

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A good friend of mine blogs over at Style from the Suburban Intellect and I recently re-discovered an old blog of hers on the ‘Walk of Shame’.   In it she writes about the fact that this so-called ‘shameful’ journey home is really nothing of the sort and I tend to agree.

Young or old, there is something to be said for staying up all night with a lover or a friend and welcoming the day in a little smudged mascara and your party clothes (or what remains of them). Ok perhaps at times it can be a little embarrassing, but it can also be a lot of fun and it sure as hell makes  for some entertaining stories of your youth. 

I myself have a few stories – as I’m sure most people do - and in the spirit of sharing and having a laugh you can read them below – feel free to share your own as well!
  1. Walking home in a borrowed t-shirt after a night out in Prague where I ended up in a different bed, in a different hostel, in a different part of the city to where I was actually staying…
  2. Jumping the Metro barriers in Barcelona and falling asleep on the shoulder of one of my  best friends on the 6:00am train back to our hostel.
  3. After  one of the best dates in my whole life with a boy in Berlin - we explored the city together all night;  eating dinner in Kreuzberg, drinking cocktails in Mitte, wandering Alexander Platz and dancing at underground warehouse clubs in East Berlin before retiring to his apartment. Unfortunately for me the closest U-bahn line to him wasn’t working the next morning and I had to wander the streets without a phone or map until I eventually managed to hail a cab.
  4. Stumbling my way through a crowded German campsite trying not to trip over tent pegs and faceplant after bumping into the person from number 1 at Oktoberfest, losing  my camera on a ride, and almost leaving my German hat as a souvenir (I commandeered it back though don’t you worry).
  5. While staying with my girlfriend in London, we caught the final night bus/s home from Shoreditch to Brixton, went to McDonalds and ate it together as the some came up…one of my favourite memories to be honest!
I don’t feel ashamed of any of these moments in my life – I just feel happy when I think of them (and of the other stories which won’t’ ever be shared in the public forum).

They remind me of fun moments in time and of the great people I have shared them with. Sure they may not be as romantic or as watching the sun rise over the beach with the love of my life but that doesn’t make them disgraceful or humiliating – it just makes them different.

So what about you, do you have any ‘walk of shame’ stories? Do you think it's possible to look as chic as these ladies when actually faced with making it home after an night out?

Tell me your thoughts…it’s only fair now you know some of my secrets!
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Images courtesy of Pinterest and cosmopolitan Magazine.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A small step, a giant leap.

I feel free. A giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders and for the first time in a long time I feel excited about the future.

Last week I resigned from my job. It was a long time coming and it took a lot of courage, sleepless nights and guts for me to finally listen to my heart and do what I’d wanted to do for so long.


I will start my new job in 4 weeks time…it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before and I already know it will be hugely challenging but I can’t wait.

I finally feel as if I have momentum and am going forward rather than being stuck in a rut.

It feels so great to be in control of my own happiness again and I wanted to write this to say that if you are struggling with a big decision – try to block all the logical and negative thoughts out and listen to that small voice deep down inside of you.

People will criticise you no matter what you do so listen to yourself and be brave, because remember: fortune favours the brave.

xx Kirst

Next Door Kitchen and Bar

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“Prohibition was supposed to usher in a new era of sobriety and restraint. Instead America’s “Noble Experiment” was submerged by the madcap wave of the Roaring 20’s, when inventive recording artists on their way to fame unleashed spirited sounds that set the tone for the century”

This is what greets you when you open the menu at Next DoorKitchen and Bar, a 1920's “themed” bar and restaurant located on Southbank’s popular Little Stanley Street.

Next Door, has a superb, modern menu accompanied by a great beer, wine and cocktail list and if I’m honest I was sold the minute they served me champagne in a champagne coupe. To me, a champagne coupe seems 1000 times more sophisticated than your regular champagne flute and it really made me feel special – just a bit more sparkly or glamorous than I normally would when sipping champagne while having dinner with friends (can’t quite explain why but who cares it was a coupe!).
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But let’s talk about the food. It was all…phenomenal. No jokes. I cannot fault a single dish that we tried!  The food is all designed to be shared and we found the plates to be very decent sized portions – between four of us we ordered the following and we couldn’t finish it all (despite the fact that the two adult males in our party are normally bottomless pits):

Share plates $14.5
  • Flash fried school prawns, smoked paprika salt – we ordered these with a side of aioli and they were amazing. Crispy and salty and perfectly seasoned...I know they might not be everyone’s cup of tea, as  you do eat each prawn whole but they tasted sooooo good!
  • Golden fried polenta chips, salsa verde, sour cream, pickled eggplant (v, gf) – The polenta fries we again had with aioli. They were delicious but not the most outstanding menu item we ordered.
  •  Pea arancini, goats curd aioli, coriander oil (v) – Potentially one of the best dishes of the night. When you bite into the arancini you are greeted with a delightful  mint coloured centre and the balance of flavours is really very tasty…ooh my mouth is watering just thinking about them!
Share plates $16.5
  • Crushed wagyu meat balls, provolone, sticky onion jam – by the time this dish came out I was full so I only managed one teeny tiny bite, but I know these were enjoyed immensely by the men in our party. Phrases like ‘best meatballs I’ve ever had’ and ‘why don’t we have these in England’ were uttered.
  • Garlic prawns, green onion pilaf, green butter & snail beignet – prawns are always an Aussie favourite and these were no exception. The snail beignet melts in your mouth and was utterly delicious – we considered ordering a second plate but decided against is simply due to the sheer amount of food we’d already ingested!
  • Truffle parmesan fries (v, gf) – we got these to accompany all our shareplates and to they were very nice - a much nicer option than your regular beer battered or regular fries!
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Over the duration of our evening we also ordered some local beers, white wine and of course some sparkling to go with our meals - it was a very merry night indeed. The laidback atmosphere at Next Door Kitchen and Bar is really refreshing and it was lovely to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather Brisbane has been having. The staff were also great - super attentive and friendly and I went with 3 Britons who had particular fun guessing where in the UK our waitress was from (it was Manchester and none of them got it right).

I would definitely recommend Next Door Kitchen and Bar for a fun night out full of great food and wine and if you’re getting into the Gatsby Spirit with the highly anticipated, soon to be released Great Gatsby film why not reserve a table for the Next Door’s Gatsby Soiree to celebrate the movie release and their new limited edition cocktail menu on May 30th?

You might see me there - I’ll be the one drinking Champagne from my coupe... 

Next Door Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon
Images courtesy of The Weekend Edition and The Urban List.