Let's Cook with Meg and Ted

Food stores in Brisbane

These reviews are archived - they haven't been updated since we moved to the UK in 2001. So no guarantees that things are still the same!

The Rosalie Gourmet Market - fabulous, if you can get it in Brisbane, they'll have it. They also stock fresh, local pastas you can reheat and are very nice for about $12 for two people. They're open till 7, seven days a week, which is good for western suburbs people who can't be bothered trekking over to New Farm Deli. Baroona Rd, across from Serendipity. (Joce, November 2001)

Balaclava St, Wooloongabba - two big continental food stores and one very big Indian one on the same block. Lots of good stuff like spices, cheeses, pasta, pulses, 20kg tins of ghee, etc etc etc.

Coco's Deli- our biggest local deli and vegie store. Huge barn of fruit and vegies, good for fresh herbs, and vegetables in season (e.g. piles of fennel bulbs in August); but doesn't have mesclun and sometimes roma tomatoes. Occasional great scores like fresh borlotti and broad beans The attached deli has a good range of cheese and olives and lots of antipasto stuff. Cnr of Ipswich Rd and Cornwall St, Buranda.

Fundamentals Food Store - sells lots and lots of different types of flour and grains: asian, middle eastern, european; also various organic-type things like sprouted bread. If you can't be bothered going to the Valley they also have a decent range of miso, nori, rice seasonings etc. Last time I was there they were also selling a huge range of sometimes quite bizarre vegetarian pies, e.g. avocado and chilli bean, ratatouille, various types of vegie curry ones. On Given Tce, the block between Jakarta Indonesian restaurant and Pandemonium cafe.

Paddington Grocer - one block up on the other side of the street from Fundamentals, this is the best place to get big bunches of fresh basil. They often have them out the back of the shop, so ask; and you can also order them the day before to be sure. I have never made pesto so often as when I lived around the corner from this place. They also often have Spigadoro dried orecchiette, which is by far my favourite orecchiette brand; it stays very firm when cooked, doesn't get floppy like those sexier-looking, pseudo-artisan-style ones. The only other place I've seen it is Butlers in the Myer Centre.

West End - there's a whole bunch of good shops near the intersection of Vulture and Boundary Sts. On Vulture St, there's Venus Deli, then a Lebanese shop across the road and up a block, and then Hong Lan, a brilliant Asian grocery a couple of blocks up from that on the Venus side of the street again. The aisles in Hong Lan are about as wide as my shoulders and stacked from floor to ceiling with excellent stuff. Also there's a huge range of fresh Asian vegetables and herbs out the front. Back on Boundary St, there's the Swiss Gourmet which makes great salads and sandwiches and so is totally packed in the middle of the day, and also has lots of yummy stuff like mustard fruit and so on.

Black Pearl Epicure - a bit wanky but great stuff. Brilliant olive oil selection, good cheeses like Yarra Valley Persian Feta, amazing La Ruvida spaghetti, lots of Maggie Beer products, that sort of stuff. Baxter St, Fortitude Valley

Jocelyn's Provisions - tiny shop filled with fabulous bread and cakes. Also biscuits, preserves and savoury tarts. An example from their catalogue: "Goats cheese with potato and caramelised onion, topped with asparagus, fennel, sweet potato and other seasonal herbs and vegetables, in brisee pastry. $22." Expensive but worth it for a flash occasion. Centro, cnr James St and Doggett St, Fortitude Valley.

CJ's Pasta - sells freshly made pasta (including gnocci) and sauces. Huge range of pasta types and flavours, and they can do custom ones if you give them 48 hours notice. Advantages include being served by a big guy with a French (?) accent and decided opinions about how you should cook your pasta. Also, just in front of the shop is Harvey's deli / cafe which has the usual range of vinegars, oils etc plus the best selection of cheese I've seen in ages. Lots of different types of sheep's cheese, some buffalo, etc. 31 James St, Fortitude Valley.

Burlington Supermarket - a big Asian supermarket in Chinatown Mall, has a huge range of noodles, spices, sauces, frozen foods, tofu, rice paper, and things like vegetarian abalone and liver if you're that sort of vegetarian. Also good is Wing Hing on the corner of the Brunswick St mall, and a Korean food store on Brunswick St between the mall and the railway station.

The Gabba Fruit Barn - they've saved my arse a couple of times when I've been foolishly shopping for a dinner party 2 hours before it's supposed to start. When Coco's and Coles have both failed me, the fruit barn is guaranteed to have piles of limes or asparagus or whatever it is that I'm in need of. Cnr Annerly and Abingdon Rds Wooloongabba.

St Lucia Vill' - the fruit shop there has very nice produce, and the deli has different kinds of dried mushrooms and huge range of good cheese, including Meredith Dairy goat feta, Buffalino, Heidi gruyere, goat curd, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Domain Red Square, etc..

Flour Power - my favourite bread shop, it's quite small but packed with dozens of types of breads, all yummy. Lots of different sourdoughs, an excellent eight-seed bread, traditional French and Italian household breads, lots of other stuff I still haven't tried after a year or so of going there. It's on Gladstone Rd near the corner of Dornoch Tce, Highgate Hill. Open Tuesday to Sunday (only in the mornings on the weekends). No sourdough on Tuesday.

Sol Breads - another brilliant bread shop. They have excellent pide and plain foccacia loaves, and amazing pizza slices- the pumpkin, spinach and ricotta one is matched only by the tomato and vegetable one, which has an incredibly intense flavour. They also have these beautiful sweet flatbreads flavoured with orange water. Vulture St, corner of Hardgrave Rd, West End.

For little asian egg tarts, go to the bakery in the back corner of the bottom level of McWhirters. Once or twice they've been old but the other 50 times I've bought them there they've been beautiful.

Also at McWhirters, on the same level, is an excellent Indian grocer. Whatever spice you're looking for they'll have, often in a 1 kilo packet but also often in small packets. Also have other Indian ingredients, e.g. ghee, asafoetida, saffron, flours, fishy and meaty things that I haven't examined, curry powders and pastes; also sometimes fresh or frozen asian vegetables. On weekends they also have very yummy food like samosas and little patties and rolls and so on for sale at the counter, it's worth going just for those.

The green grocer in Fairfield Shopping Centre - they have excellent asian greens, and often very nice fresh herbs and watercress. Check out what they have before you go into Coles next door. They also have a good range of Asian sauces and ingredients like pulses, noodles, tofu, wonton wrappers, canned stuff, chillies, dried mushrooms, etc.

The Kitchen Foods Shop - on the street level in Paddington Central (upstairs from Woolies), this is a great deli with an excellent range of cheeses, plus porcini in oil, interesting bottled stuff etc. And next door is Let Them Eat Cake, a flash bakery and cake shop.

Chocolate to Die For - oh yumyumyum. Lots of boxes of Australian and imported chocolates in the front window and on the shelves, but the best thing is the big glass case at the back, with literally dozens of types of handmade chocolates to chose from. It costs about $9 for 6, but it is worth it. I tried the champagne truffle, the flake truffle, a couple of other liqoury ones, and this amazing one flavoured with cardomom and cloves. All so so good. 214 Adelaide St Brisbane.

Agean Delights- a huge number of different sweet and savoury Greek pastries, and they also sell coffee. Gladstone Rd, opposite Thai on High.

Amazingly, the best fresh ricotta I've found is in the delis in Coles (you ask for a wedge from a big cake of it).

And for everything you need to actually cook all this stuff with, head to Executive Chef,132 Merivale St South Brisbane. Tremble before their $800 saucepans. Slaver at all the gorgeous cookbooks. Discover that little tool you've been needing in the kitchen and haven't been able to find anywhere else (e.g. proper madeleine trays, 45-piece cookie cutter sets, a spatula the precise size you want). Buy your boyfriend beautiful professional quality sieves that are too bloody fine to be used. Whatever, you can do it there.
Oh! And if you're looking for an amazing wok or frypan, go to Executive Chef for the SCANPAN 2001+, which are titanium coated. They're amazingly expensive and they probably give you cancer but you'll weep with love for them when you do the washing up. I can never leave Ted because we wouldn't be able to agree on who got the wok and frypan.

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