The title doesn’t just refer to food. This latest offering by Smudge Publishing gives readers a taste of all things Queensland, with beautiful photography capturing the essence of the Sunshine State from the Jacaranda lined streets of its river-carved capital to the blinding white sand of its northern beaches. This painstakingly collated and edited tome contains a synopsis, maps, produce buying guidelines and historical timelines while also managing to include Farmers’ Markets and the Granite Belt wine region alongside its featured restaurants and cafes.
The book uncovers the state’s haunts, nooks and crannies – from the hidden laneway bars to the rooftop fine dining restaurants, and provides hungry readers with chef’s own signature recipes that showcase the most extraordinary, fresh local produce, accompanied by photography that makes the mouth water. Designed with tourists in mind, the book’s jacket folds out to an illustrated map of the featured establishments.
This 471 page behemoth is so comprehensive and packed with delicious fare that it made selecting a favourite few extremely difficult. In the end I went with both appeal and something that I may one day be able to cook successfully myself (to be fair this last criteria thins the list considerably).
From Brisbane city, it’s hard to look past the Strawberries and Cream Pizza at Cowch Dessert and Cocktail Bar, slathered in melted Belgian chocolate and finished with white chocolate crisp pearls. As a seafood lover I definitely took a minute to pause and drool over the Sand Crab Lasagne at Il Centro, and at the risk of overindulging my sweet tooth, the House Made Honey Cinnamon Labna from the Gunshop Cafe deserves a special mention for almost making me lick the page.
RockSalt on the Gold Coast presents a complicated and element-laden recipe for its crispy skin Barramundi with the slow roasted lamb shoulder from Social Eating House probably being more up a home cook’s alley. There is a reason we go out for these kind of meals! Given how the foodie scene has exploded on the Gold Coast in recent years, I was slightly disappointed to see the relatively limited size of its section.
The Sunshine Coast served up some healthy fare such as Hervey Bay Scallop Ceviche from Coast Restaurant and Bar and some not-so-healthy treats such as the deep fried Cauliflower Croquettes, topped with grilled haloumi from the Hungry Feel Eating House.
Finally, North Queensland was proudly represented by On The Inlet and its Chargrilled Yellowfin Tuna Steak, and NQ Mungalli Quark and Yoghurt Lemon Cheesecake from Jam, a recipe that both looks and feels, typically Northern Queensland.
I could continue, but hours could be lost in careful perusal of this book. While I feel that many of the photographs would have benefited from a glossy finish as opposed to matte, the overall product is one of high quality and great interest, particularly for afficianados of fine dining. Let me simply say that it deserves a place on every food lover’s coffee table.