While 2020 pummelled the hospitality scene with an unprecedented shower of curveballs, thanks to the adaptable and hard-working operators of this sector, there were still some foodie highlights worth celebrating.
Here are just a few of the innovations, new openings, takeaway faves and Insta-worthy delights that kept us charmed and comforted in a year of Covid weirdness.
Crocodile, Brooklyn burgers and a gluten-free ale
In the historic 88 Limestone precinct, 4 Hearts Brewing, started the year off with a new chef at the helm in Dovetails Restaurant. Shannon Ellison brought a love of Australian native produce and dishes he had honed in an award-winning Northern Territory restaurant, including crocodile lightly fried with native thyme and aniseed and served with a rosella compote, purple congo potatoes and bunya nut pesto. His new menu lands in March 2021 by the way!
Neighbouring Pumpyard Bar where the brewery is based, also scored a new chef in March 2020 with Brooklyn born Shaun Breen lending a properly American twist to the menu – in time for said menu to transition to takeaway only during the Covid lockdown. “That was a team-bonding and humbling time,” says general manager Torsten Werner.
“But the local community was extremely supportive which got us through a terrible period.” By year’s end, Pumpyard and Dovetails were firing again on all cylinders and in December, head brewer Ken Friend launched a stellar Single Hop Pale Ale that happens to be gluten free and has been incredibly well received.
Fenton got Fired Up…
Over at the Ipswich Club, chef Fenton Keough was also adapting to lockdown after his events and wedding catering went on ice. His response was to turn up the heat and Fenton’s Fired Up was born. He towed a huge custom-built America smoker onto the lawn every Saturday for takeaways that drew crowds from near and far.
Region’s hatted flagship was back
In February, the hatted restaurant Homage was back in operation in a beautiful new homestead at Spicers Hidden Vale. The team quickly switched to takeaways in the lockdown and treated locals to a drive through like no-other, offering roast family dinners and gourmet burgers. The restaurant is in full swing again now, as is the accommodation side of this stunning luxury retreat.
Those fantastic pies!
Award-winning pies had people queuing in August after Teddy’s Bakery on Gledson St, North Booval, scored silver for their pork sausage and onion pie and bronze for their plain mince pie at Australia’s Best Pie Competition in Sydney. The baker, Ben, is still at it, dreaming up new creations that he makes from scratch every day so his little shop is definitely worth a drive!
A little bear that won FB hearts
In October, as we shrugged off the Queensland winter and saw the first glimmers of jacaranda around the region, a little frozen espresso bear won hearts. It was the ingenious addition to the iced coffees one of the city’s new cafes was doing. WOAH Café at Ebbw Vale continues to mix it up with a lively menu and Brisbane-roasted Campos coffee.
Chinese in a new location
In September, Ange’s Kitchen moved into new location at Saldiers Crossing, having already gained a hearty band of followers at her outlet near Queens Park. Track down the very talented Ange and her team if you love the sound of healthy homestyle Asian cuisine!
New kids on the block
And 2020 delivered a bevy of new players to our hospitality scene including: Chai House at Silkstone in February, Elderflower Café at North Tivoli in July and St Shoebill in the Top of Town in November. Essence of Indya opened mid-year on Warwick Rd bringing a menu of traditional modern Indian cuisines.