Spring delivers to the menus of Ipswich
Spring has erupted in colour – not only in the gardens of Ipswich but on our plates too. The city is perfectly placed between the food bowls of the Lockyer Valley and the Scenic Rim for menus that change with the seasons.
Check out what some of our local cafes and restaurants are doing this spring with the local harvest.
Rafter & Rose
At Rafter & Rose, Candy Gazdagh and her niece Elle Morah are known for their spectacular cakes and wholesome fare, and when spring rolls around there’s a whole lot more for them to play with in the kitchen.
Raspberry muffins still warm from the oven might line the counter top, piled high with a non-dairy rhubarb cream and liberally studded with berries.
“I’ve just made citrus and polenta cakes from lemons a customer bought in,” Candy says on a recent visit.
Expect a whole lot more greens and edible flowers, sourced from Ghost Gully Produce in the Lockyer Valley – as spring bends the menu towards lighter and brighter things.
“That was an absolutely beautiful breakfast,” a customer calls to Candy as a delivery man marches into the laneway with a huge load of fresh greens.
Seating spills from the café into the laneway which is itself looking botanical and beautiful for the new season – Candy’s sister, Lisa Winkels is the green thumb.
The Cottage Restaurant
At The Cottage Restaurant chef Mark Naoum is loving the set cheese made at Peaks Crossing’s Naughty Little Kids. You might see it in a caprese salad with fresh basil, tomato and olive oil, or that other Italian crowd-please, a simple bruchetta. The restaurant celebrates its first birthday next month with a special dinner.
Showstoppers on this fine dining menu include a crisp-skinned duck dish with a rich savoury jus, balsamic-glazed fresh fig and garlic panisse (pictured). There’s also a 48-hour pork belly dish with confit garlic and eschallot croquette and charred leeks. Desserts reach to a lovely assiette with lavender brulee, icecream and macaron.
Fourthchild Café & Restaurant pastry chef Elissa Costin has just rolled out a new dessert menu of petal-strewn creations. This includes a coconut cake layered with strawberries and fresh cream (pictured), and a vanilla bean panna cotta. Owner-chef Christine Williams (pictured) says breakfast, lunch and dinner menus will change in coming weeks. Expect light but satisfying salads like the maple-glazed sweet potato and pumpkin number on the specials board this week.
Dovetails chef Gary Duerden says the Lockyer Valley offers up myriad options for the months ahead, with spring bringing fresh supplies of broad beans and peas. He sources free-range eggs from the Lockyer, free-range wood-smoked bacon and his sustainably farmed salmon comes from Tasmania. A popular choice on his menu until the spring menu launches in October, is the stuffed zucchini flowers. He fills these with a creamy goats cheese from Emmos Fine Foods, a farmhouse cheese business based in the Lockyer.