One of my favourite Queensland Week promotions is Lunch On Q which sees some of Brisbane’s best restaurants offer a set-price two-course lunch – $35 per person – featuring the best Queensland produce accompanied by a glass of Queensland wine.
The variety of menus advertised presents the perfect opportunity to stop and think about the richness, quality and variety of our state’s yield – harvests from the sea, pastures, orchards and vineyards. There are old staples like sugar, tropical fruits, prawns, reef fish, beef and lamb and more recent arrivals such as the wines of the Granite Belt, South Burnett and Gold Coast hinterland. It’s also a reminder of the provenance of world renowned delights such as the macadamia nut – once commonly known as the Queensland nut – and that Brisbane-based beef producer the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo), established in 1824, is the oldest continuously operating company in Australia.
Our party chose to lunch at the Matt Moran Riverside restaurant Aria because of its culinary reputation, the chance to cruise there on the CityCat and the opportunity to savour a meal while taking in views of the Kangaroo Point cliffs, the Story Bridge and the hustle and bustle of the Brisbane River’s City reach.
Aria’s Lunch On Q offering comprised an entree of tartare of Mooloolaba albacore tuna with green shiso, radish and sunflower seeds in a tangy dressing, followed by rich and mouth-wateringly tender AACo slow cooked beef cheeks with smoked bacon, onion and maple puree. Adding to the gastronomic pleasure was a choice of 2013 Granite Belt Ravens Croft verdhelo or 2012 Ravens Croft cabernet sauvignon. As a table of salad lovers we added bowls of rocket, fig and fennel and cos lettuce with a parmesan, egg and anchovy dressing.
Eating our greens…and figs.
Included in the offering were starters of fresh, warm crusty sourdough bread and a small amuse bouche of pickled Queensland pineapple, fresh prawn crackers and crusted roast macadamias. And to finish a selection of crisp almond bread, chocolate truffles and toasted coconut-coated marshmallows. It’s so tempting to try other participants before the promotion closes on 15th June…