26 hours. 6 delicious dining moments. it’s a tough job but…the Inaugural Flavours of Ipswich program launched Wednesday, April 7 and we were up for the challenge.
Ipswich, (nearly the Sunshine State’s capital), is the kind of place where chefs are strictly on a first-name basis.
Our deep-dive took us from the best burgers in the ‘Swich to a seemingly endless Indian banquet, perhaps Queensland’s finest breakfast and even creamy camel gelato. Because we’ve already done the hard work for you – here are some of 2021’s Flavours of Ipswich highlights.
Get some pork on your fork at Brothers
Get along to Shamrocks at Brothers Leagues Club with a hearty appetite and elasticised waist skirt, jeans or trackies because the dinner menu is a biggie.
Even those with massive appetites will be defeated with this three-course menu. Starting with an entree of crackling-good pork belly with house-made apple relish and green salad, it’s the perfect ratio of crisp crackling to luscious porkiness.
Formerly at the Pineapple Hotel, Executive Chef Neil is a steak specialist. 250g Angus rump cozies up to shallot mash, wilted spinach and green peppercorn creme.
And, just as you’re about to give in along comes a berry mousse tart with chocolate gelato and toasted almonds.
Banquet the day or night away at Memories of India
During its early settlement quintessentially Queensland pubs seem to call nearly every corner home in the heritage city. Grand and not so grand entrances were topped with wide verandahs designed for downing a cooling shandy or three.
Landmark pubs are still a part of the Ipswich landscape. Many have avoided ruthless re-development by re-purposing. Memories of India now operates within the walls of the historic Ulster Hotel.
Memories of India isn’t your standard suburban Indian restaurant. Chef Aman says the tandoor does the heavy lifting, ensuring that trademark smokiness across much of the menu.
Dinner starters include light corn fritters, crispy onion bhaji and Chicken Tikka – but not as you know it. Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Mehti) make the chicken pieces more aromatic.
The curries? Murch Makhan Palak (aka butter chicken ), relies less on cream and more earthy tandoor tenderness. Dark Lamb Bhuna is rich in ginger, garlic and onions with chilli, tomatoes and spices. Vegetable Korma completes the trio with steamed rice and excellent naan for scooping. And, the butterscotch kulfi is a wonder.
Casa Mia is your house too
Casa Mia Ipswich features an Italian-inspired menu as well as a Tiki Bar lunchtime menu and vegan options. (Chef Liam is vegan).
The Flavours of Ipswich dinner offering begins with pizza bread and three dips – fire roasted capsicum, olive and eggplant melanzane and a basil pesto/sour cream combo.
Next, there’s your choice of pizza for one or Mediterranean Chicken Fettucine – sundried tomato, grilled eggplant, roasted capsicum and mushroom in a creamy sauce.
Cleverly, Casa Mia is next door to the comfy Country Motel Ipswich.
Camel Gelato at where else? Summerland Camels
While you’re in the heritage city take a drive to Summer Land Camels. Tours, tastes and a lot of learning have gone into making this one of South-East Queensland’s best tourism experiences.
For the lactose intolerant and those with the worst dairy allergies, camel milk is the answer. High in protein, it’s tasty and healthy. Fun Fact: The cheesemakers at Summerland tried injecting blue vein culture into their world-first cheddar but the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal goodness won out!
However, Summerland camel gelato is a winner. Kids and big kids line up for Vanilla, Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Honey and Macadamia and Mixed Berry.
The Flavours of Ipswich lunch means you can feast on a homestead burger with Summer Land feta, salad and fries, a camelcino and two flavours of award-winning gelato. All with Scenic Rim and camel views.
Ruby Chews – would you like fries with that?
Is it a tower? Is it a slider and chicken high tea? The Flavours of Ipswich dinner offering at Ruby Chews Burgers & Shakes is all that.
If your idea of food heaven includes chicken wings and tenders, beef or chicken sliders, mountains of fries, onion rings and your choice of tall sundaes you’ve come to the right place.
Burgers here are much like the famed US favourite In-N-Out Burger – a lean beef pattie, American-style cheese, onions, crisp lettuce, tomato slice and soft bun. Although, Ruby Chews are more generous with their mayo-based sauce than the more famous American burger joint.
Drinks run from soft to beer, cider and shakes. Out front of the local Limelight Cinemas, Ruby has found her spiritual home.
Make a weekend of it
Stay at the Country Motel Ipswich for some country comfort. A workday home base for out-of-town workers, the Country Motel is comfy, convenient with just the right amount of country charm. Close to Brothers League Club and not far from town, it’s a charmer with the added bonus of fresh milk for your morning cuppa.
St Shoebill for those who know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day
A new addition to Brisbane Street’s ‘Top of Town’, this 1870’s building had a post-industrial meets heritage extreme makeover last year. Exposed brick, white walls, lofty skylights and polished concrete floors make for a breezy breakfast and lunch destination.
Warmly welcomed by the locals, Sam and Kim Ladson are building on the success of their former Palm Beach cafe. They serve ethically gown, responsibly sourced Project Origin beans roasted by Ona.
St Shoebill like its namesake stands out from the crowd. The place is buzzy without the busy. Staff work hard to make it unforgettable. The new breakfast menu has universal appeal with Dusty farmhouse avo on toast taken up a notch with Yarra Valley Dairy Persian feta and fresh mint, parsley, saltbush dukkah on sourdough.
The Nourish Bowl is 12-hour buckwheat oats topped with fruit puree, seasonal fruit, toasted seeds and coconut yoghurt. Warm, satisfying and just downright amazing. The other half of the TML team ordered the big breakfast and unusually had no words to describe the delicious platter of brekky treats. He declared the poached eggs the “best ever”.
Stroll the Top of the Town
For some retail therapy don’t miss Embers and Twine for interesting homewares and different gifts. Get to the Vintage Advantage before expert antiquers discover the antique and vintage bargains from a 50’s organza cocktail dress to a tortoiseshell cane day bed.
Amble along Darcy Doyle Place to Ipswich Art Gallery or time your food adventure to catch a show at the Ipswich Civic Centre. Or take the Ipswich Street Art Trail – you’ll be so glad you did.
Flavours of Ipswich runs until Saturday, April 24, 20 restaurants are offering two-course lunches for $25 and three-course dinners for $35.
Disclaimer: TML were guests of Discover Ipswich, Flavours of Ipswich restaurants and the Country Motel Ipswich.