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Stanthorpe may be best known as a chilly fruit and wine growing

region south west of Brisbane but e’cco bistro head chef Simon

Palmer has stumbled upon a deer farm in the area producing venison

of such good quality that he has made it a hero dish on his latest

menu. It represents a new direction for Palmer who says some of his

inspiration is drawn from Korean and Japanese influences along with

the ingredients and innovative producers themselves.

The Venison Tartare (

pictured below

) sits on top of a beetroot crisp,

made from fermented rice and cooked in beetroot juice before being

dehydrated, aerated and puffed. The tartare is coated in egg yolk gel

(the eggs are sourced from free range chickens on the Scenic Rim)

with harissa and a drizzle of lime, while the venison itself is harvested

and hung for three days before being delivered direct to e’cco’s

kitchen. The new menu is served at e’cco bistro, 100 Boundary Street,

city. For reservations call 3831 8344.


hen you eat out at special events are you one of those people who ticks ‘yes’

in the box for any dietary requests? You’re not alone. Healthy alternatives to

traditional convention food in particular are increasingly in demand and Brisbane

Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) says that those dietary requests now

make up to 30 per cent of all meals – from a whopping total of a million and a half

meals a year – prepared at the Centre. As a result BCEC has established a purpose-

built, dedicated Dietary Kitchen headed up by one of Brisbane’s legendary and

often-awarded chefs – David Pugh – a pioneering champion of fresh local produce

at his restaurants (Restaurant Two, Two Small Rooms) long before it became

something to boast about. Pugh will be working with consultant nutritionist Kerry

Leech, dietary adviser to the Queensland Firebirds, the champion netball team that

plays all its home games at BCEC, to create the Nourish Mentality Menu which

focuses entirely on healthy eating, including choices that are 75 per cent gluten-free.

Menu breaks with


Esprit de Figues is a new liqueur infused with the flavour of fresh figs,

hand-picked and steeped for three months before being bottled at a

150-year-old distillery in Burgundy, France. However, while the liqueur

is made in France the concept is the brainchild of Patrick Borg and his

team at Australian liquor distribution company Think Spirits, which has

been many years in the making.

The idea was initially inspired by Borg’s Mediterranean family

heritage. His mother migrated from Malta to Australia in the 1960s

and brought a small clipping of her favourite fruit, the fig, with her. Still

today the tree she planted produces figs – but only for two months

each year. That short season led Borg on his quest to create the taste

of fresh figs in a liqueur that could be enjoyed all year round.

Seven years of research and development later the fresh fig liqueur

is finally being poured at some of the world’s finest bars, including

Claridges, The Savoy and The Ritz in London and now in Brisbane at

bars including Riverbar and Kitchen and Black Bird Bar and Grill, or

over the counter at Malt Traders Newstead.

The liqueur is a rich dark purple colour in the bottle and softens to

a pale mauve when poured. The taste of fresh fig is balanced with hints

of berry jam, peach and honey and, as distinctive as it is, it is designed

to mix so makes a dramatic splash with Champagne or Prosecco and

makes a creative base for cocktails such as a Fig Honey Sour or just

with soda (

pictured above

). For cocktail recipes see


to city plate




BNE March/April 2017 |