Food with a brew in Brisbane

Asana, Brisbane, Australia

Mark Eggleton

When you’re the guest of a hotel and restaurant it’s difficult to know whether to bring up the elephant in the room. The unmentioned pachyderm in the case of Brisbane’s Asana by Pete Evans at the Capri by Fraser is the consultant chef himself and the menu inspired by Evans’s messianic devotion to the Paleo diet.

Back when Pete was still turning out pizzas for the shallow end of Sydney’s celebrity pool at Hugo’s, one of my fad diet friends introduced me to the Paleo diet. I read the book (didn’t buy the t-shirt) and soon discovered it was not highly recommended by any notable medical professional. I thought it had pretty much gone the way of detox juice diets (colonic irrigation anyone?) but Pete has brought it back with a vengeance across the Australian media.

Unfortunately, his blind devotion to Paleo has veered into Tom Cruise couch-jumping, mental illness doesn’t exist, and scientology is my life territory. This is a shame because the food at Asana is pretty good. Not wonderful but a cut above most hotel restaurants. Anyway, being a solid lifelong coward I only asked “What’s the story with Pete?” rather than “How mad is Paleo Pete and his tub-thumping caveman dietary advice?”. Didn’t get much of an answer really.

On the night I chowed down on a Confit belly of Borrowdale pork, caramelized celeriac, vanilla poached prunes and fermented red cabbage; it was just what was needed after a day of meandering through some of Brisbane’s microbreweries and pubs.

Led by Brisbane-based freelance beer writer and educator, Matt Kirkegaard, our day was basically an extended pub-crawl with a difference. The difference being Matt – who is probably, the best at what he does in Australia, not just because he drinks but also because he sounds knowledgeable and interesting even after we’ve consumed a lot of beer.

We visited microbreweries Newstead Brewing Co and the Green Beacon Brewing Company as well as beer bars such as Brewski, the Tippler’s Tap and Statler and Waldorf (so named after the old cranks on The Muppets).

Newstead Brewing Co, Brisbane
Stop by the Newstead Brewing Co when hopping out for some hops in Brisbane.

Reason why the pork was going down so well at Paleo Pete’s was our last couple of stops at Brewski and Statler and Waldorf were extended visits after Matt bade his farewells. Particular favourites on the day were a Noisy Mynah IPA at the Tippler’s Tap and a Rhubarb Saison from Melbourne’s Two Birds Brewing at Brewski.

Earlier that morning I’d wandered down to Brisbane’s city Botanic Gardens to watch the sun edge into the sky before admiring some of the city’s sandstone buildings and pleasant looking Treasury Casino on my constitutional along the river.

The night before had involved getting to know the Capri by Fraser and its offerings. A small but comfortable studio deluxe room, which didn’t quite pass the swing a cat test, contained one of the most comfortable hotel beds I’ve ever slept in.

Beyond the room, the hotel offers something rather novel in access to a free onsite laundrette with games to play while you wait for the spin cycle to finish. Sure there’s an indoor pool, gymnasium and sauna but after years of avoiding paying the actual price of my underpants to have them washed by the hotel and trying to find somewhere close by to do laundry on a work trip or holiday, the laundrette won me over.

Put simply: the hotel is a rather stylish and handy bolthole in the centre of Brisbane – it’s well worth a visit.


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