#The best spots to wine & dine on the way to The Long Sunset.
The Scenic Rim has come of age as a dining destination, boasting a bunch of fabulous restaurants, cafes, brewpubs and cellar doors that offer the kind food and beverage typically associated with the big smoke, made using first-class locally sourced produce.
From natty fine diners and fancy wineries to classic old-school pubs, here’s what to check out in and around the region when visiting for The Long Sunset.
Occupying a beautiful heritage tenancy in Boonah, Blume is a handsome 20-seat encapsulation of the Scenic Rim’s growth as a food destination.
In the kitchen is Jack Stuart, previously head chef at Brisbane’s Gauge and Melbourne’s Congress Wine, cooking a farm-to-table set menu. What you eat changes with the seasons, but expect dishes such as rainbow trout with finger lime, roe, pearl tapioca; spelt cannoli with bitter onion and sheep’s pecorino; and a mutton neck and black garlic sandwich. The food is washed down by a 30-bottle small-producer wine list (including local vino from Witches Falls Winery), house-made sodas, Australian spirits, and craft beer from from Brisbane’s Aether Brewing.
The digs themselves are a wonderful light-filled space with timber floors and pressed-metal walls and ceilings — a fabulous spot to enjoy a long lunch.
Shop 4/12 High Street, Boonah
0477 900 535
#Fortitude Brewing Co.
An open-air brewpub just off Tamborine Mountain’s winsome Long Road high street, Fortitude Brewing is a favourite drop-in for day-trippers to the region.
But that doesn’t mean they’ve phoned in the beers — for over a decade now Fortitude has carved out a clutch of core brews that regularly appear on taps across the country. There’s a robust pale ale, a fabulous laidback summer ale, a crisp lager and an enormously popular Pacer light ale.
The beers are enjoyed on a breezy, covered patio, and accompanied by a menu of elevated pub grub, perfect for powering along a laidback afternoon session.
Fortitude Brewing Co
165 Long Road, Tamborine Mountain
(07) 5545 4273
#Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm
Set inside a lavender farm on a gentle slope just outside Mount Alford, this fabulous modern dining room is all about French cooking applied to produce sourced from across the Scenic Rim.
The menu changes regularly but you might eat dishes such as beef carpaccio with chimichurri, shaved grano padano and crisp fried shallots; panko crumbed Fassifern Valley pork belly with caramelised apple, wakame and baby bok choi; or grilled spatchcock with red chili and coconut broth and kaffir lime.
Drinks revolve around the farm’s own wines, which include a chardonnay, an alba, a rosé and a cab sav.
Ultimately, though, it’s about that setting, with the restaurant’s enormous windows offering brilliant views west across the farm towards the surrounding ranges. Settle in for a long lunch and, afterwards, visit Scenic Rim Brewery in Mount Alford proper for a couple of knockoffs.
Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm
168 F M Bells Road, Mount Alford
(07) 5463 0022
#The Overflow Estate 1895
A happy consequence of the creation of the Lake Wyralong Dam in 2010, The Overflow Estate 1895 sits on a narrow peninsula jutting out into this picturesque reservoir, an old cattle farming homestead transformed into an elegant cellar door operation.
You can stay here and you can eat here, but most come to sample the wines, which include a fiano, a vermentino, a montepulciano, a tempranillo and a couple of sparklings, all made using grapes grown on-site. There’s also a non-estate pinot gris and verdelho.
The cellar door itself is an ultra modern space of steel, glass, timber and concrete, with brilliant views to the north and east. There’s a full food menu available on Saturday and Sunday but many choose to keep it simple, with a bottle of vino accompanied by a cheese or charcuterie plate as the breeze blows in off the water.
The Overflow Estate 1895
1660 Beaudesert Boonah Road, Wyaralong
0455 221 895
#Royal Hotel Harrisville
There’s a bunch of fabulous pubs scattered throughout the Scenic Rim, often hiding in small villages and hamlets just off the main highway.
The Royal Hotel Harrisville is one of the very best. Built in 1875, it retains much of that old-world charm with its long red tin roof, bullnose verandahs and original VJ-board walls. There’s even a couple of old train carriages in the backyard (which you can stay the night in, if you feel so inclined), with the sleepy Normanby Gully meandering past the back of the property.
There’s a terrific food menu here that goes well beyond standard pub fare, parmigianas and pizzas backed by elevated fish and steak dishes, but the Royal is a watering hole first and foremost, custom-made for sinking a couple of frothies. Grab a Gold and settle in on the back deck to watch the sun set over the garden.
Royal Hotel Harrisville
1 Queen Street, Harrisville
(07) 5467 1882
Spicers Hidden Vale is one of the luxury hotel operator’s most charming properties, set on a series of rolling hills outside of Grandchester, at the northern entrance to the Scenic Rim. At its heart is this fabulous restaurant helmed by chef Ash Martin.
Martin is fastidious about keeping out of the way of his produce, sourcing as much as he can locally or from the restaurant’s own garden. There’s emu tartare with pickled and fried jalapeno, preserved onion, sourdough and saltbush; cured pork loin with native pepper berry, eggplant, fermented honey and garlic; and Grandchester sirloin cooked over fire, with smoked bone marrow and celeriac.
For drinks, there’s a deep wine list that sources drops from across Australia and the world, a terrific selection of small-producer gin, and craft beer on tap.
It’s all served in a beautiful dining room with views southeast across the valleys and farmland. It’s a fabulous experience on its own, but this is such an occasion restaurant that perhaps tie it in with a stay at the hotel itself.
Homage Restaurant at Spicers Hidden Vale
617 Grandchester Mount Mort Road, Grandchester
(07) 5465 5900
#Arthur Clive’s Family Bakehouse
A Scenic Rim icon, Arthur Clive’s has been serving dedicated locals its sourdough, spelt loaves, pastries and sweets, house-made sangas and rustic, homestyle pies for more than 80 years.
There are two locations. An Aratula bakery is popular for those heading southwest from Brisbane on the Cunningham Highway but a cafe in Boonah is the place to pitch up for a longer breakfast or lunch.
Take a seat in its smart courtyard from 4.30am (no typo) with an all-day breakfast menu that features smashed avocado on ciabatta, an eggs Benedict with parmesan, a green smoothie bowl and fabulous breakfast burger. All-day lunch includes a chicken burrito, felafel burrito and steak sandwich built on ciabatta using locally sourced beef.
Added bonus: Arthur Clive’s own coffee is some of the best in the region and includes a tasty cold brew, if the weather’s warm.
Arthur Clive’s Family Bakehouse
33 High Street, Boonah
0410 639 647
Images courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland, Homage, Kooroomba Valley, Overflow Estate, Blume, Grace Dooner, Jonathan Pielmayer and Fortitude Brewing Co.