Taking inspiration from culinary celebrations in New York and Toronto, the City of Ipswich is unveiling its own epicurean event – Flavours of Ipswich – over 18 delicious days in April.
The inaugural festival will put the city’s top restaurants and chefs on a plate, with participating venues offering special menus of a $25 two-course lunch and $35 three-course dinner.
For residents and visitors to the city, it’s a chance to explore the city’s vibrant dining scene; broaden culinary horizons; and discover tasty new favourites.
Let’s start at the top of the ‘food chain’ with the city’s award-winning restaurants.
The Cottage Restaurant is a sweet slice of heritage from the 1860s, but she has some serious accolades under her belt – including the Australian Good Food Guide Readers’ Choice Award for 5 consecutive years!
For Flavours of Ispwich, Chef Mark Naoum is serving a special lunch menu, including Smoked Baby Beetroot Risotto and Rosewater Brulee.
Another stand-out is Bakehouse Steakhouse – recipient of an Award for Excellence and Best Casual Steak Dining Restaurant.
This former bakery from the 1870s has been reinvented with contemporary décor and a generous menu. Special offerings for Flavours of Ipswich include gourmet Wagyu and Chicken Burgers.
Prince Alfred Hotel’s restaurant, Char’d, has taken the ‘low and slow’ approach for its Flavours of Ipswich dishes – offering a main course of slow-cooked smoked beef brisket paired with Queensland seafood.
Char’d also features the largest craft beer bar in the southern hemisphere with 72 different brews, on tap.
But it’s not all high-end, fine dining. Flavours of Ipswich also celebrates restaurants that are cheap, cheerful and creative!
Peppered across the City of Ipswich are a number of popular community and sporting clubs with dining venues that are well worth discovering.
Club Services Ipswich is planning a tempting festival menu that includes Pulled Pork Burger, Teriyaki Chicken Bowl and Crispy Skin Barramundi with Potato Rosti and Broccolini.
Just over the road is Jets League Club – another relaxed, family-friendly place housed in a heritage building from the late 1800s. Expect good value food with some surprises for Flavours of Ipswich – including Chicken Saltimbocca and Smoked BBQ Ribs and Wings.
Brothers League Club is also pulling out the stops to show off its mouth-watering menu – with festival delights including Oven Roasted Chicken Supreme with Potato Gratin, Broccolini and a Creamy Mustard Sauce. Or you can tuck into Slow-Roasted Pork Belly with home-made Apple Relish.
Fans of spicy, exotic food will love the fact that no fewer than three top Indian restaurants are rolling out special menus for Flavours of Ipswich.
Food fit for a Maharajah is served at Memories of India – a lovely restaurant occupying an 18th-century hotel in the heart of the City of Ipswich.
For the culinary festival, the chefs here are firing up their traditional Tandoor oven – to offer a delectable entrée of lamb cutlets, marinated for 32 hours in yoghurt, garlic, cumin and coriander – then cooked to perfection, Tandoori-style.
Another fiery player in Flavours of Ipswich is the elegant Indian Mehfil restaurant – set in a handsome heritage building that evokes days of the Raj.
The restaurant’s philosophy is a Sanskrit saying which translates to “the guest is God”.
And for Flavours of Ipswich, the hospitality extends to an amazing lunch and dinner banquet – featuring favourites like Butter Chicken and Lamb Rogan Josh, along with lesser-known delights like Fish Methi Malai.
Though dessert isn’t the first thing that springs to mind with Indian cuisine, you’d be crazy not to try the sweet festival treat being served at Essence of Indya – a Charcoal Kulfi that’s already the talk of the town.
For dyed-in-the-wool carnivores, Flavours of Ipswich has plenty of robust, meat-based dishes to tempt you, across a variety of restaurants and cafes.
The Commercial Hotel at Redbank is a great old pub with casual country style and a city address.
Its signature restaurant, Station Steakhouse, is commanded by a talented, 22-year-old head chef who’s conjured up some exceptional dishes for April.
The special lunch and dinner menus feature Pork Belly on creamy polenta with sherry vinegar, pea and asparagus salsa… and a 12 hour, slow-cooked Diamantina Beef Cheek…
Over 14 hours, this true beer-lovers dish is coaxed to mouth-watering perfection in the restaurant’s 400-kilo wood and charcoal smoker.
If your protein preferences stretch beyond beef, there are some delightful dishes on the menu at Fourthchild Café & Bar at the Top of Town precinct in Ipswich.
Think Seafood Linguine and Salmon with Soy and Lime Glaze – and, for Flavours of Ipswich, a hearty Beef Lasagna, among other tasty favourites for the festival.
Across the river, you’ll find Ruby Chews – a temple to that cornerstone of casual dining, the hamburger…
Here, the meat patties are freshly prepared and cooked to order every time…
And for the festival? $35 per head gets you a two-person feast described as a meat-lovers’ High Tea – a tower of burger sliders, onion rings, chips, chicken wings and tenders plus your choice of Sundae.
Adam Herbert is a former Brisbane chef, barbecue maestro and lover of all things protein-based. The meat industry is his particular passion.
Adam is part of a competitive barbecue team called Primal Iron, along with best mates Matt, Carl and Christian. In 2021, the team took out top prize at the Kondari BBQ Festival in Hervey Bay.
If you ever catch the Primal Iron team at a competition, you won’t miss their pride and joy – the Primal Iron barbecue pit.
Is your mouth watering yet? Make sure you make a date to dine out in the City of Ipswich during Flavours of Ipswich, on from the 7th the 24th of April. If you are planning on attending the festival, make sure you book before April 7th.
For the full list of participating restaurants and cafes, plus their special $25 two-course and $35 three-course menus – head to the Discover Ipswich website.
And why not make the most of it and stay on to enjoy a show in town? Here’s a list of some of the plays, performances and concerts that are happening during the festival.
- A Taste of Ireland: The Irish Music & Dance Sensation – Ipswich Civic Centre
- The Owl and the Pussycat – Ipswich Civic Centre
- 3 Legends in Concert – Ipswich Civic Centre
- Dustier Than Ever – Ipswich Civic Centre
- John Williamson: Celebrating 50 Years – Ipswich Civic Centre
- Contemporary Works from the Collection