Brisbane’s seriously spicy restaurants | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Brisbane’s seriously spicy restaurants

If your next dinner plans involve ‘modern Australian,’ stop what you’re doing right now and cancel that reservation. There’s a whole world of delicious food out there from every corner of the globe, packed with flavours from herbs and spices you’ve never heard of (and probably can’t pronounce) that will have you wanting to pack a bag and take the next flight to Istanbul. Luckily, you don’t need to travel that far to find tasty and exotic fare, we’ve got a whole list of hot spots just around the corner. North African & Middle Eastern | Gerard’s Bistro | Fortitude Valley As much a feast for the eyes as the mouth, Gerard’s creative and alluring cuisine is inspired by the flavours of the hot bed of the world. Highlights on the unique menu include the coal roasted quail with spiced farro, and the Bekaa wings with kishk yoghurt (buffalo wings eat your heart out). Bonus, they recently came away from the Good Food Guide Awards with the title of Brisbane’s best restaurant so you know you’re headed somewhere good. Tibetan | Tibetan Kitchen | Spring Hill & Fortitude Valley Did you even know Tibet had their own cuisine? You do now. You should also know that it’s pretty damn delicious. At Brisbane’s one and only Tibetan restaurant, you can try Sherpa Chicken, a scrumptious curry-like dish of boneless chicken tossed with spring onions, mushrooms, cream, garlic and fresh green chillies and coriander. No climbing of Everest necessary. Persian | Zafron | New Farm Persia meets the Mediterranean at this Brunswick Street restaurant with a head chef who hails from the region (now Iran) herself. The menus signature, and most popular dish, is Caspian Chicken; an East-meets-West amalgamation of chicken tenderloins marinated in pomegranate molasses, rolled in crushed pine nuts and intensely aromatic spices, before being baked and served with caramelised carrots and a saffron white wine sauce. Divine. Lebanese | Byblos | Hamilton Lashings of garlic, herbs and spices go into Lebanese fare, so be sure to pack some gum if you’re taking a date to Byblos for an exotic dinner. There you’ll find some familiar dishes like falafel, along with some delicious but unpronounceable items like Moundardara and Kebbi Nayeh. We just wish we could go straight to dessert for the traditional sweets like baklava, Turkish delight, and halva. The Lebanese know how to give someone a sugar high! Israeli | Shouk Café | Paddington With a menu full of the flavours from Israel, Tunisia, Persia and even Poland, eating your way through Shouk café’s brunch offerings is like eating your way across half the world (without the jet lag). They’ve even managed to put an exotic spin on classics like avo on toast, piling it with spicy dukkah, pomegranate molasses and Persian fetta. This is one avo on toast you couldn’t just make at home. Moroccan | Meccah Bah | Fortitude Valley Don’t limit yourself to trying just one wild and wonderful offering, take your most adventurous friends and sample them all on the banquet, eating your way through sweet potato falafels with tahini sauce, spicy lamb and pine nut boureks, Moroccan spiced calamari and spit roasted lamb pizza. Wear the stretchy pants! There’s a time and a place for familiar favourites, but sometimes you just need to take your tastebuds on a global adventure – without the stress of trying to pack a suitcase. Words by Ranyhyn Akui