EXPLORING

& GNAWING

Discovering the world, one bite at a time!

Pitching A Tent at Camp Hill?

Now before we go any further it would be remiss of me to not confront the elephant in the room. It’s been over a year between blog entries. For some it’s been a welcome relief – but the real answer is that life has got in the way. My sense of adventure is still intact, albeit covered in a film of dust. The next few months will bring with it an overseas trip and more regularity than a sprinkling of psyllium husks can provide. If I promise to increase my input, can you continue to act slightly bemused when reading?

My unwavering fandom of raucous music took me to Brisbane recently for a couple of shows. Fellow music lovers put me up for a night near Camp Hill. Think of the rest of this prose as a Camp Hill sandwich with musical bread. From what I observed during my wandering on the streets, I hazard a guess that the major pastime of Camp Hill residents is repaying debt. The kind of debt that requires a medical specialist to moonlight as a jet fighter pilot just to ensure the Christmas card arrives from the Bank Manager. Views atop those hills eyeballing the city don’t grow on trees, unless you live in a treehouse.

Camp Hill, where the only things steeper than the hills are the residents mountains of debt

Fuelled by caffeine, the first stop was at Blackbird Espresso, a hole in the wall owned by a lovely couple. Open 365 days a year, the owners don’t sleep. Now that could be their work ethic but maybe they are unable to get some shut eye given the amount of coffee they consume in a day? I plonk myself on one of the few tables out front, watching a cross section of Camp Hill stream past in their shiny transport pausing long enough to exit the vehicle, two sentences of small talk while paying for their morning fix. Don’t be under the illusion that you need to be driving a European debt trap to enjoy the coffee, it was also popular with tradies. Their elongated chats no doubt made them late to the work site (again), but you can’t question their tastebuds. The coffee was good enough that I would have had another three, however the café across the road was beckoning. (Edit: Turns out that the coffee was the best of the day). Blackbird also had tempting bakery treats which would ease the stress of a bumper to bumper commute on Boundary Road, or at least until the sugar low kicked in.


Across the road, Picnic on Martha is a more traditional cafe, identifiable by the bike out the front. What the bike lacks in road worthiness, it makes up for in aesthetics. The Friday brunch crowd was out in force, trusting the bike’s sign (“Come In We’re Awesome”). One of my rules in life is never trust messages on an aqua bike, especially one with flowers in the spokes. The low frequency groans from my tummy and the already uncomfortable humidity made it easy to turn a blind eye to this moral rectitude. Even if the food is ordinary it would be a welcomed change to go into a café with a bike out the front and not be visually assaulted by men testing the elasticity limits of lycra.


The best thing about Picnic was the smoothie. This faithful day completely flipped my attitude to smoothies. Instantly a disciple, a world with more of this cold, fruity goodness is a must. A pile of scrambled eggs with chilli filled the pile of scrambled eggs hole in my heart, even if it had an unnecessary flower/weed balancing atop. The bike sign (Come In We’re Awesome) probably took some liberties but the smoothie did hold true.

At the end of the block there was the proverbial fork in the road. On one corner was acclaimed burger joint Ze Pickle and staring it down from across the street was the inquiring (complete with question mark), In A Pickle? Room for only one meal, two options… In a pickle? Yes I was. Long story short I made the wrong decision, opting for a mediocre sandwich, slice and coffee. In their defense the slice was no match for the wall of heat outside. Somehow a pecan nut went from a solid state to mushy liquid quicker than you say, “I should have chosen the place across the road”. Adding to this forgettable episode, a magpie decided to muscle in on my table and knocked the coffee over. After cursing at the damn bird, I started a Go Fund Me page to start up a magpie cull. It was quickly retracted after I took a sip at the remaining coffee, he probably was doing me a favour.

Florence was the next on the list, a converted house away from the main precinct. A mountain of favourable reviews meant it was worthy of further investigation even though I my stomach was exerting pressure on other organs. Part neighbourhood cafe/corner store/deli/place to catch up with friends, it’s vibe was warm as the sweat that was gushing south from may head. It occurred to me later on the drive home that Florence may be a vegetarian restaurant? I can’t remember seeing any bacon or meat product on mine or the plates of fellow Camp Hillians. I ordered the Florence Bowl, a mix of potatoes, olives, rice, pickled bits and pieces and tzatziki. The kind of meal that would keep bowel cancer at bay for a few months. Crack an egg or two into the mix and it would have been perfect. A delicious mango smoothie dropped my body temperature, but next time hold the cream. The last quarter of the Florence Bowl was a challenge, as my food intake in the three hours prior was inhuman.

* * *

The following Monday I was the chauffer for an appointment at Greenslopes Hospital. Let the record show there was no correlation between the food at the previously mentioned places and said hospital trip. Why not include another lunch in Camp Hill just for good measure? Rubbing shoulders with the designer dress shops within Camp Hill Marketplace was the local fav Hatori Karaage Bar. It is places like this that made Colonel Sanders age prematurely. Pro tip: If you unable to make a decision over one venue over other, pay attention to the size of the pigeons nearby. These were the only pigeons in Camp Hill to have love handles. A vatic sign.

If that is for two I will eat my hat, after I have a go at eating all this!

Whether it was the recent visit to the hospital, one of us went for the healthier poke bowl option. Wagyu beef, rice, lotus chips and some greenery. The remaining two (me included) factored in the proximity of the hospital and took a chance on the platter of karaage platter. Chicken in all its delicious forms kissed with a couple of different sauces. The misleading menu trumpeted it as a platter for two, but three people and the nearby flock of chubby pigeons would struggle to put a dent into. After pecking madly at this the pigeon would join the emu as one of Australia’s handful of flightless birds. Not my first trip to Hatori Karaage Bar and it will not be my last.

Nearby in the same complex was The Delightful Turk. I couldn’t walk past without trying a Yiros. Think of this as a palate cleanser. Falafel, pita bread and some salad is always a winner. My last Camp Hill meal (until the next one).

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately Ze Pickle shut down it’s Camp Hill store earlier this month. If you are in Burleigh Heads or the Brisbane Airport please don’t make the same mistake as I did and give them a try.

* * *

The Delightful Turk thedelightfulturk.com.au/, Camp Hill Marketplace 7/27 Samuel St, Camp Hill QLD 4152 (Turkish)
Hatori Karaage Bar hatorikaraage.com, Camp Hill Marketplace 6/25 Samuel St, Camp Hill QLD 4152 (Korean)
Picnic on Martha picniccafebrisbane.com.au/, Shop5/12 Martha St, Camp Hill QLD 4152 (Cafe)
Blackbird Espresso 4 Newman Ave, Camp Hill QLD 4152 (Coffee Bar)
In A Pickle inapickle.com.au, 2 Martha St, Camp Hill QLD 4152 (Cafe/Sandwich Bar)
Florence Café florence-cafe.com, 54 Martha St, Camp Hill QLD 4152 (Cafe)

A picture tells a thousand words

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One Response

  1. Great to have you back Brad. The Hatori share plate looks so good. Thanks for the giggles.

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This blog started life as a series of emails with poor quality photography to family and friends whilst overseas to let them know I was still breathing.  It has since grown into it’s own little part of the internet.  A place where I ramble on about my love of travel and food.  Hopefully you find some enjoyment and inspiration out of it for future travel plans.  I have got a buzz from seeing it evolve into this flurry of pixels. 

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