11 May 2012

Haunted houses and the coming of age

I'm a Brisbane girl born and bred. I had a few years living in the UK and have had the good fortune of travelling to many parts of the world. But there is no place like home - at least for me anyway - and Brisbane is my home.

Brisbane has grown up a lot over the last few decades and I think nothing shows this as clearly as the food and wine scene.

I'm very proud to say that my father was even part of this culinary scene back in the 80s and early 90s as the chef of one of Brisbane's very few silver service restaurants, The Clansmen.

My father's legacy to Brisbane's culinary history on a menu from The Clansmen, 1980.

I have extremely fond memories of this restaurant converted from an old Queensland house, after spending many of my weekends as a child with my brother and sister playing hide-and-seek among its haunted rooms. They weren't really haunted - well I don't think so - but courtesy of my delightfully believable older brother, and ably assisted by my incredibly vivid childhood imagination, he told me a story about a terrible crime that had been committed in the house many decades before. Brothers!

However, I still loved the place and would disappear from my mother, who would be washing and ironing all the embroidered tablecloths and napkins ready for the evening ahead, and explore the cigar bar (that would still faintly smell of the evening before's cigar toking patrons), the quaint individual rooms off the main dining area that I always imagined to be for the very rich taking clients out for special business wheelings and dealings, or for a young gentlemen taking his love out to a romantic dinner to speak sweet nothings to her followed by a proposal, all the while surrounded by the old world charm that was the Clansmen. Yes, I was a romantic as a child.

The front of an old Clansmen menu with the history of the past residents of the house.

Of course my most favourite place to explore was the huge commercial kitchen. This was an add-on to the original house and I can still close my eyes and imagine its intoxicating smell fondly. My sister and I, after having enough of our brother trying to scare us, would regularly go foraging in the kitchen for delightful leftovers before Dad would find us and shoo us out again.

Inside one of the Clansmen menus from 1980. Check out the prices.

These were the days when Brisbane was yet to know what a latte was, going out to dinner for the average 'Joe' was a treat to the local pizza restaurant, wine came in cardboard boxes, and no one had even heard of the word sushi let alone the fact that it was something you ate.

Step forward into 2012 and Brisbane's culinary scene has truly blossomed into a vibrant, confidant and fresh city with a love of fabulous food and great wine. Well at least I think so, anyway.

So it is about time that the great people of the Good Food Guide finally launched Queensland's first 2012 restaurant awards to celebrate this great, burgeoning industry in the sunshine state, thanks to Natascha Mirosch, editor of the 2012 Queensland Good Food Guide.

The Queensland Good Food Guide is offering an internet subscription
for only $4.50 for a limited time. CLICK HERE to secure your copy

I'm also very excited to announce that this is my first sponsored post (don't worry, I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon), which means that I have a deal for you. The Queensland Good Food Guide is offering my readers a 50 per cent discount to an internet subscription of the guide, which will provide you with over 570 reviews of eateries in Brisbane, and from Northern Queensland down to and including Northern New South Wales. Never will you have to ask, 'Where do you want to go for dinner?', again. All you need to do is click here and you will have access to the Queensland Good Food Guide for only $4.50 for a limited time.

I was so excited (as only I can get) when the first campaign I received to write about was to spruik Queensland's great restuarants. Growing up with a father as a chef and parents who owned their own restaurant for several years, with a young family, I am only too happy to support others that make their livelihoods in this industry.

This is a RocketFuel sponsored post

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  1. Loved this blogg sis......u didn't mention the fabulous but ever so terrifying wine cellar.....dark, gloomy, underground.....great for our wild and spooky imaginations. We were all too scared to go down by ourselves......it was DEFINATELY haunted........thanks for the reminder of childhood memories

  2. BAHAHA, that cellar was TOO scary. I think I was so scared of it that I never actually went down into it. I have very strong memories of looking down those stairs into the darkness though. Ooo I just got the chills ;-)

  3. Sounds like a great building! Perfect for a few scary stories :)

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Jemi. It was such a wonderful old house.

  5. Brisbane is a small place, that place that I work now has the old chef from the Clansman (Glenn) running the cafeteria.

  6. Oh my goodness, it really is a small world, Gerard. I remember Glenn and his wife. We used to go over the their place when I was very young. Please say hello and tell him I'm Wayne's youngest :-)

  7. So excited to see the menus and my longed for Ginger Prawns... never could afford an entree and a dessert, so dessert won out... great memories, thank you.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Crissouli. It's alright, we never ate at this restaurant because we couldn't afford it ;-) but the leftovers were great :-)

  8. I proposed to my wife in one of those little alcoves you mentioned. My girlfriend was given a carnation and a stoll as it was quite cool and windy outside. My jacket and tie met the standard apparently which I was glad about as they were both borrowed. We were smiling from ear to ear all night from the excellent service and food. I even organised the head waiter to look after the ring, which I dropped in earlier that day, as I couldn't hide the box from my inquisitive lady.

    I excused myself after the mains and picked up the ring. When I got back I told her "I have a question to ask you" Got down on one knee next to her at the table and said "Robyn, I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you do me the honour of being my bride?"

    She said "YES, of course. I love you too." and cried. There was a little clap from the surrounding tables and congratulations from the wait staff. I think we got some champers but I was too overwhelmed at the time to recall fine detail :).

    We have been together 20 years coming up in the next few days which led me to this blog post about a special place in our lives. I was a little disappointed to find it closed down and a Child Care centre there.

    I sold my Holden Panelvan so I could buy that ring and as any true blue Aussie boy would know, that is about as big as it gets romance-wise in Australia ;-)

    Great memories