This year I have to adjust to two new things: attending University and dining on a student’s budget. This means as a student at Queensland University of Technology I have an opportunity to find cheap and quality breakfast or lunch options in the CBD. So far in my first semester I have discovered a few favourites that are worth sharing!
Little Saigon Grill
My parents say that this is a public service favourite. Hordes of public servants flock to this hawker-style Vietnamese eatery most lunch times, so make sure you get there before the lunch rush to avoid the lineup. On offer is a great range of both hot and cold traditional Vietnamese dishes. My go-to is the homemade Vietnamese rice paper rolls including lemongrass grilled beef, satay chicken, roast duck and the classic prawn and pork, all served with a hoisin and peanut dipping sauce (from $2.50 each). Cheap, fresh and delicious. That’s what I’m talking about!
While not traditionally Vietnamese, the laksa here is superb and great for a cold, rainy day. However, it may not always be on the menu so make sure you have a backup option. Look at that colour though!
Pho, the national dish of Vietnam, and Banh-Mi’s are also served here and while I haven’t tried these yet, they are definitely next on my list. My mum tells me that her office likes them so much that occasionally they have a Banh-Mi day and a runner from the office volunteers to organize the order and payment and picks them up to bring them back for lunch.
Ground Floor, 123 Albert St, Brisbane CBD
I count myself quite fortunate to have ‘Australia’s Best Café’ located one street away from my uni (as named by Beanhunter) . Perfect for a quick coffee and breakfast before heading to a morning lecture or for a longer lunch during midday breaks.
The coffee here is obviously the star. The café’s favourite beans are rotated week-to-week and then there’s the legendary coffee art from the skilled baristas (go on check out their Instagram page).
The coffee is certainly not let down by the food on offer. The brekky brioche roll ($9) is a great quick cheap breakfast option while the eggs benedict ($15.50) is lifted with 63 degree cooked poached eggs, confit tomato and sumac.
Healthier alternatives are also offered including a chia pudding with poached pear, fresh berries and passionfruit that looked and tasted fantastic! Unfortunately, it has now been taken off the menu but the coconut and apricot flapjack ($14) sounds pretty good as well!
126 Margaret St, Brisbane CBD
Wednesday Farmers Markets
One of favourite days of uni is Wednesday when I get to drop into the Jan Power Farmers Markets to find something new to eat. The Brazilian BBQ at the back of the markets never lets me down while the freshly made Italian gelato ($5 for up to two flavours, $7 for up to three flavours) from La Macelleria is an absolute must-have.
The Gnocchi Brothers deliver authentic gnocchi in a range of delicious sauces, my favourite being the signature wild mushroom, cream and truffle sauce ($10).
Radcliffe Place, George St, Brisbane CBD
Men Ya Go
Located right next to Little Saigon Grill, Men Ya Go specialises in ramen, a Japanese noodle soup dish. I tried the spicy ramen dish which came with slices of pork, a hardboiled egg and crunchy nori. Remember, if you eat the noodles too fast and have too much broth left, you can always order for free, an extra bowl of noodles. Another perfect dish for a cold, winter’s day! I noted with interest that for Summer they offer a chilled noodle dish too.
Shop 4, 123 Albert Street, Brisbane CBD
Noritor Bar & Restaurant
The Bibimbap is a Korean mixed rice dish that is served in a hot sizzling bowl. The idea is to mix all of the contents in the bowl together to form a fried rice. It’s actually really fun and tastes great! Noritor does a great bibimbap, my favourite being the marinated raw beef ($16.80) and the marinated pork slices ($15.50). Unfortunately, I haven’t taken any photos of the bibimbaps I’ve had here but it’s definitely worth giving it a try!
151 George Street, Brisbane CBD