Saturday, March 10, 2007

J.P. Chenet and breakfasty disappointments

Anne and I occasionally eat out for breakfast and we know some great places for that -- the Cafe Zagreb, K&Ks, Pommes teashop etc. Everybody like a change, though, so this week we tried two of the eateries associated with Mt. Coot-Tha -- Brisbane's mid-city scenic mountain.

We first tried the restaurant in the Botanical Gardens at the bottom of the mountain. The view out onto a large duckpond with lots of bamboo in the background was very pleasant and the food -- a smorgasbord with a good range of options -- was quite good but the coffee was terrible. So strike that one out.

Today we tried the Cafe at the summit of the mountain. Again the view was great and the food was fine but this time the coffee was REALLY bad. Nescafe would have been better. So strike that one out too.

While we were there, however, we did enjoy seeing the scrub turkeys walking in and out of the cafe. They are much smaller than the turkeys bred for eating but look good. They are a protected specieas and there a lot of them wandering around throughout Brisbane's Western suburbs. They are common in the Mt Coot-Tha reserve and the ones around the cafe have obviously become quite tame.

My father used to eat them in the old days when he was working out in the bush. To him they were just another chook to be killed and eaten. This was in the days when you had to kill your own chicken if you wanted to eat one. I saw him do so a few times. He said that the scrub turkeys are pretty tough (chewy), though.

A consolation for the coffee disappointments is that J.P. Chenet has now come to Brisbane. They are the world's largest-selling French wine so if I were the usual Leftist snob I would have to say how bad their wine is. But, being a contemptible plebeian, I have to say that I quite like the sauvignon blanc particularly. It goes down very easily.

Australia produces such a lot of high quality wine at low prices that overseas wines are mainly sold here as a curiosity so I had never heard of J.P. Chenet. But I saw one of their distinctive bottles in a local liquor shop and thought it worth a try. I am glad I did. It is incredibly cheap. It is "on special" at $7. The cheapest Australian white is usually $5 and I mostly pay over $10 when I buy white wine. Those Chenet people sure are clever guys. Maybe EU subsidies help.

The sauvignon blanc is from Gascony. The English have been importing Gascon wine for over 400 years so I suppose it was time some got to Australia. I gather that Gascony is not one of the prestigious French wine districts, though.