Friday, 1 May 2015

Billykart Kitchen - cafe review

Billy carts - yep that brings back the memories.  Remember jumping onto a wooden billy cart made by your dad or granddad; no brakes and the only way to stop is to keep heading down that gravel road by the side of the house and falling headlong into a blackberry bush!  Or if the cart kept going, you would end up in the little creek running by the side of the road.  So you then jumped out of the creek or the bush spitting out mud or brambles, dusting yourself off and hauling the cart back up the hill for another go.  Not sure if kids still do that sort of thing but it was the norm when we were growing up. "Out the door and don't come back till dark" was the usual mantra as mum pushed us out the door during school holidays.  We also used to play chicken on the local Puffing Billy tracks - you know the famous steam train with the Trestle bridge that has no escape route when you are halfway across? Yep that one.  We used to run across it and if a train came along, the only place you could go was a tiny platform on the side halfway over the bridge, so you had to run like billy-o to get to the platform. Heaven knows if mum knew we were doing these crazy, dare-devil stunts, but she would have been shaking in her boots if she did!  Anyway on this grey, miserably rainy day here in (sunny!) Brisbane which reminds me so much of my grey, rainy childhood in the Victorian countryside, I grabbed Mr Pickings and offered to shout him lunch as he was employee-less for the afternoon.  We headed across town to the south side (oh how brave are we!  You may not know about the dreaded north/south divide in Brisbane unless you live here but it can be seen as a brave if not foolhardy thing to go from one to the other, especially just for lunch:)  Our charming waitress agreed that it was indeed a brave action to come across town (just kidding!), but she did think it was a great idea to try somewhere new that involved a bit of a trek to the other side of town.

you can just see me wearing a scarf at the front of the cafe (photo courtesy of Mr Pickings)    

Billykart is in an old corner store in a leafy, quiet neighbourhood, which has been lovingly refurbished to house (celebrity) chef Ben O'Donoghue's 80-seater licensed cafe.  We took a seat outside and made quick decisions on our meals.  The breakfast menu finishes at 11 am sadly, as there looked to be heaps of fabulous items, but we made do with the lunch menu (from 11.30 am).  I chose salt cod fritters while Mr P had the pulled pork burger which he said was very tasty as the pork was nicely caramelised giving it a great flavour.  Not being a pork eater usually, Mr P was pleasantly surprised by this dish.  I think Mr P was lucky to have fries on his plate as they were delicious and some of the best fries we have eaten.  (Yes I helped myself to some).  I thought it somewhat strange that there were no sides listed on the menu at all, not a salad or a fry to be seen though clearly they did have fries in the kitchen.  My fritters were very well made and tasty; my only complaint being that even for me the salt lover extraordinaire, they were indeed very salty and therefore a tiny bit bitter.  The aioli on my plate was divine and tasted of real garlic (unlike the stuff that comes out of a jar in 99% of eating establishments).  The baby rocket was so fresh that I ate it all up.  And folks, if you have read my opinion of "weeds" before, you will know that is unusual for me.  We had just seen one of the chefs outside in the kerbside garden picking the herbs on Mr P's plate so we knew they were fresh.  And what a difference that makes to a dish!

delish fresh rocket, salt cod fritters and gorgeous aioli  $16

pulled pork burger with the best fries $24

iced mocha $7

Mr P had his usual strawberry milkshake ($7); he didn't rave about it so I assume it was okay but not superb.  When he does get a superb one, you really hear about it:)  By this time, it was raining a little and blowing a brisk breeze and I was coat-less but even so, we bravely went ahead with dessert.  I had chocolate Nemesis, while Mr P. had strawberry bread.  My cake was served with creme fraiche (or mascarpone?) which gave a lovely counterpoint to the sweet, dense cake.  I even managed to eat the whole thing which is unusual for me.

chocolate Nemesis $8

strawberry bread $8

Yes Mr P. had cream and ice-cream.  It was sitting on such a pretty plate too.  Billykart is open 7 days a week from 6.30 am till 2 pm, and on Friday nights (bookings essential) for dinner.  Our waitress was lovely, the food deliciously edible, and the atmosphere very pleasant.  I really loved the interior, with books on the shelves, and the old Clifton Hill corner store sign hanging on the back wall.  This is somewhere that you can hang out, drink coffee, eat cake and just chill in the casual and well-run establishment.  Good fortune for the southsiders who live nearby:)

love the lights! (and you can buy the Campos coffee)  

part of the herb garden with citrus trees  

Billy Kart Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. Yes, I don't think kids these days have the fun we had in our generation. I'm quite sure we spent so much more time outdoors. How lovely that the greens on the plate go from the garden to the plate xx

  2. Hi Charlie
    Yes it was lovely to have zingingly fresh herbs:). I think our parents were brave to let us go off all alone or perhaps just sick to death of us hanging around? My little brother was a toddler when we had to drag him off for the day:))

  3. I've never ridden in a billy kart, Americans called them go-karts. My brother had one of those but not me. My mother would put us out with a picnic lunch and tell us we had to be back before dark and off we'd go. If we opted to stay at home we knew there would be a list of chores. No thanks.

    I'd like the restaurant.

    1. Hubby said he called them go carts but he grew up in a different State to me. Either way it refers to goats! As billy goats used to pull them, the goat became go and the whole thing just became billy. The things you learn:)

  4. Seems like a love eatery to hang out; I sure do want to eat something after seeing your pictures. Dare devil children stunts will get many a mother's legs and lungs into action! :-) #aNoviceMumCommentLuv

    1. it has a lovely ambience there. what little devils we were as kids!

  5. It all looks good. I'd be up for the pulled pork burger - it looks delish. As does the chocolate nemesis ...

  6. Fabulous huh? Those salt cod fritters look great. Next time...

    1. I am looking forward to going back and trying more of everything.


I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comment and I will reply as soon as I can. If you have problems commenting, please try without your WordPress profile. You can try Anonymous (add your name in the text) or your Google account if you have one.