Two of my favourite indulgences are beer and pizza, so to stumble across a place that does both things well is an unexpected treat. Tinderbox Kitchen in the prestige end of Fortitude Valley's James Street is a newish venture by Brisbane chef PJ Mc Millan who is also the maestro behind Harveys Bar and Bistro next door.
And though they're not the only item on the menu, pizzas have pride of place at Tinderbox Kitchen. The evidence of this is everywhere, from huge silver wood-fired pizza oven which dominates the dining room, through to the specially-sourced flour (Wood's Organic Farm stoneground from 'Gallibaraay' Moree, NSW) used to create the dough.
A restrained but refreshingly authentic selection of pizzas (including bianco, margherita, funghi and diavola) are on offer. You can select your own toppings if you wish, but my recommendation would be the 'Tinderbox' featuring Mooloolaba prawns, chilli, zucchini, fior de latte (fresh cheese), oregano and cherry tomatoes.
The drinks menu is also something of a delight, imploring as it does that people 'drink fresh beer' such as the Sunshine Coast Brewery's summer ale, best bitter and rye ESB (extra special bitter). 'All (our beers) are brewed here in South East Queensland and delivered refrigerated to our backdoor', the menu claims. Beer not your thing? There's also an extensive wine list and a respectable selection of cocktails.
Desserts change regularly - think lemon curd tart with fresh berries and cream, Persian nougat with pistachio, cranberry, orange and roasted fig or ice-creams (say, hazelnut gelato or banana semifreddo) paired with biscotti and other bite-sized accompaniments.
Set as it is in the upmarket James Street precinct, hunkered in the midst of glitzy big ticket shops like the divine St Barts, Tinderbox Kitchen is the sort of understated place you could easily stroll past. But it's well worth searching out and spending some time here.
The dessert list includes lemon curd tart with fresh berries and cream. Author image.