Äta med Taren

My friend, Taren, and I share many similarities:

  • An electrical engineering-based degree from JCU
  • A similar attitude to risk mitigation
  • A need for polarised sunglasses
  • A love of Downton Abbey
  • A love of Tea Centre loose leaf teas
  • A love of her cat, Toby
  • A weakness for shops in Queens Plaza
  • An understanding of French parenting techniques
  • And a passion for fine food, particularly scones

But one thing that we no longer share is having an address in Brisbane, or even Australia, because Taren has just flown the Aussie nest and settled in Sweden with her fiancé, Marcus.

In the months preceding Taren’s departure, we stepped up the decadence level of our outings, keeping in mind that every where we went, it would probably be for the last time, as least for many, many years.

The Former Portal Hotel

One October Thursday evening, following an event that Taren attended at Engineers Australia, Taren treated me to dinner at the O Bar at the former Portal Hotel. I may have started ordering wine while Taren was still getting her CPD on…


I really love the atmosphere in the bar, especially the “freak show” style drinks posters and the exposed, dungeonesque walls.


There was an odd symmetry between by entrée and my dessert (scallops on a round filo pastry circle and then spicy apple and cream on a round filo pastry circle) but all in all, a great meal.



One November Friday evening, in order to celebrate Taren’s engagement, I decided to take her out for dinner. Unconventional, I know, but our friendship is based on both being women on an unconventional career journey for a women so I’m sure it’s fine.

I got my hair done for the occasion, but also because my hair had been overdue.

IMG_9551 IMG_9553

I don’t mean to make light of what is actually quite a serious situation to me, but I hadn’t had my hair cut in that long that my usual hairdresser had been diagnosed with cancer and had completed 8 of her 10 sessions of chemo before I rang again for an appointment. Terrible hairdressing client and terrible human being… The other girls at the salon say that she’s on the mend so I hope she will make a full recovery, despite having to re-grow her beautiful long hair.

Jeremy’s had undergone a bit of a make under, adding some beer taps and allowing the waiters to wear jeans. I’m not sure it was a move in the best direction, I was happy with Jeremy’s as it was, but perhaps some change is okay, sometimes.

Again, I was guilty of starting the celebrations while waiting for Taren to arrive…


We had our usual entrée of scallops and I had my favourite pork belly for the main course. Mmmmmm!

Congratulations Taren and Marcus!

High Tea at Bacchus

One November Sunday afternoon, we booked a table at the Bacchus Lounge for high tea, because we just don’t get enough opportunities for high tea these days. It was a bit of a strange vibe in the outside area of the Bacchus Lounge, sort of Races at the Beach, with pumping music, skimpy dresses and towering heels. We were seated inside, where there was a completely different ambience, wet-look copper panels, wooden furniture and brown organza curtains.

IMG_9598 IMG_9599

We selected a Parisienne tea, not au lait, and began munching on our delicacies – croissants, finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and macaroons.  A perfect afternoon!

Buzz Breakfast

One January Saturday morning, Taren, Marcus and I went to Buzz at Gasworks for breakfast. Buzz generally has really prompt service and is one of the only places that will still serve me savoury mince for breakfast, now that it’s not as in vogue as it was two years ago. After saying goodbye to Marcus and Toby, Taren and I continued our day of leisure by shopping til the afternoon.  See me, below, trying on clothes in Review.


Royal on the Park

One January Friday evening, Taren and I really outdid ourselves on the bourgeois meter. After work, we indulged ourselves with treatments at the nail bar, did a spot of shopping and then headed towards one of our favourite restaurants, The Walnut Restaurant at the Royal on the Park.

In our state of dizzy exuberance (or perhaps it was the exposure to nail varnish), we decided to order the seafood tower.


We made a pretty good effort in dismantling said tower. There were only a few oysters and some smoked salmon left at the end. But we didn’t’ stop there, ordering crepe suzette for dessert which was flambéed at the table.



We washed down our night of decadence with some nice sturdy earl grey tea and waddled out of the restaurant to catch a cab and fall into bed.

Bye Bye Australia

One January Saturday evening, Taren and Marcus hosted a safari-themed farewell party at their apartment building.


It was the last time I would see Toby so I made sure to get lots of cuddles in, whether he wanted them or not.


It was lovely to see some of Taren’s old uni friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen for 6 or 7 years. Taren also put on a great spread, particularly the sauerkraut and corned beef BBQed sandwiches. Definitely, a culinary highlight!

Last Night in Oz

On the last February Tuesday evening, Taren and Marcus dropped their bags at my house and we headed out to James Squire for a last supper. I managed to order most of a pig for dinner, which was amazing.


Taren had managed to soften the blow of her leaving by selling me her iRobot for a pittance, but I was still very sorry to see her leave, the soft of feeling you have when you graduate… I’m so happy that we’re each starting a new chapter – Taren as a Swede, me as a Roomba owner, but sad that the time we shared in the way that we used to share it is over, for now.

Our first time in Brisbane together in 2008

Our first time in Brisbane together in 2008

Our last time in Brisbane together in 2015

Our last time in Brisbane together in 2015

All the best on your Scandinavian sea/snow change, Tazza!

P.S. Taren and I have managed to continue our decadence by having a virtual tea date over Facebook


P.P.S  I have personalised Roomba, that is, made him more like a person…


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