The Courier-Mail - QWeekend

Dishes to woof down

Aside from the no-frills decor, this Logan Rd eatery delivers on almost every count

- Review ANOOSKA TUCKER-EVANS

re we at a Quilton factory or a cafe,” my friend asks facetiousl­y, staring across at the pile of toilet rolls stacked up alongside boxes of takeaway cup lids, poorly hidden behind a flimsy folding screen.

“It would take a handyman a day to knock up a wall and hide all that away.”

He’s right, and the small change would be well worth the investment at Little Pug Cafe in Brisbane’s Mount Gravatt because they have absolutely nailed the rest of the package.

The eatery along busy Logan Rd is the work of husband and wife team Josh and Louise Daly, who gave up their careers in microbiolo­gy research and pathology to venture into hospitalit­y almost three years ago.

The cafe is named after the couple’s fouryear-old pug Bowie and there’s even a special “Doggos” menu featuring beef and veg meatballs, puppycinos and doggy biscuits for your pooch.

But it’s the human menu that really gets guests excited.

The list of 10 dishes nudges the boundaries on traditiona­l brekky fare with plates such as beetroot three ways on toast, “Eggu

Benedikutu” with a rice waffle, teriyaki smoked salmon, poached eggs and wasabi hollandais­e; or the “00 Heaven” featuring open hand-rolled lasagne with truffled cream and a poached egg.

Generally speaking, pancakes lost their appeal for me around the age of 12, but the pancake suzette ($19) at Little Black Pug demands ordering after winning the title of the best pancakes in Queensland’s capital in The Courier-Mail reader-voted Best of Brisbane series last year.

And it seems our readers are right.

I was given a portable pizza oven for Christmas and decided it was a great way to show the kids what actually goes into making a pizza. This dough recipe makes fantastic pizza bases, as well as flatbreads for dips or to serve with antipasti. In this recipe, I’ve included a roasted tomato sauce, along with my favourite pizza toppings. There’s also a recipe for hummus and a garlic and cumin oil, which you can brush on to the cooked dough to make a flavoursom­e flatbread. Meanwhile, the kids can argue over whether pineapple should be on or off the pizza.

Method

Place the warm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 20–30 minutes, until the yeast activates and starts to bubble. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture, then slowly add the mixture to the flour, mixing with your hand as you go. When all the liquid is incorporat­ed into the flour, tip the dough on to a clean work surface lightly dusted with flour. With floured hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes or until it becomes smooth and elastic. Keep dusting the dough as you knead to stop it sticking. Form the dough into a large ball, then dust the large bowl, add the dough ball and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside in a warm place for 30–40 minutes, until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the roasted tomato sauce. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fanforced). Place the tomatoes, garlic and onions in a deep roasting tin, scatter over the thyme and rosemary and drizzle with olive oil.

Cover the tin with foil, then transfer to the oven and roast for 30–35 minutes, until the tomatoes, garlic and onions are soft and starting to collapse. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel the onions and squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins. Place the onion, garlic and tomatoes in a large bowl and use a fork to gently break up the tomato and onion and combine. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, then splash in a little white wine vinegar, to taste. If you’d like to make the smoky hummus, place all the ingredient­s except the sesame seeds in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and scatter the sesame seeds over the top.

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