The three-pub town of Boonah in Queensland’s Scenic Rim seems an unlikely spot for the gastronomic gem that is Blume. But when chef Jack Stuart, formerly of Brisbane’s Gauge, was visiting family in town, he couldn’t resist the airy, light-drenched vacant space. “I walked past the site … the room had so much character,” he says.

He thought it would be perfect for a restaurant, and he was right. The c.1915 building has had many different incarnations, including as a dental surgery. But it has found its groove with the December 2021 opening of the intimate 20-seater Blume, which offers an eight-course degustation dining experience from Friday to Sunday.

Blume’s location is not that incongruous either, when you consider that the Scenic Rim is a rising star, being the only Australian region listed in Lonely Planet’s top ten travel destinations for 2022. Boonah, as it turns out, is located in the heart of fertile farming territory. The rolling hills and pastures here are reliably dotted with cows, sheep, goats, chickens and even camels. Just about anything, from golden beetroot to rainbow carrots, grows in this rich volcanic soil.

Blume’s location is not that incongruous either, when you consider that the Scenic Rim is a rising star, being the only Australian region listed in Lonely Planet’s top ten travel destinations for 2022. Boonah, as it turns out, is located in the heart of fertile farming territory. The rolling hills and pastures here are reliably dotted with cows, sheep, goats, chickens and even camels. Just about anything, from golden beetroot to rainbow carrots, grows in this rich volcanic soil.

We first dined on New Year’s Day. Among the eight ‘Early Summer Menu’ courses were juicy chunks of zucchini dressed in charcoal oil, and crunchy chicken skin topped with vadouvan and camel milk curd. (The latter comes from Australia’s largest wild camel training centre and dairy, located half an hour down the road.) Rich rainbow trout is topped with local finger lime caviar to add refreshing bite.

Stuart presides over a seasonal menu which changes monthly – so the ‘Early Autumn’ menu of March will yield to ‘Late Winter’ come August. Dishes feature Scenic Rim produce, including plump Brisbane Valley quail, sheep and camel milk cheeses sourced from farms down the road, and vegetables which thrive in the region’s rich volcanic soils.

The drinks list showcases carefully chosen drops, some of them local, like the Witches Falls Winery’s Sauvignon Blanc and its wild fermented Tinta Barroca.

Stuart has brought every element of his formidable background to bear in this new endeavour, its name a nod to Boonah’s original moniker, Blumbergville. For example, the crowd-pleasing pig’s head sanga he used to whip up when head chef at Melbourne’s Congress Wine now finds expression in Blume’s mutton neck and black garlic sanga. It’s designed to be eaten with the hands and is so tasty (albeit in an offally way) that I don’t even mind when the juice runs down my chin.

The drinks list showcases a range of carefully chosen drops, some of them local, like the Witches Falls Winery’s Sauvignon Blanc and its wild fermented Tinta Barroca. Three whites, two reds, a rose and a sparkling wine make up the by-the-glass list. Witches Falls’ Granny Smith cider stands among six choices of beer or cider. House-made peach verbena syrup served with lemon and soda provides a thirst-quenching non-alcoholic option.

Everything in this stylish space was selected with intention. The hard-crafted ceramics, for instance, were fired by Red Hill artist Tony Rice, whose large-scale painting of Alice Springs also adorns one wall. The fresh flowers adorning each table were grown and picked by Stuart’s aunt. The menu illustrations were rendered by Stuart’s uncle. If you’re lucky, he might even stop in to make a surreptitious sketch of you as you dine – an unexpected but welcome keepsake which makes it all the more worth that one-hour drive from Brisbane.

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