Boonah’s intimate 20-seat destination restaurant Blume showcases the best of the Scenic Rim
Hop in the car and drive roughly an hour southwest of Brisbane and you’ll find yourself in the Scenic Rim – one of the country’s most fertile growing regions. Not only is this picturesque pocket of Southeast Queensland easy on the eyes, but the produce grown here is almost incomparable in quality. While we heartily recommend spending a day or two visiting as many farms as you can, a recently opened destination restaurant from one of Australia’s brightest young chefs is giving Scenic Rim locals and roadtripping blow-ins a chance to sample the best of the Scenic Rim on a plate. Through a tantalising set menu, Blume takes diners on a hyper-local tastebud tour of the region’s most exceptional producers, in the quaint digs of one of Boonah’s most charming buildings.
Ditching the city life to seek out greener pastures is a dream we’re sure many in the big smoke entertain from time to time – especially after two years of lockdowns. A weekend sojourn to the Scenic Rim – spent taking in its natural landscapes, visiting its sleepy townships and feasting on locally grown produce – is almost enough to encourage us to file a letter of resignation first thing on Monday. Brisbane-born chef Jack Stuart is one of the fortunate few making good on his tree-change aspirations, earlier this month opening the doors to his anticipated destination restaurant Blume, which is nestled just off Boonah’s High Street in the heart of the Scenic Rim. The move might come as a surprise to those that keep tabs on Australia’s culinary up-and-comers – Jack was most recently head chef at lauded South Brisbane restaurant Gauge, a gig he scored after a heralded three-year stint helming the kitchen at Congress Wine in Melbourne. With that kind of resume, it probably wouldn’t have surprised anyone if Jack chose to keep his talents close to the country’s cosmopolitan hospitality hubs, but a yearning to strip back his schedule and a desire to work with some of the best produce in Queensland inevitably led Jack inland. Taking cues from intimate restaurants such as Fleet, Brae and Sixpenny, Blume looks to draw upon the cornucopia of the Scenic Rim’s growing regions, adopting a farm-to-table approach that spotlights the best fruit, veg, dairy and protein of the area across a set menu of imaginative modern-Australian fare.
Blume, an eponym that draws its inspiration from Boonah’s original name Blumbergville, occupies an inconspicuous heritage tenancy that has been home to an assortment of businesses throughout its lifetime (including a day care and a dentist). While it boasts a low-profile exterior, Blume’s insides (shielded from curious gawkers by a set of sheer curtains) showcase an understated-yet-elegant aesthetic afforded by pre-existing features such as its pressed-metal walls and ceilings, sizeable skylight and polished timber floors. Jack and his team were largely hands-off when it came to the fit-out, electing to let the building’s beauty speak for itself – the bar and new extraction gear in the kitchen are the only major additions to the space. An assortment of reclaimed furniture (including an old-school mangle used to store cutlery and upcycled cabinets) adorn the interior, which features a 20-seat dining floor and four bar stools suitable for walk-ins. Extra pops of decorative colour and texture come courtesy of an eye-catching painting by Tony Rice (who also is responsible for hand-crafting Blume’s earthenware crockery) blooms from Jenny Stuart and jars of preserves sitting near the entry – small touches that add an indelible charm to Blume’s sense of grace.
When it comes to Blume’s culinary ethos, Jack is looking to evoke a sense of time and place throughout the menu. A destination restaurant should celebrate everything great about the destination, so with that in mind Blume adheres to a strict local-only supply chain to source produce at its seasonal peak. Those that have embarked on a farm-gate journey across the Scenic Rim will be able to attest to the quality of available goods – at Blume, Jack celebrates the same produce, taking guests on a tour of their own across a set-menu offering that shifts and changes from day to day. Goods are supplied from local suppliers including Summer Land Camels, Towri Sheep Cheeses, Tommerup’s Dairy Farm, Scenic Rim Mushrooms, The Butcher Co., Oppy’s Fruit and Veg and Tommy’s Pastured Eggs, while fresh herbs and flowers are picked fresh from Aunt Jen’s garden next door for each service. The restaurant’s launch menu starts small with iced tomato and lemon verbena soup, zucchini coated in coal oil and crispy chicken skin topped with camel milk curd and vadouvan. Servings increase in size with Blume’s signature mutton neck and black garlic sanga (an ode to Jack’s pig’s head sanga – a crowd favourite dish at Congress), rainbow trout with finger lime, roe and pearl tapioca, wagyu brisket with fried onion, nasturtium and warrigal greens, and hasselback potato with three-year-aged tamari and blackberry vinegar. Dessert includes sheep’s yoghurt ganache served with strawberries, pistachio and apple marigold, as well as an optional cheese course featuring Towri ‘ashed’ sheep’s cheese, zucchini pickle and seeded wafers. Blume’s opening beverage list has been curated with the assistance of Congress Wine director Katie McCormack and features a small-yet-dynamic offering – expect a clutch of wines from some of Australia’s best growing regions (including a few drops made at Scenic Rim’s own Witches Falls Winery), bespoke beers, Four Pillars gin and tonic, a negroni, and non-alcoholic house-made sodas.
Blume is now open to the public, offering lunch from Friday to Sunday and dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. Head to the Stumble Guide for reservation and contact details.
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