It’s always been known for its koalas, but now the Brisbane wildlife sanctuary is set for a major foodie transformation
It’s always been known for its koalas, but now the Brisbane wildlife sanctuary is set for a major foodie transformation

Lone Pine Sanctuary to become foodie hub

KOALAS have always been the main attraction at Brisbane's Lone Pine, but now the wildlife sanctuary wants people to come for its food.

The animal park in Fig Tree Pocket, in the western suburbs, is overhauling its culinary offering in a bid to become a dining hotspot for locals and visitors.

The business will firstly transform its front cafe, which is open to the general public without an admission ticket, with plans to later tackle the restaurant inside, before developing another cafe concept at the front of the precinct as part of what will be a complete rebranding of the sanctuary. To help with the revolution, Yianni Passaris, owner of Top 50 Queensland cafe Morning After in West End and popular Asian eatery Ping Pong, Newstead, has been hired as the food and beverage consultant.

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"They're an institution of Brisbane, only 15 minutes out of the city, and a lot of tourism parks are serving sh** quality food and I want to change that," said Mr Passaris.

The cafe at the entry to the park will ditch its menu of frozen lasagnes and bland quiches in favour of a high quality but fast and affordable offering built around the humble toastie.

Restaurateur Yianni Passaris and designer Alex Derlot at Lone Pine Sanctuary's cafe, which they are redesigning and reopening in Fig Tree Pocket. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Restaurateur Yianni Passaris and designer Alex Derlot at Lone Pine Sanctuary's cafe, which they are redesigning and reopening in Fig Tree Pocket. Picture: Liam Kidston.

There will be four gourmet options on the menu - three vegetarian and one with chicken, avocado and cheese - as well as wraps and top quality pastries, such as chocolate croissants and custard danishes.

They will be served alongside HRVST ST juices and 5 Senses coffee, with plenty of alternative mylks available.

"In Fig Tree Pocket there's hardly any cafes so we want to encourage the locals to come here and have something yummy," Mr Passaris said.

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In charge of the riverside eatery's fit-out and entire makeover of the sanctuary, including the restaurant, new food concept and gift shop, is Brisbane designer Alex Derlot from Derlot studio.

"They have some very ambitious sustainability targets and they wanted to make sure the furniture is Australia made and we're using recycled materials," Mr Derlot said.

The 120-seat cafe will be filled with recycled aluminium chairs from Mr Derlot's award-winning Les Basic Strap collection, alongside tables created from recycled plastic, all in shades of eucalyptus to match the environment.

The cafe will softly open from this week, with everything to be up and running fully by January 6.

Stay tuned to Kitchen Confidential for further details on stage 2 of the project, including the transformation of the restaurant.

Originally published as Lone Pine Sanctuary to become foodie hub


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