Flavours of Brisbane: Buckwheat risotto recipe from Urbane Restaurant

Urbane Restaurant in Brisbane City

In the culinary heart of Queensland, Brisbane City, you’ll find talented chefs like Alejandro who have travelled around the world collecting Michelin stars, flavours from Spanish provinces and influences from Tokyo.

In Brisbane, he combines his culinary adventures with Queensland’s premium, fresh produce.

Argentinian born chef Alejandro Cancino is an owner of The Urbane Group and he’s sharing his recipe for buckwheat risotto with mint and seasonal watercress and turnips. 

Alejandro says: "We use watercress and turnips and all other herbs from an organic farm on the Sunshine Coast called Falls Farm".

Buckwheat Risotto

Risotto recipe


For the Mantecato

500g diced onions
400g diced peeled potatoes
300g diced cauliflower
200ml veggie stock
500ml coconut cream
20g chopped garlic
160g shio koji
100ml olive oil

For the watercress puree

650g watercress
650g spinach
150g vegetable oil
150g hazelnut oil

For the salad

Mint, coriander and parsley
1 shallot
100g green olives
1 daikon
White balsamic vinegar

For the risotto

500g buckwheat
2L veggie stock
400g of mantecato
400g of watercress puree


For the Mantecato

1. Sweat onions in a pan with olive oil.

2. Add the potatoes, veggie stock, coconut cream, garlic and cook it until potatoes are soft.

3. Add the cauliflower and cook for an extra 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.

4. Add the shio koji and blitz for 4 minutes until smooth.

For the watercress pure

1. Cook the spinach and the watercress with the vegetable oil on a big pan, just until it’s soft (it should take no more than 2 minutes).

2. Blitz with hazelnut oil until there’s no green specks.

3. Strain into a bowl on ice and season to taste.

For the salad

1. Thinly slice the shallot and daikon.

2. Wash and pick the herbs.

3. Combine the ingredients and season with white balsamic and salt.

For the risotto

1. In a large pan, lightly toast the buckwheat and add the warm veggie stock, cooking it as a risotto. 

2. Once the “grain” (it’s actually a seed) is cooked (this may take about 8-9 minutes) finish with the mantecato and watercress. Add the salad on the top to serve.

Serves 10

Behind the apron

Urbane Chef Alejandro Cancino

Having worked for two-and-a-half years at Mugaritz, in the Spanish province of Guipúzcoa, Alejandro worked right alongside Andoni Luis Aduriz where they received two Michelin stars in 2006. He went on to work at two Michelin star restaurant, Le Manoir Aux Quattro Saisons, winning Young Chef of the Year UK in 2008. Alejandro travelled to Tokyo as Chef de Cuisine for Bulgari Hotel and Restaurants where during his tenure they won a Michelin star.

In 2013 Alejandro joined Urbane and The Euro. He was named Best New Talent by Gourmet Traveller, and The Good Food Guide’s Chef of the Year in his first 12 months. Alejandro has achieved three-hat status for Urbane and one hat status for The Euro, taking Urbane to 12th in Gourmet Traveller’s Top 100 awards.

Alejandro is highly regarded in Brisbane’s vegan community.  As a young, enterprising chef, he loves doing things differently and is currently involved in local projects with the Urbane Group, minimising food waste, advocating for local Queensland products and artisans, promoting sustainable methods and produce. The restaurant also uses organic and fair-trade products.