Opening in November on chef James Gallagher’s 29th birthday, Allium is his laid-back spin on fine dining. While Brisbane has seen more silver-spooners close than open recently, Gallagher feels that’s because diners don’t always want to go out of their way to eat good food.

“You don’t have to get dressed up to dine here,” he says. “We wanted to be out of the city and do a suburban, high-end bistro. By not paying city rents, we can keep prices lower.”

The former head chef of Prive 249 is well acquainted with Brisbane’s fine-dining scene, having also worked at Alchemy, Restaurant Two and Siggi’s at Stamford Plaza. When the New Farm space (previously occupied by The Foraging Quail) become available, he and wife Kylie jumped at the opportunity to move in.

Inside, the 38-seat restaurant hasn’t changed much, save for a few coats of paint, new light fixtures and artwork made by the Gallaghers. “We wanted it to be elegant but not too formal,” Gallagher says. “We want to be approachable.”

Like the fit-out, the menu finds the middle ground between fine and casual dining. It will change frequently as ingredients come in and out of season. There are, however, some dishes that have a permanent place on the menu, including cured kingfish with apple, cucumber and dill. And New England lamb with peat, mint and Persian fetta.

There’s also a six-course tasting menu with matched wines and experimental four-course menus on Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Sunday mornings the restaurant opens early for a brunch of “simple classics”: bacon buttys and Turkish eggs (although things get more adventurous with a Coco Pop panna cotta).

Sommelier Johnny Little, ex-Nickel Kitchen & Bar and Urbane, has curated the wine list and also oversees the floor. With just seven reds and seven whites, the list is concise, but each wine is available by the glass. There’s also a signature range of cocktails and classics, such as Negronis and El Diablos.

Allium
148 Merthyr Road, New Farm
07 3254 0595

Hours:
Wed to Sat 6pm–late
Sun 8.30am–12.30pm, 6pm–late

Allium.com.au