From a tiny 10-seat omakase finer diner in the Valley to an exquisite riverside Howard Smith Wharves restaurant that feels more like an airy garden pavilion, there’s been a stack of quality openings so far in 2019. Here’s what you should check out.
At Joy there’s a kitchen, a handsome compressed-stone counter, an eye-popping mural on the back wall – and that’s about it. Tim and Sarah Scott’s 10-seat omakase-inspired Fortitude Valley restaurant has the husband and wife chef team covering everything from the cooking to the plating to the pouring of wine and then the washing up. Joy’s menus lean on the Scotts’ accumulated experience working at some of Australia’s best restaurants, including Urbane, Gerard’s Bistro, Sepia and Sixpenny. There’s chicken fat cabbage with pickles, chicken skin and horseradish. And zucchini with confit squid and fragrant herbs. For wines, award-winning sommelier Russ Berry has helped match the Scotts’ lighter style of cooking by compiling a list that favours low-intervention whites.
Taking over the former premises of iconic Montrachet is not for the faint of heart, but Nota chefs and co-owners Sebastiaan De Kort and Kevin Docherty have succeeded by creating something very different to that French classic, preparing approachable, familiar food that still has an elevated element. Share plates include quail from Brisbane Valley Quail served on sweetcorn polenta with charred corn, burnt hazelnuts and beef jus; a sandwich built with tempura market fish and house-made tartare sauce; and a warm lamb salad with kale, greens, ricotta and chimichurri. The wine focuses on local and European small-batch producers, with an accompanying a list of bottled and canned beers selected by local beer expert (and regular Broadsheet contributor) Matt Kirkegaard. Instead of Montrachet’s startling red leather, Nota dials things down with black, white and tan alongside exposed-brick walls.
Less than a month after announcing the sale of The Wolfe to Josh Lopez in February, Paul McGivern and partner Bailee Dewes welcomed diners into Corella, a slick new space in Aria Property Group’s The Drapery. This is a change of pace for McGivern; the star chef has stepped back to allow his Wolfe lieutenant Callum Gray to head up the kitchen. The 58-seater is moody and refined with slate, copper and wooden finishes complementing the exposed piping and industrial feel of the space. A contemporary Australian menu focuses on local produce and flavours – it’s limited to one page and features a small selection of starters, entrees, mains, sides and desserts, as well as a six-course tasting menu. The wine list drills down on 50 drops from producers in Australia, France and Spain. This isn’t quite an occasion restaurant like The Wolfe – McGivern has kept the price point lower to encourage local diners to return often.
Jen Byrnes and Patrick Laws – best known for their classy suburban Italian restaurant Martha Street Kitchen – opened Perch’d in late January in a beautiful old Queenslander shop in Coorparoo. Perch’d is everything the takeaway place of your youth got right (fish and chips made with love) but with a heavy focus on the freshest fish and prepping everything else in-house. Chef Laws cooks a changeable menu of three types of fish (mahi mahi, snapper and blue-eye trevalla are typical), three burgers, and a bunch of sides including hand-cut chips, calamari and prawn cutlets. Out front, Byrnes matches the food to Green Beacon beer and Australian small-producer wines. Fish and chips with a bottle of wine on Perch’d’s handsome side deck is a new tradition among south-side locals.
Arc Dining and Wine Bar
Arc Dining and Wine Bar feels less like a restaurant and more like a bright and airy garden pavilion, and it’s arguably Howard Smith Wharves’ most impressive venue yet. Designer Anna Spiro’s love for colour and luscious prints is obvious in the soft furnishings, and the space is filled with cane and wrought-iron furniture. Former Saint Peter head chef Alanna Sapwell has returned to Queensland to write a local produce-focused menu of dishes such as spanner crab with gala apple and cranberry hibiscus leaves. And Spanish mackerel with zucchini, chilli and native ginger. For drinks, award-winning sommelier Ian Trinkle pilots an extensive list of more than 400 wines with the focus on sustainable, organic and minimal-intervention producers.
Maris Cook and Jesse Stevens (Hello Please, Ol’ School) have teamed up with Movida alum Eleanor Cappa to open Maeve Wine. The venue’s long gestation inside the 90-year-old Ng House was continually delayed by heritage concerns but the wait was worth it: Maeve is a beautiful upstairs spot with globe lights, dark wooden panelling, marble counters, ribbed glass and a handsome burgundy staircase. Food is share plates backed by a bunch of classy mains – think porchetta with spiced apple and mustard, and kingfish with roasted mushroom, golden raisin and caper relish – none of which are over $30. Cappa has compiled an 80-bottle wine list that lines up Euro vino next to new-world drops in an old-world style. The best part? Maeve is open until midnight, every night, making it perfect for a post-show supper.
One Fish Two Fish
One Fish Two Fish opened in the beautiful old Queenslander corner store previously occupied by Banter Bar and Seafood. The tongue and groove wooden detailing and timber bar remain, but new owners Daniel and Amelia Miletic have installed new furniture and brightened the insides with a dash more white paint. Its seafood menu is designed to be flexible: you can sit in the bar area for a “seacuterie” platter washed down with wine and Balter tap beer, or you can go large in the restaurant on whole salt-baked fish of the day and seafood risotto alongside casual eats such as “quarter flounder” burgers and Cajun fish tacos. One Fish Two Fish is hosting Red Fish Blue Fish dinners once a month, where chef Daniel collaborates with Australian and international guests to create special one-off menus – both Ben Williamson and Philip Johnson have made recent appearances.
Mosconi is a compact 60-seat Italian restaurant from Vine Restaurant alum Daniel Rotolone. This is one of the prettiest openings of the year so far; designer Meredith Burke completely reimagined the old “igloo”-style warehouse digs into an immaculate modern diner replete with a mezzanine, pistachio-coloured walls with framed countryside scenes, and a curved marble-top bar. In the kitchen, Il Centro vet Catherine Anders takes a widescreen approach to the restaurant’s Mediterranean menu, leaning into broader European influences and techniques – there’s fried zucchini flowers filled with risotto, Brisbane Valley quail served with a beetroot gazpacho and a 300-gram sirloin dished up with a taleggio croquette.
CJ’s Secret Pasta Club
It’s the spirit of the classic suburban Brisbane eatery that Leila Amirparviz and her mother Claire Amirparviz looked to capture with CJ’s Secret Pasta Club, a tiny 14-seat Italian eatery in a shopfront in West End. Basically a small kitchen attached to the front of their CJ’s Pasta wholesale and retail operation (the Amirparvizes purchased CJ’s late last year), the intention is something very small, very personable and very flexible (and very different to the heaving Spaghetti House Trattoria at South Bank, also owned by the Amirparvizes). The menu is just as straightforward and depends on what chef Dario Milano and his team are preparing for Spaghetti House or other CJ’s clients. The ingredients and sauces change, Leila says, but the format stays the same: four or five different styles of pasta, with a vegetarian option and vegan pasta available also. Otherwise it’s BYO wine and beer in a very casual fit-out of a few tables, mix-and-match chairs, candles and ceramics by Anna Markey.
Taro’s Ramen Stones Corner
Brisbane’s ramen master takes on the city’s south-east with a spacious new joint.
Not a new opening – hence why it didn’t make the above list – but it might as well be because star chef Josh Lopez has taken over this celebrated venue from Paul McGivern.
The Emporium Hotel finally gets its long-awaited centrepiece restaurant.
Reuben’s Deli and Bar
A New Yorker brings authentic sandwiches and subs to Paddington.
A Japanese ramen superstar arrives in Brisbane with a compelling claim to be the city’s new tonkotsu champ.