Less than a month after announcing the sale of The Wolfe to Josh Lopez, Paul McGivern and partner Bailee Dewes have welcomed diners into a brand new restaurant.
Corella opened in Aria Property Group’s slick Woolloongabba development The Drapery in March, barely more than a stone’s throw from their old venue. It represents a change of pace for McGivern, the highly regarded chef stepping back from the kitchen to apply himself solely in an ownership role. Callum Gray, who was working in the kitchen at The Wolfe, is now head chef at Corella. McGivern says one of the reasons for the new venture was the opportunity it would provide his staff.
“Hospitality is notorious for using and abusing people,” McGivern says. “I’m more into nurturing and getting the best out of people.”
The 58-seater is moody and refined with slate, copper and wooden finishes complementing the exposed piping and industrial feel of the space. A handful of black booths line the back wall, giving diners an uninterrupted view of the open kitchen. McGivern says it was important for the layout to enable chefs and diners to connect with one another.
The noise from the kitchen only adds to the communal atmosphere of Corella, which is the Aboriginal word for a watering hole that used to be located in the area. “This is a new-age watering hole,” McGivern says.
The contemporary Australian menu is straightforward and unfussy, with a focus 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. Think straightforward but classy entrees such as kangaroo tartare with oyster emulsion and rye cracker, and kingfish with daikon and green sauce; and a main selection that includes Wagyu with potato terrine, oyster mushrooms and bitter greens, and a Warrigal green risotto with stracciatella, croutons and olive crumb.
McGivern says Corella’s price point is lower than The Wolfe’s because he wants it to be a place people visit often. “I’ve had a special occasion venue for a long time,” he says.
McGivern also owns South Brisbane wine bar La Lune Wine Co but has resisted the temptation to recreate that venue’s sprawling 200-bottle wine selection. Instead, Corella drills down on 50 drops from producers in Australia, France and Spain. Diners can also BYO on Wednesdays.