It’s almost two months since Australian restaurants, bars and cafes were forced to shut to help stop the spread of Covid-19. The federal government gave the struggling hospitality industry something to work with, though, permitting operators to continue offering takeaway and delivery.
A stack of venues chose to close anyway, but for many that remained open – see Same Same, Gerard’s Bistro, Montrachet or 1889 Enoteca – takeaway and delivery turned out to be a surprise hit. Now, more venues are reopening with specially written take-home menus, encouraged by a further relaxation of restrictions (which this weekend sees diners allowed back into eateries, albeit just 10 at any one time) and given extra room to manoeuvre by the government’s Jobkeeper program.
We wanted to highlight some of Brisbane’s best new dine-at-home options, from Greek favourites and fragrant curries to fancy French-Australian meal kits designed to be enjoyed around your own dining table. Here’s what you should check out.
Restaurant Dan Arnold
Restaurant Dan Arnold has been turning heads with its Saturday morning grocery store service, which offers fancy goods such as smoked butter, canelés, molasses bread and sourdough. But Dan and Amelie Arnold have also reopened the restaurant for an at-home dining series, which puts on a semi-prepared multi-course set menu that two people can finish at home. The French-Australian menu items change week-to-week but the most recent line-up included poached scallop with autumn ragu, gnocchi with Jerusalem artichoke, and beetroot cured salmon served with fennel. This is pick-up only. For more details, see the restaurant’s Instagram.
Brisbane’s best burger joint is flipping patties once again. The full Ben’s take-out menu is available, including the Classic, Cheesy and Veg burgers, and popular sides such as the chilli fries and vege chilli fries. Ben’s is also offering Green Beacon and 4 Pines canned beer for takeaway alongside a short menu of classy wines that includes a Koerner riesling, Thick as Thieves’ rosé, Unico Zelo’s Jungle Jungle dolcetto and a Vino Volta chenin blanc pet nat. Pick-up is from the Winn Lane shop with delivery handled by Uber Eats.
There are finally stirrings of life at Howard Smith Wharves, with Jonathan Barthelmess moving back in to kickstart his superstar Greca eatery with a trimmed down takeaway menu of classy Greek-inspired comfort food. The spanakopita, oven-baked lamb shoulder and, yes, the saganaki are all present and correct. You can help down the food with drinks packs that mix and match wines with bottled cocktails. This is a pick-up only affair. Order online via the Greca website.
Greca’s new(ish) neighbour Yoko has also reopened to serve a super straightforward two-person Yoko Feast priced at $95. The menu includes a sashimi pack, braised pork belly, and roasted potatoes in gochuchang and miso. Drinks come in the shape of wine and cocktail packs, but a full takeaway beverage list is available via the Yoko website. The restaurant has temporarily gone offline again this week, but you can keep tabs on its status via Instagram. Food and drinks are pick-up only.
Donna Chang reopened on April 29 with an abridged selection of dim sum, wok and noodle dishes. The menu includes mapo-style wok-braised eggplant and chilli on steamed silken tofu; hot, sweet-and-sour pork belly; kung pao chicken with dried chillies, macadamia, garlic stems and Sichuan peppercorns; and stir-fried egg noodles with wombok, black funghi and mushroom soy. There are also steamed wontons and dumplings, and a pair of desserts – dark chocolate mousse with Hennessy XO caramel, and coconut sago with a seasonal fruit salad. You can order online for takeaway or delivery via Ghanem Group’s Dark Kitchen, with drinks found on the Dark Kitchen Beverages menu.
Finally, Maris Cook and Jesse Stevens have rebooted Hello Please for takeaway. The super popular Fish Lane eatery is serving a cut-down menu that covers its Vietnamese-inspired favourites. The chicken coconut curry, beef rendang and crispy chicken ribs are all present and correct, as is a full drinks menu. The restaurant is also offering a two-person $90 takeaway food bundle and a five-for-$50 cocktail deal. Both food and drinks are takeaway only.
Maeve Wine Bar
Talking of Cook and Stevens, their second venue, Maeve Wine – co-owned with Eleanor Cappa – has also reopened for takeaway (and limited dine-in – see here). The French-inspired menu is an efficient mix of entrees, mains and desserts that includes Mount Zero pearl barley truffle risotto with charred zucchini, and confit duck lasagne al forno. Cappa’s Euro-centric wine list, meanwhile, is one of the classiest in town.
Happy Boy’s Cameron and Jordan Votan’s new curry operation has proven predictably popular. But for good reason: led by Sprit House alum Tom Swapp (with plenty of input from Greenglass’s Damien Paliwoda and Happy Boy’s Sammy Lin), Kid Curry is flipping a super straightforward menu of five fragrant curries, a pan-fried pumpkin and rich dry spice dish, and a baby chickpea and bottle gourd dal. There’s also a tight selection of sides and a wine list drawn from Happy Boy and Snack Man’s extensive collections of Australian and European boutique winemakers. Both pick-up and delivery are available. More details here.
Chu the Phat and Madame Wu
South Brisbane’s Chu the Phat and the CBD’s Madame Wu reopened for takeaway at the end of April with a menu that combines some of the greatest hits from their respective menus alongside new dishes created by executive chef Brendon Barker. Wine and beer are both available, also. You can order via phone ((07) 3255 2075) or online. Orders over $50 will be delivered free within 10 kilometres of the CBD with pick-up from Chu the Phat.
One of the city’s classiest brunch menus is back in business – in abbreviated form, at least. Industry Beans is serving brekkie rolls, avo smash, coffee-rubbed wagyu burgers and more, seven days a week. Orders can be made via the Industry Beans app.
One of 2020’s most anticipated restaurant openings is here, but not as a restaurant. Instead Tyron Simon, Bianca Marchi, Frank Li and star chef Ben Williamson have pivoted to temporarily transform their woodfired Agnes eatery into a pop-up bakery, deli and wine shop. The menu is a straightforward selection of sourdough, cluster rolls, pizzette, cinnamon doughnuts, custard and almond kouign-amanns, cheesecakes, and lemon tarts, all done over the fire. Agnes is also peddling a rotating menu of pantry goods and an extensive selection of brilliant wines.
For more of Brisbane's best takeaway and delivery, see here.