It might have taken a week longer than expected, but the rebirth of E’cco Bistro is finally complete. E’cco Bistro 2.0 has opened in Newstead’s Haven development and, despite the delay, married co-owners Philip Johnson and Mary Randles couldn’t be happier.

“I’ve never known the fit-out of a house, let alone a brand new restaurant, to run without its hiccups,” Randles says. “In hindsight, we are only a week behind which is pretty impressive.”

With the bistro fully booked for opening night, and only a few spaces remaining the following week, it’s fortunate that Johnson and Randles prepared for the eager customers.

“It’s refreshing to see we haven’t been forgotten yet, because there are quite a few bookings,” Johnson says. “We kept our key staff, which was a costly exercise but it was worth it because we have got people ready to go.”

It also helps that staff only need to focus on the 65-seat downstairs dining room and the 35-seat upstairs private function room. The 70-seat semi-alfresco area, called The Terrace, will open a few months later.

“Initially we were disappointed but now we are thankful the outside area will open later,” Johnson says. “We can really concentrate on upstairs and downstairs for now.”

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Architecture company Twohill and James is behind the fit-out, which includes plush leather seating, lots of marble, heavy dark curtains, and a mixture of carpet, brick and slate flooring. There’s a range of seating options including a curtain-enclosed private dining table for 12, bar seating and an eight-seat kitchen counter.

Johnson’s opening menu is largely based around a brand-new Brazilian Scheer Parilla grill. The menu is split into three sections: vegetable, seafood and meat. Vegetable dishes include coal-roasted sprouts with sambal matah (a Balinese chilli relish), soft egg and fried onion. The seafood section features a visually stunning coal-grilled market fish (Murray cod at time of opening) with harissa, currants and sorrel. Meat dishes include two steaks – a dry-aged porterhouse and rib eye – as well as suckling pig and veal cotoletta.

At the back wall of the restaurant, a stacked wine cabinet displays around 75 wines. There’s a strong focus on Australian wines, both boutique and big name labels, as well as a few classic imports. Beers are mostly local, with many in bottle and a handful on tap.

E’cco Bistro Newstead
63 Skyring Terrace, Newstead
(07) 3831 8344

Tue to Wed 5.30pm–late
Thu to Fri 12pm–late
Sat 5.30pm–late