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.”
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