Brisbane gets its first Burger Project, Kenmore gets another exceptional pizza joint and an ex-Public star chef finally gets his own restaurant. Here are the local openings everyone’s talking about.
Neighbourhood has recently joined Kenmore favourites The Single Guys, Sichuan Bang Bang and Pizzeria Violetta (as well as plenty of others elsewhere in suburban Brisbane) in illustrating the benefits of setting up shop outside town. It’s a crisply designed but comfortable and unpretentious space; owner Jordan Lomas and architect Kirsty Hetherington endeavoured to make customers feel immediately at home with the design. The menu currently consists of a few favourites done very well (think traditional margherita or sopressa). Bar snacks and new pizzas will be added in the coming weeks. Drinks are a carefully curated list of boutique Australian wines and a pale ale brewed in-house to complement the pizza.
“Fast-food with slow-food values.” That’s the motto at Burger Project, the Rockpool Dining Group chain that has been feeding Sydney and Melbourne with great success since 2014. Brisbane’s first outpost finally opened in February at South Bank’s new Southpoint precinct. The venue features a minimal black-and-white colour scheme and ground-to-ceiling windows. In the central kitchen, grass-fed chuck steak and brisket is cut, minced and hand-formed into patties. Of the 14 burgers available, most feature some variation on the classic beef, salad, pickles and special sauce. There’s also a clutch of chicken options and one mushroom burger. The drinks menu features exclusive South Australian wine, beers on tap, ciders, sodas and iced teas.
After numerous setbacks, including one collapsed ceiling, ex-Public head chef Damon Amos’s Detour finally opened in January 2017. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for with options including intensely flavoured fossilised (slowly dried over days) carrots with smoked almonds and chia. Meat eaters can try gunpowder-seasoned salmon with green curry and black ants, and Chinese-inspired pork belly. The short drinks menu is made up of a dozen wines, cocktails and a few beers. Featuring a large open kitchen, the restaurant’s interior is highlighted by a gleaming copper feature wall but retains rustic elements from its former life as an antique store.
Best mates Tony Kelly and Scott Hoskins made their reputations founding popular chains Donut Boyz and Hello Harry (both since sold). Now they’ve added South Bank’s Junk Boat to their list of achievements. The pan-Asian hawker-style menu peddles dishes such as soft-shell crab bao, crispy pork belly in a kaffir-lime caramel and a chicken-satay rice bowl. The drinks menu is a short collection of wines and beers both on tap and in the bottle. For something more novel, try the gin- or vodka-spiked bubble tea, or a chilled 2.5-litre beer tower for sharing. The fit-out by Arkhefield Architecture + Interior Design (Urbane, Stokehouse Q) features bright-orange booths and bamboo baskets hanging from the ceiling.
Tatsu Yakitori Bar
Tatsu is the new, fun-loving sibling of West End’s Izakana-Ya Okuman. Where Okuman caters to more traditional Japanese tastes, Tatsu is aimed squarely at pleasing the crowds who flock to Valley every Friday and Saturday night. There are curries, bento boxes and pork ramen, while perfectly grilled skewers of chicken, pork, Wagyu beef and salmon pair well with a draught Asahi or local bottled beer. The interior is a giddy mix of Japanese and Western styling – a welcoming space to meet and eat with friends before hitting the town.