The success of Happy Boy and Snack Man is due largely to how Cameron and Jordan Votan showcase regional Chinese cuisine in a fun and approachable way. Now they hope to do the same with French cuisine. Enter Mini, their pop-up French bistro next door to Snack Man in the former Nice Thai space. It still has its timber elements, sleek black tables and polished concrete floors with new alfresco seating underneath fairy-lit trees.
“The menu is literally an A5 [piece of paper] with food on the front, and wine on the back,” Cameron tells Broadsheet. “A lot of people would think that’s easy to pull off, but the smaller the menu, the harder it is. You have to make decisions about what to leave off.”
It’s not the first time the Votans have taken on French cuisine. They owned Greenglass in the CBD, which they recently sold to chefs Dan Arnold (Restaurant Dan Arnold) and Matt Blackwell (ex-GOMA Restaurant), who are slated to open Pneuma in November.
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At Mini, you’ll find some staff from Greenglass, including head chef Aubrey Cortel. His team is serving French classics, like beef tartare with egg yolk, anchovy and croutons; duck liver parfait with sour cherry and crisp bread; duck à l’orange; and crème brulee. The Votans’ one-page wine list includes mostly French producers, a clutch of bottled beers and a few classic French cocktails.
But don’t grow too attached to Mini; the Votans are treating it as a launching pad for their next permanent venue, Petite, which will open in February (around the same time Mini will close). Petite’s menu and wine list will pick up where Mini’s left off – expanding past the A5 sheet.
“It’ll have the feel and atmosphere of a wine bar, but [with] a full restaurant menu,” Cameron says. “[[The portion sizes mean] you get to try lots of plates from all over France, but especially from Lyon and Paris.”
5/826 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
(on East Street, under the fairy-lit trees)
0413 246 890
Tue to Fri 5:30pm–9:30pm