Following a recent stint as head chef at Beach Byron Bay, Simon Palmer is back in Brisbane. After growing up in Newcastle, Palmer moved to Brisbane where he started working at Urbane and Gerard’s Bistro. He was also head chef at Brisbane institution E’cco Bistro, when it relocated to Newstead in 2018.

Now, he’s taken on the role of head chef at Black Hide by Gambaro, Treasury Brisbane’s handsome steakhouse, introducing a brand new menu driven by local produce. You might start with yellowfin tuna with black vinegar dressing or burrata with radicchio, charred grapes and vincotto. Mains include a large selection of steaks – including marble score 9+ Wagyu and dry-aged rib-eye – as well as truffled buffalo ricotta tortellini and Moreton Bay bugs with lemon and caper butter.

Palmer took five with Broadsheet to discuss his new role, what he has planned, and his unexpected decision to introduce a vegan menu at a steakhouse.

What is your new job title?
Head chef at Black Hide by Gambaro

What drew you to Black Hide?
Where do I start! There are many reasons. The renowned reputation of not only the restaurant but also the Gambaro Group and Treasury Brisbane was the first drawcard – Black Hide is an institution and the trajectory of the business really resonated with me. Followed closely by the fact that I have worked extensively with fine cuts of meat and enjoy working closely with local farmers, growers and suppliers to provide guests with a paddock-to-plate experience. Being the iconic steakhouse that Black Hide is provides endless possibilities to do that. From a lifestyle point of view, the city lifestyle and culture better accommodates my young family too.

Do you have any big plans or ideas for the new role?
My priority is to refine the menu to have a greater focus on produce-driven dishes featuring more local suppliers and locally grown ingredients. In Queensland, we are so fortunate to have incredible suppliers on our doorstep and I want to introduce Black Hide diners to these. So much so, I’ve created a dedicated vegan menu, which seems pretty wild for a steakhouse, but there is appetite for it, and I feel strongly about accommodating all palates in order to take the venue to the next level. One of my daughters has a nut allergy, so I understand the difficulties in dining out with allergies to not just nuts, but gluten and dairy too – all of the new menus are actually very considerate of allergies. For now, the vegan menu includes an entree of smoked beetroot, main of blackened capellini, and a coconut parfait dessert – the dishes are hearty with the meatiness of root vegetables and the wholesomeness of a bowl of pasta.

What are some fun/highlight dishes on the menu?
Straight to the sweet stuff, the Black Hide sundae is pretty special. It is a reinvented childhood favourite with cherry puree, cherry granita, chocolate sauce, and vanilla bean ice cream – it looks as good as it tastes. Something new for the meat-lovers is a Stradbroke beef Wagyu tartare with pomme pave, créme fraîche and cured egg yolk. The menu will be continually updated with seasonal editions in order to bring a produce-driven menu to life.