There was once a time when East Street wasn’t the heaving precinct it is now. All the action was confined to James Street instead – until brothers Cameron and Jordan Votan saw East Street’s potential.

First came Happy Boy, which relocated from Spring Hill, followed by the addition of Snack Man next door. Then, the smaller tenancy next to that became home to pop-up concepts like Kid Curry, Nice Thai and Mini. Petite – a permanent version of the latter – is the last piece of the East Street puzzle.

“I’ve always been fascinated with those strip malls in the suburbs, where it’s like six or seven shops in a row,” Cameron tells Broadsheet. “When we moved Happy Boy to East Street, there was an aspiration that we could have more [venues] next to it.”

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Taking over the corner spot, Petite might occupy their best site yet. Through the open-glass windows you’re able to watch the passing traffic on Ann Street and see the start of James Street. It’s a sizable space with around 75 seats on the ground level, and another 40 on the mezzanine which can be booked for private functions.

Jordan is behind the minimalistic design. It goes long on steel and concrete, but there’s an element of grandeur with leather booths, statement chandeliers (imported from Como), and walnut furniture. Once seated, it’s hard to look away from the low-set open kitchen, led by ex-Mini chef Aubrey Courtel.

“We spent a lot of time designing the kitchen,” Cameron says. “The extraction [system], which is like a ventilated ceiling, is a really high-tech piece of equipment. And everything in the kitchen is electric. We’re not trying to char everything, it’s about accuracy and delicacy.”

The concise one-page menu features around 20 dishes, each paired with a selection of 20 French wines by the glass. You might match a glass of Jura savagnin with a steak tartare, topped with grated confit egg yolk and a side of pommes gaufrettes. Or an Alsatian pinot blanc with onion tarte tartin and crème fraîche.

Of course, you don’t need to follow their recommendations. You can choose your favourite drop and enjoy it with goat’s cheese croquettes with thyme and honey; pan-fried fish in beurre blanc; confit duck with mash potato and duck jus; or grilled Wagyu bavette with cafe de Paris butter and fries.

The extensive by-the-glass list is made possible through Coravin technology. It means diners get the chance to try rare wines from cult French producers like Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, Egly-Ouriet and Domaine Gramenon, without having to purchase a whole bottle. At the same time, there are also more approachable options at around $15 a glass.

A succinct double-sided A4 bottle list highlights the Votans’ favourite French regions, covering Loire Valley whites, Rhone Valley reds and Jura wines. Staff are also happy to run into Snack Man and grab something from its impressive wine wall if you’ve got a specific hankering.

Close the meal with a selection of cheese and desserts, including crème brûlée, Basque cheesecake with blueberries, and a decadent chocolate soufflé. Cameron says there will always be both a sweet and a savoury soufflé on the menu, so people can start their night with one – like a twice-baked cheese or a prawn bisque soufflé – and finish with the other.

“We’ve actually built the kitchen around that,” he says. “You can’t open an oven while a soufflé is cooking, so there’s a whole soufflé section. We put in two separate ovens for that purpose, because soufflés are such an amazing part of French cuisine.”

Corner of East Street and Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
No Phone

Tue to Thu 5.30pm–10pm
Fri midday–10pm
Sat 5.30pm–10pm