“French food is like a big warm hug – the bold flavours and velvety textures flow really nicely in a restaurant setting.” So says Jake Nicolson, executive chef at Fortitude Valley’s new brasserie, Bisou Bisou (French for “kiss kiss”).
Located in the foyer of the luxurious new Hotel X, it’s the latest addition to Ghanem Group’s growing empire, which also includes Donna Chang, Boom Boom Room Izakaya and Blackbird Bar & Grill.
Its new offering is an ode to the French brasseries of Paris. The elegant interior is nostalgic, with a glamourous modern edge that complements the hotel it’s housed in.
Perch at the aperitivo bar, flanked by rows of long, high tables and plush red-velvet and leather stools beneath pendant lights, or settle into the main dining room – with cosy booths, marble-topped tables and a white-washed brick feature wall – for classic French fare with some local twists.
“We want to be a place that everyone can gather for an approachable take on French food, whether that’s a celebratory family meal or a quick burger or sandwich in our bar area,” says Nicolson. “Once you feel comfortable in a restaurant, that’s when you’re going to have the best time.”
The menu has been developed by Nicolson and head chef Anthony Donaldson, who worked together at Michelin-starred London restaurant The Ledbury. (Donaldson has moved across from Blackbird Bar & Grill, where he spent the past seven years.) Together, they’re honouring classic French flavours while breathing new life into the cuisine.
“We designed the menu with the guest’s experience in mind. So you’ll start out with really refined, crisp flavours before diving into the more rustic, comfortable dishes that guests are familiar with,” says Nicolson.
Lighter dishes, such as Moreton Bay oysters with mignonette and cured king salmon with buttermilk and dill oil, lead to heartier options such as the suckling pork cassoulet, duck breast with caramelised witlof and golden raisins, and the restaurant’s pièce de résistance: an unbelievably juicy roast chicken that spins lazily on the freestanding rotisserie for guests to admire.
There are plenty of French icons, including pommes aligot (silky potato puree with melted cheese), steak tartare, and steak frites with cafe de Paris butter. Plus Gallic standards, remixed – including bouillabaisse packed with Queensland seafood; cod beignets served with saffron mayonnaise; and escargot, rebooted here with the addition of bone marrow, and served with parsley and shallots on toast.
There’s also an oyster and caviar bar (with premium wild scampi caviar from Western Australia going for $220), and a cheese trolley with more than 25 French and Australian cheeses.
The 200-strong wine list (including rare and vintage wines) is backed by an experimental cocktail list (including a Lemonade Daiquiri served with a scoop of kaffir lime sorbet; a Strawberry Croissant Old Fashioned made with croissant infused whiskey; an After Dinner Mint made with cognac, mint and chocolate; and a Banoffee Fizz made with rum, banana, lemon, cold press coffee, egg whites and soda).
The all-day restaurant is also open for breakfast – so you can start your day with a croque monsieur or madame, or Lyonnaise sausage and eggs. Or go luxe with a tin of oscietra caviar served with soft boiled eggs and warm blini.
458 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
0477 008 252