The heritage-listed GPO building has reopened following a $9 million renovation with two new venues: an elegant 80-seat restaurant called Tama, and a glam cocktail bar called The Gatsby. A third venue – a bar and lounge called The Tax Office – launched a few weeks later.
After previously operating as a nightclub, the iconic Ann Street building closed at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Artesian Hospitality – the crew behind Gold Coast spots Cali Beach Club and Surfers Pavilion – bought it in 2022. The group then tapped two of Brisbane’s best hospitality talents, sommelier Alan Hunter (ex-Otto Ristorante) and executive chef Richard Ousby (ex-Quay, Stokehouse), to bring the venue back to life.
“It’s been a while since anything in Brisbane has opened with this sort of grandeur and investment,” Hunter told Broadsheet in the lead-up to opening. “I saw an opportunity and really wanted to get involved.”
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Space Cubed Design Studio worked with heritage architects to maintain the character of the building, transforming the interior and improving the flow of the space. The ground floor houses Tama, a sleek restaurant with custom carpet, double-storey windows, chandeliers, marble and stone features. The original staircase leads you to The Gatsby, a large backbar featuring over 400 spirits, velvet booths, leather and brass features.
A charcoal-powered Josper oven – imported from Spain – influences Tama’s menu. Ousby says it’s able to cook proteins and vegetables unlike any conventional oven, due to a coal pit at the bottom that drives the heat up to 450 degrees Celsius. “[Say] you’re roasting a piece of fish skin-side down – you’re grilling it to get that crispy skin, you’re roasting it and you’re smoking it at the same time,” he says. “It’s pretty special.”
The oven also fires calamari with miso and yuzu; a whole, deboned coral trout; a lamb loin; and cabbage topped with chilli salsa. Steaks are also cooked in the Josper, including a cut-to-order Wagyu scotch fillet and a large two-kilogram Angus tomahawk.
Also on the menu are several caviar options, such as a shortcrust pastry tart filled with crème fraîche and caviar, and a table-side caviar service that includes blinis with shallot, crème fraîche and chives. Small plates might be beef tartare with parsnip and balsamic, and large plates such as a mushroom tart with truffle custard. A trio of pastas round out the offering, with a rich pork bolognaise, four cheese tortellini and crab bisque linguini.
The wine list includes over 400 bottles by classic producers from the new and old worlds. Most bottles sit between $50 and $200, but there are several premium and aged wines if you fancy a splurge.
At The Gatsby, Hunter has crafted a 74-page menu that includes a mix of cocktails and classics. There are elaborate options like the Dewdropper, a twist on a Paloma with blanco tequila, charred grapefruit, citrus and agave; and the Mazuma Spritz, made with vodka, Veuve Clicquot champagne, passionfruit-washed bianco vermouth and vanilla syrup. Martinis and Manhattans can be customised with your choice of base spirit.
There’s also an option to purchase a full bottle of something special. And if you don’t finish it, you can store it in the building’s original 1887 vault, ready for your next visit.
740 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3184 6745
Wed, Thu & Sat 5.30pm–midnight
Fri 12pm–2.30pm, 5.30pm–midnight
740 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3184 6757
This article was originally published on July 11, 2023 but was updated on September 29, 2023 to reflect the fact that the third venue, The Tax Office, has since opened.