Australian hotel restaurants earned themselves a bad reputation over the years. Frequented by guests for breakfast, they tended to be ignored by everyone else for just about everything else.
But that’s changed more recently and Brisbane is no exception. Bacchus, Salon de Co, Three Blue Ducks and Lobby Bar have all opened in the city. Now it’s Mantra South Bank’s turn. Stefano de Blasi and Edoardo Perlo, the two cousins behind the Salt Meats Cheese empire, have partnered with Accor to open their latest semi-casual Italian venture inside the hotel’s ground-floor dining space (which was once a restaurant of some repute in the property’s Saville days).
It’s the third Salt Meats Cheese for Brisbane and marks something of a new frontier in hotel restaurant dining, with more outlets expected to open at other Mantra properties across Australia. Salt Meats Cheese is Mantra South Bank’s only restaurant, providing breakfast, event catering and around-the-clock room service to more than 150 rooms.
De Blasi is excited about the new partnership with Accor, particularly the South Brisbane hotel with its proximity to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Museum. “We wanted to create a space where people could dine and relax in a spacious environment,” he says. “Seventy per cent of guests used to leave the hotel for dinner, but now they’re staying here.”
Salt Meats Cheese South Bank is divided into three sections. Green booths and timber tables occupy the restaurant space, while an informal dining area is filled with high tables and bench seating in front of rows of wine bottles. The bar area features a long wooden table, perfect for groups to enjoy a few cocktails and Italian share plates. With seating for more than 120 people and 15 chefs working away in the kitchen, it’s the biggest Salt Meats Cheese to date.
The menu will by now be familiar to plenty of Brisbane punters with entrees such as arancini, fried calamari and an antipasto board. Cured meats and cheeses are displayed in a deli-style cabinet, which adds a touch of Italian authenticity to the space. Salt Meats Cheese’s signature lamb pappardelle is one of four pasta dishes, while mains include chicken salad, grilled sirloin and salmon. For pizzas, the dough is prepped in-house and left to rise for 48 hours before it is cooked with the tomato sauce also made from scratch.
A new drinks menu will launch in the coming weeks and feature Italian wines imported by de Blasi and Perlo for use especially in their restaurants. This week the pair also announced an option for guests to get Negronis, Old Fashioneds and Margaritas delivered to their rooms in perfume bottles.
Salt Meats Cheese is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a bar menu available from 3pm until 5pm.