The jewel in the crown of Emporium Hotel South Bank has finally been unveiled. After many delays – including the departure of celebrated chef Josh Lopez and a subsequent rebrand – Signature, located on a mezzanine above the hotel’s lobby, opened this week. The 60-seat restaurant is grand in design, but with an accessible menu that new executive chefs Chris Norman and Alex Liddle hope will be frequently enjoyed by both guests and Brisbane locals.
The space itself has been vividly rendered in blush pink, burnt orange, sleek greys and a heap of mirrored surfaces. A 1000-glass bauble installation created by Francine John, co-owner of Anthony John Group (the developer behind Emporium), hangs from the centre of the ceiling, while a cream banquette lines the curved perimeter of the room, its neutral tone helping to offset the restaurant’s busier design elements. General manager Charles Martin says Signature has been designed as an open-plan venue to enable diners to connect with the lobby below. “It’s the culinary pinnacle of Emporium Hotel,” he says. “We wanted it to be unpretentious but still elegant and modern.”
The hero of the room is the backlit floor-to-ceiling wine cabinet, which features back vintages of some very expensive champagnes. It’s just a small selection of the 6000-bottle wine library on offer. “In anticipation of creating a restaurant of this calibre, owner Tony John has been collecting some of these bottles for two decades,” Martin says.
Around the corner, there’s an extensive array of decanters for guests to choose from. But before they even get inside, diners are invited to enjoy oysters, caviar and champagne at a white onyx bar adjacent to the restaurant.
The food menu is separated into starters and mains and will change frequently as produce comes in and out of season. Norman says the team uses Queensland ingredients as much as possible, with everything else sourced from across Australia.
For entree you might order Brisbane Valley quail with corn, hazelnut and wattleseed granola, or Abrolhos Islands scallops served with 18-hour Borrowdale pork belly, celeriac, apple and pork crackling. Mains include Flinders Island lamb accompanied by globe artichokes, glazed shallots, zucchini and black olives, and Elgin Valley free-range chicken with carrot puree, creamed savoy cabbage, parsnip and fondant potato.
There are also five and seven-course tasting menus, as well as specially designed dishes for vegans. The tasting menus are optional in the restaurant but a requirement in the 12-seat private dining room, which will open in the coming weeks.
267 Grey Street, South Brisbane
(07) 3556 3333
Tue to Sat 5.30pm–late