There was plenty of anguish among Brisbane city slickers when Sonny’s House of Blues closed in August 2017. Ever since, the basement space underneath Rowes Building has sat dormant.
But in late September it finally landed a new tenant, restaurateur Shaun Chapman opening Miss Demeanour, a 140-seat cafe, restaurant and bar intended to enliven a subdued corner of the CBD. “Even though it’s in a slightly different area, we felt that the market could handle a place that does really good food all the time,” Chapman says.
He should know. Three years ago Chapman took over much-loved Burnett Lane hideaway Brew Café and Wine Bar, which regularly heaves with a dedicated after-work crowd. He says he (along with a silent business partner) jumped at the opportunity to activate another laneway. “We could really see the need for another space like this in Brisbane,” he says.
Miss Demeanour is a little more refined than the eclectic Brew, its timber tables, leather booths, raw sandstone walls and original brickwork intended to capture some of the history of the 134-year-old Rowes Building above. “When someone walks in, we want it to take their breath away,” Chapman says. “We feel we’ve done that.”
Head chef Matt Casey’s menu features crowd-pleasing breakfast options such as eggs Benedict, protein pancakes, mushroom bagels and waffles that can be ordered either sweet or savoury. For lunch and dinner there’s a range of burgers and salads, and mains such as wild-caught king snapper, crispy pork belly and slow-braised beef brisket.
Still, it’s a dessert option, available all day, that’s the stand-out. The well-travelled Casey has prepared New Orleans-style beignets, where traditional French dough is fried, coated in icing sugar and then served with either white chocolate and macadamia, berry coulis, or bourbon butterscotch sauce.
Behind the bar there are more than 100 spirits and the 10 rotating beer taps lean mostly towards craft brews such as Balter and Stone & Wood.
Similar to Brew, Miss Demeanour is open seven days a week from breakfast until late at night, trading until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays with the plan to introduce live entertainment down the track.
Rowes Lane, Brisbane
(07) 3221 0032
Mon to Thu 7am–12am