Chef Phil Marchant ended up in Brisbane completely by chance. But now, almost 10 years later with a young family and two busy restaurants to look after, he’s well and truly ensconced in the local scene.
When Marchant’s not at his moody hidden bar The Nixon Room, which opened earlier this year, or fine diner Essa, one of 2021’s biggest and best openings, he loves to grab quick takeaway pizza, putt away mountains of dumplings or visit a casual tapas spot in West End.
What’s your go-to for a quick takeaway?
We often grab pizzas from Revel Brewing in Bulimba and take them to Riverside Park with the kids.
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And for a drink and snacks?
Gerard’s Bar – it’s just really good, tasty food.
If it’s a special occasion, where are you headed?
I'm heading to Otto, that’s for sure.
Where’s your favourite for great baking or pastries?
Has to be Sprout; give me one of those cardamom scrolls any day.
And where do you think does the best coffee in town?
I used to frequent Light Coffee in East Brisbane on a regular basis to get a brew and some filter beans for home, but sadly it’s no longer there. They do have a subscription service though, which is amazing, and the quality of the roast is incredible.
How about a meal with a big group of family or friends?
I'm heading to Southside for mountains of dumplings and cocktails under the bridge. I love the outside seating area, too; it reminds me of East London with the trains going overhead.
What’s your personal favourite dish on the menu at your restaurant? Tough one I’m sure …
Tough to choose one because I think we are in a really great spot creatively at the moment, but the ‘nduja sums up the intent of the food the best. It’s served with river mint honey and with our bread intentionally burnt on one side. It looks simple, but there are so many touch points to get it to the table the way I want.
And is there a hidden gem that you think is underrated but great?
It’s not all that hidden, but Bar Francine. It’s tucked away in West End and it’s bloody delicious! Brad is a bit of a wizard! (It’s also a favourite of Stanley chef Louis Tikaram.)