From a resurrected favourite to a suburban champagne specialist, these are the Brisbane openings everyone’s talking about.
Brisbane diners let out a collective cry when Crosstown Eating House suddenly closed its doors last October. But six months on, Crosstown is back, and it feels even better than it did before.
Relaunched as Crosstown Public House, the venue is now in the capable hands of Cam O’Brien – the man behind Sorellina and a co-owner of 1889 Enoteca. O’Brien has fine-tuned the venue’s original concept while respecting the building’s heritage.
O’Brien admits he’s not reinventing the wheel; Crosstown works best as a local. A new menu features familiar pub-style offerings – pork schnitzel, market fish and rump steak – with craft beers from a freshly installed six-tap head. There’s also a new cocktail tap pouring ice-cold Pimm’s. A brunch menu offers granola, waffles and a brekkie burger.
23 Logan Road, Woolloongabba
(07) 3189 1595
When Renata Roberts first opened Sichuan Bang Bang in the outer suburb of Kenmore in 2012, some Australian customers reckoned she wasn’t serving real Chinese food.
Not anymore. Sichuan Bang Bang – built on her experience opening restaurants in China – became a roaring success, as did its sister restaurant, Pizzeria Violetta next door on Wongabel Street, after it opened in 2015. So there was an air of inevitability about the announcement that both would expand towards the city, into Paddington.
Where the Kenmore restaurants are two distinct identities, the Paddington versions are – for now – conjoined. But it makes sense: both venues share the logic of fast-paced, uncompromisingly authentic food, done well.
On weekends, Pizzeria Violetta offers benzina breakfasts, based around wood-fired panuozzo, a light bread the chefs stuff with ham and cheese; Bang Bang cranks out two sittings of bottomless yum cha.
167 Given Terrace, Paddington Pizzeria Violeta: (07) 3369 2300 Sichuan Bang Bang: (07) 3369 1311
Classic seventies dishes are given a modern spin and served in Nickel Kitchen & Bar’s Art Deco–inspired setting, a recipe designed to appeal to your nostalgia.
T J Peabody (who co-owns the venue with wife Kim) had the idea for Nickel when reminiscing about his first taste of fine dining as a youngster. The result is a restaurant and bar reminiscent of an early episode of Mad Men, but with a solid sense for the contemporary.
The menu was created by Chris Sell, who previously worked his modern magic on American classics at the Peabodys’ Nantucket Kitchen and Bar. Sell’s focus on quality produce means he takes home-style dishes up a notch, such as making the kiev with Barossa Valley chicken, heirloom vegetables and gremolata.
Snacks including prawn cutlets and pâté are available for grazing at the nickel-topped bar. The wine list currently has more than 250 drops, and the goal is to push it closer to 700. But there’s also a serious selection of cocktails to wash down your weekend brunch.
757 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3252 5100
Blockhouse Eat/Drink continues Nundah’s awakening from its suburban slumber.
Before transforming what was once a bikie hangout into a handsome, crisply styled cafe and bar, Jerome Dalton and partners Angel and Oliver Markart ran various venues for more than 15 years. With Blockhouse, the trio indulges Dalton’s soft spot for champagne, but the aim is to keep it affordable – for punters to sit and enjoy a few glasses without worrying about the bill.
Champagne Collet is the star of the drinks list, heading up a number of sparkling wines from around the world as well as a few beers on tap. The accompanying bar food is created to share – simple, local dishes that aren’t overworked.
Blockhouse also opens in the morning with a similarly laid-back menu. Given its proximity to the train station, it also has a dedicated area for grabbing takeaway coffee orders.
130 Ryans Road, Nundah
0478 750 571
Last month Johnny Na threw open the doors to the second instalment of his hugely popular Miel Container burger joint, its red shipping-container facade now a beacon in Sunnybank’s Market Square.
For Na, this 120-seat second operation was all about scaling up in the backyard of his most loyal customers, who would regularly make the 15-minute drive north to visit his CBD “pop-up” original, opened in 2013.
It’s the same inventive menu – choices include barbeque bulgogi and miso-smoked pork belly, both served with bean-paste mayo, or more traditional grass-fed beef, crumbed fish and vegie burgers – the burgers a fusion of Na’s diverse Korean-via-French culinary training.
Servings are generous and the option to DIY is a point of difference, flying in the face of the “no menu change” policies that are becoming common elsewhere. The Sunnybank joint has also added tap beer into the mix.