Spring was a time of new life in Brisbane’s restaurant scene, with a bunch of venues opening in recent weeks. Here are five of the best.
Taking over the space previously occupied by Gordita, Madame Rouge is the first solo venture for Mary Randles, best known as the gregarious maitre d’ at husband Philip Johnson’s E’cco Bistro. The intimate space is adorned with heavy red curtains, a moody colour scheme and walls of French poster art. The menu, created by head chef Matthew Short (ex Olé group), in collaboration with Johnson, features classic French-inspired dishes such as soufflé, steak frites and creme caramel. Barkeep Alberto Manresso (ex-Stokehouse) has worked up a Gallic drinks menu to suit.
100 McLachlan Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3252 8881
Paddington’s dining scene got a whole lot hotter in November with a new venue specialising in just two things: American-style chicken and craft beer. Winner Winner’s small kitchen churns out crispy, spiced cuts of chicken, from tenders and wings to dark meat (drumstick and thigh), available in original, medium or hot. There’s also the signature chicken burger with jack cheese, special sauce and iceberg lettuce. The bar serves craft beers such as Stone & Wood and Green Beacon. Finally, and perhaps best of all, Winner Winner is open late – for any west-siders stumbling home this Christmas party season.
233A Given Terrace, Paddington
(07) 3368 2677
From Nick Pinn and Laurie Rogencamp (Malt Dining, Malt Pier, Malt Traders), comes a boutique butcher and hidden restaurant for the north side. The Albion Butchery sits on busy Sandgate Road. It’s part-providore, part front for Vaquero Dining, neatly slotted in behind in a long, narrow, moodily lit space. The butcher focuses on charcuterie, pickled vegetables and take-home meals, while Vaquero’s unfussy menu is driven by chef Damon Porter’s Josper charcoal oven. Rolled sous-vide lamb saddle and shimeji mushroom with porcini brioche are good examples of the restraint on offer.
344 Sandgate Road, Albion
(07) 3862 3606
Sandwiched between a George Street topless bar and a discount chemist is Greenglass, the newest venture from the team behind Happy Boy. The space, reminiscent of a New York-style loft with a white palette, simple furnishings and vast windows, is hidden from the city street up an anonymous flight of stairs. Once inside you’ll be treated to a concise yet innovative breakfast menu, followed by lunch offerings that skew towards classic, affordable French cuisine. Wine plays a big role here with over 110 displayed on the wall, backed by an even more extensive cellar selection. Dinner service is expected to kick off in the coming weeks.
336 George Street, Brisbane CBD
Bird’s Nest Valley
After building Bird’s Nest Restaurant into a West End institution, Emi Kamada and Marie Yokoyama have taken their little yakitori joint that could over the river to open a second venue on Ann Street in the Valley. The space is smaller than its West End counterpart, but just as stylish and has room for more customers. The food doesn’t steer too far away from the classics that have come to be loved by West Enders these past three years, including the famous karaage (fried chicken), a vast array of chicken skewers and tsukune (grilled chicken meatballs served with a raw egg yolk).
702 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3257 2305