So naturally, the service at this refurbished Fortitude Valley warehouse is precise. The beautiful pendent lights are dimmed just so. The carefully appointed wine cellar runs to a whopping 1500 bottles.
Williamson’s team of chefs is split across two long, low-set counters and works solely with crackling wood fire and smoke – there’s no gas, no electricity. The floor staff is charged with guiding diners through a menu split across snacks, starters, mains, sides and desserts, with dishes sometimes changing daily depending on what Williamson finds at the market.
For starters at Agnes you might order bonito, ‘nduja and white strawberry sandwiches; woodfired cabbage with a koji-butter sauce and egg yolk; or beef tartare with smoked chestnut, mushroom, almond and turnip. For mains, there’s redthroat emperor with soubise, scampi caviar and spring leaves; duck with bread sauce and cumquats; and smoked lamb neck served with an ancho mole and flatbread. There’s always a selection of dry-aged meat dishes, such as 70-day-aged heritage pork with apple sauce, and Wagyu sirloin that’s served with house-smoked mandarin.
For drinks, there’s the enormous wine cellar that mixes classic European regions and varieties with biodynamic and organic new-world drops, and a slick set of cocktails that complements the tartness, tang and heat of Williamson’s cooking.
The venue itself sits in an ancient, wedge-shaped hillside warehouse in a forgotten Fortitude Valley side street. The main floor is looked over by a smaller mezzanine-level private dining room. There are two bar areas – one down a short flight of stairs that doubles as a cosy holding pen for those waiting on a table, and an upstairs terrace with views across the CBD and the Valley.