How does Kiwi menswear brand Rodd & Gunn’s Lodge Bar & Dining fit into James Street, Brisbane’s most affluent dining precinct? On paper, it makes sense. James Street is where retail meets food and beverage. The Lodge brings it all under one roof, the restaurant’s heritage-listed Lawless Grocery Store building connected to a new Rodd & Gunn boutique on the James Street side of the premises.

The Lodge is made up of a series of interconnected rooms. Beyond an enormous swinging glass door on James Street there’s a bar and an initial dining room, and then a second windowed dining area on the Robertson Street side. Walk around a corner and climb an enormous staircase and you’ll find the bathrooms, a second larger bar, a lounge area, a verandah and a fetching private dining room.

Throughout, the venue feels spacious, almost oversized. Rodd & Gunn as a brand is relatively restrained and outdoors-focused, and the fit-out plays it similarly straight with reams of pale American oak on the floors and ceilings, brass highlights, table linen and flagstone walls.

The seasonal food menu sees Kiwi executive chef Matt Lambert flexing his Michelin-star muscle (eight years running at The Musket Room in New York) via local produce and neat combinations of flavours and textures. Dishes such as a salad of warm and cooled peas with fried enoki and oyster mushrooms, and cold coral trout with puffed grains, avocado and herbs get out of the way of the produce, illustrating that confidence. Elsewhere, you might eat cuttlefish with chilli, rosemary and aioli; or a dry-aged, bone-in New York strip steak cooked on embers and finished with a seeded mustard jus.

There’s a 250-bottle wine list compiled by Cameron Douglas, New Zealand’s only master sommelier. The selection champions Kiwi drops without getting up in your grill about it, with Australian and European regions also well represented.

Upstairs, there’s the generously sized bar area, light-filled lounge and wraparound verandah with views across the heaving intersection of James, Robertson and Doggett streets.

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Updated: November 12th, 2022

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