Chef Tim Scott has always been dedicated to other people’s businesses. He worked hard in the kitchens at celebrated restaurants such as Tartufo and Gerard’s Bistro in Brisbane, and Sepia and Automata in Sydney; before striking out with Sarah Baldwin to open Joy (to much acclaim) in 2019.
Yet Exhibition, a moody underground restaurant at the old Metro Arts Building on Edward Street, is his first truly solo venture.
As the name suggests, it exhibits not only his passion for food, but also his passions for art, artisans, makers and producers. The cutlery has been hand-forged by Kinnow Cutlery, and there are sake sets by Box & Ho Pottery and vases by Brighenti Design Studio. In the main dining room there’s a set of antique Japanese knives on display, and shelves of fancy recipe and restaurant books.
The restaurant itself is split into two spaces. The main dining room seats just 24 people, either at tables or the kitchen counter. A second area with a lower ceiling is a 10-person bar and cellar that stocks Exhibition’s tight collection of small-producer wines, sakes and spirits. Materials throughout are a mix of heritage and modern textures, with original exposed bricks and enormous 900-millimetre thick timber beams the standout features.
The two, ever-evolving set menus are another standout. Scott changes them depending on what’s in season and available from farms such as Neighbourhood Farms, Loop Growers or specialist suppliers such as Thai Hoa Grocer. Dishes have included a scampi sashimi churro; Western Australian scallop served with shellfish oil, crispy chilli dressing, fermented apple, pepper elder and quinoa; and Wagyu cap grilled over coals and served with sweet-and-sour sherry, mustard and pickled spring bulbs.
A curated drinks list ranges a little more widely for its hits. Funky Italian winemaker Icaro Vino’s malvasia di candia-trebbiano blend has shared the cellar with a La Violetta pinot meunier from Western Australia and a Blank Canvas gruner veltliner from Marlborough. While the backbar has featured drops such as Ailsa Bay single-malt whisky and Dark Matter spiced rum from Scotland, and 17-year-old Christian Drouin calvados from France. They help power a cocktail list that taps the same fresh produce as the kitchen.
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