When coronavirus arrived in Brisbane, many predicted an end for the city’s thriving food and beverage scene. Instead, Brisbane’s loyal local foodies are keeping the local economy ticking along and drawing evermore talent from interstate.
Right now, it seems like there are more new Brisbane restaurants and bars than ever. We got the local word on some of the very best openings of the past 12 months.
To have a kitchen completely powered by fire. That’s the philosophy behind what’s arguably Brisbane’s best restaurant right now, with everything on star chef Ben Williamson’s seasonal menu being kissed by flame or smoke. For drinks, there’s an enormous 1500-bottle wine list, and the fit-out by architects Richards and Spence is a steel, timber and brick beauty.
Location: Agnes, 22 Agnes Street, Fortitude Valley
From the Rick Shores crew comes this three-storey stunner. The fit-out is all terracotta, concrete, tiles and hanging greenery, with a downstairs dining room that opens onto a lush fern garden. For food and drink, it’s speedy dim sum and wok dishes helped down by an efficient 100-bottle wine list that taps both old and new-world drops.
Location: Southside, Fish Lane Town Square, 63 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
This immaculately detailed French restaurant occupies the ground floor of the newly opened Hotel X. Chefs Jake Nicolson and Anthony Donaldson are mixing modernised takes on Gallic classics with share plates of rotisserie chicken and rib eye. The food is accompanied by cocktails and a 200-bottle wine list. While there, make sure you check out sister venue Iris, a rooftop bar and eatery that boasts priceless views across the city.
Location: Bisou Bisou, 458 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
Perhaps the most refined of Brisbane’s new wave of stripped-back pasta and pizza restaurants, Siffredi’s is the brainchild of Stokehouse Q alums chef Ollie Hansford, sommelier Aleks Balodis and bartender Stephen Overty. There’s a rotating menu of five kinds of pasta, four snacks and a single dessert accompanied by a short wine list and cocktail menu.
Other notable new pasta spots around town include the intimate Pasta Club in West End, and the freewheeling Uh Oh Spaghettio in Fortitude Valley. For pasta and pizza in Paddington, check out Elementi, and on the southside favoured local pizza joint Little G has moved down the hill from Dutton Park to classy new digs in Woolloongabba.
Location: Siffredi's Spaghetti Bar, 36 Vernon Terrace, Teneriffe
Not a new opening, but Otto Brisbane moving to South Bank to take over the old Stokehouse Q digs is a restaurant and bar finally finding its waterside home. Hit the restaurant for chef Will Cowper’s Amalfi-inspired entrees, pastas, and mains, or opt for Otto Osteria’s more laidback charms if you’re just dropping in. Either way, the timber fit-out is as handsome as ever.
Location: Otto Ristorante, Shop 1, River Quay, Sidon Street, South Brisbane
A beautiful brick-lined bolthole in newly opened Town Square, Bar Brutus pours a small list of wine, aperitivi and digestivi to just a handful of punters at any one time. A sister venue to nearby Julius, it doubles as a holding space for that eternally packed Italian restaurant, but also as part of a neat three-hander with fellow pocket bar Kiki Kiosk and Maker.
Location: Bar Brutus, Town Square, 2/49 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
Popular rooftop bar Eleven has been reinvented for the Covid era as MAYA, a slick Mexican restaurant. Expect small and large plates inspired by the full range of Mexican cuisine from the Pacific to the Caribbean. The food is accompanied by plenty of tequila, mezcal and sotol. And, of course, those views continue to be some of the best in the city.
Location: MAYA, 757 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
From the same team that opened Agnes comes Bianca, a beautiful Italian eatery in prestigious Ada Lane. The Richards and Spence fit-out is spectacular, with warm lighting reflecting off concrete walls and tiled counters and tabletops. For food, think fun Italian, with antipasti followed by rotating pasta and mains menus, and house-made soft-serve gelato. For drinks, there are themed cocktails and a 350-bottle wine list.
Location: Bianca, Shop AM5 Ada Lane, 46 James Street, Fortitude Valley
Former Longrain Melbourne head chef Arte Assavakavinvong is piloting the kitchen at Melrose, a Bali-inspired open-air restaurant on Oxford Street. He’s cooking a menu of pan-South East Asian dishes backed by tropical cocktails, spritzes and a 60-bottle wine list. Where to sit? Underneath the restaurant’s retractable roof, of course.
Location: Melrose Restaurant, 37 Oxford Street, Bulimba
From Korean-born chef-owner Alex Kim comes this 22-seat omakase restaurant. Each night in a moodily lit Woolloongabba dining room (that features a record player and zen garden), Kim is plating up multiple courses of Korean and Japanese food (think Wagyu bulgogi, or pork and kimchi dumplings). Drinks are currently BYO, but a list of sake, shochu-based cocktails and natural wine is in the works.
Location: Butterfly, 77 Jurgens Street, Woolloongabba
Not content with opening one new venue during Covid-19, Stefano de Blasi and Edoardo Perlo have had a hand in four, including restaurant and bar La Costa, rooftop bar Cielo and wine bar La Valle. Arguably the best, though, is Eterna. In August it moved into the much-loved old Longtime digs and is serving Rome-inspired pasta and street food alongside regional Italian wines.
Location: Eterna, 610 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
In 2020 the old Elephant Hotel was refitted and reopened as The Prince Consort. The new venue boasts 89 beer taps and room for up to 2000 punters across eight distinct sub-venues, including a gastropub, a taco restaurant and a live music venue. Arrive early for drinks in the garden bar, stay late for cocktails in the Bowie Rooms and grab a bottle from the late-night cellar on your way home.
Location: The Prince Consort, 230 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley
Need more inspiration on what to see and do in Brisbane? Check our other Brisbetter Day Out articles, videos and itineraries for more fabulous ideas.
Editor's note: The featured content in Brisbane Explore is created to inspire residents and visitors to buy local as part of our city’s Economic Recovery Plan. Brisbane City Council disclaims any relationship with, or endorsement of, businesses featured in this video.
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