It has been a year of rapid growth for Brisbane’s restaurant industry. New dining precincts have been built, including M&A in Fortitude Valley, the Gasworks development and re-vitalised Indooroopilly shopping centre. Restaurateurs have opened second and third venues and a bunch of chefs have made the jump from head chef to business owner.
Some of these have made it onto the list below, our round-up of the "hot and new" restaurants that have opened since the publication of last year's brisbanetimes.com.au Good Food Guide.
The 2014/15 guide launches on Monday night, July 7. Visit goodfood.com.au for all the awards and hats, including the gong for Villa Maria, New Zealand Best New Restaurant.
Billy Kart Kitchen
Ben O'Donghue's cute casual suburban cafe, which steps it up and transforms into a restaurant at night, is much loved by locals and it's easy to ascertain why. Everything's made from scratch and with obvious care; the menu is appealing and well-priced and the fit-out feels warm and inviting. It's the kind of local we all wish we had at the end of the street.
1 Eric Crescent, Annerley, 3392 9275, billykartkitchen.com
A bar and restaurant with a focus on char-grilled meats and a share plate menu, Black Bird's opening was awaited with great anticipation. Chef Jake Nicholson, formerly of Circa the Prince and partner, sommelier Penny Grant from Stokehouse, moved up from Melbourne to open the venue; the fourth for the Ghanem group. With its classic Brisbane River and Story Bridge views, the open air bar, and an imaginative and comprehensive drinks list, it's a welcome addition to his riverside corner.
North Plaza, Riverside Centre, 123 Eagle Street, Brisbane, 3229 1200, blackbirdbrisbane.com.au
Black Hide Steakhouse
The Gambaro family's second Caxton Street venue looks like being as long lived and as well-loved as their seafood restaurant across the road. Its values of old-fashioned hospitality and smartly attired staff, along with a bring-back-the-80s-long-lunch vibe makes you feel that all is right with the world. And the premium quality steaks come cooked perfectly to order every single time.
36 Caxton St, Brisbane, 3367 2886, blackhidesteakhouse.com.au
Gordita Bar & Restaurant
Gordita epitomises everything that is good about where our hospitality scene is right now. No matter what time of day, you're welcomed for a drink, a bar snack or to graze your way through Alfonso Ales' menu based on contemporary reworkings of Spanish classics. We love the New York-meets-Barcelona fitout, the superb wine list, the comfortable seating and great playlist too.
1b/100 McLachlan Street, Fortitude Valley, 3666 0605, gordita.com.au
Kwan is so right now. A bit of a tongue-in-cheek play with the stereotype of an Asian takeaway, it's kitschy good fun. The menu is designed for grazing rather than serious dining but the food is seriously good with the Robata grill infusing smoky goodness into lamb ribs, corn and more. A good selection of Asian beer and late-night opening seal the deal for us.
43 Alfred Street, Fortitude Valley, 3251 6588, kwanbros.com.au
The Foraging Quail
A contemporary Australian restaurant based on local, sustainable, organic and foraged food, this is the first time out on his own for chef Minh Le. He's popped up in many kitchens around Brisbane in his time, but we think that with this, his very own place, he has found his groove; and his technique and imagination shine bright. The Foraging Quail is city smart, but local friendly.
148 Merthyr Rd, New Farm, 3358 6414, theforagingquail.com.au
Lutece Bistro & Wine Bar
Owner/chef Romain Bapst has been around the traps, having been the long-time executive chef at Il Centro in the CBD before moving on to Drift. Now, high on the hill with daytime city views, he heads up his own restaurant, Lutece, a classic French restaurant with a slight Alsatian bias. All the Gallic favourites are present and correct along with a schmick wine list.
1/60 Macgregor Terrace, Bardon, 3161 1858, lutece.com.au
Mighty Mighty Cue & Brew
Who says dining out has to be serious? From the moment you enter Mighty Mighty and see the wall art featuring an urban cowboy, you know the emphasis is on fun at this sophisticated interpretation of a US diner. Big, bold southern American flavours in hearty portions are served up along with a careful selection of craft beer. Staff are knowledgeable about beer-food matches too. Good clean, finger-licking fun.
Shop 6/7, 100 McLachlan Street, Fortitude Valley, 3666 0184, mightymighty.net.au
**The brisbanetimes.com.au Good Food Guide awards are on Monday night, July 7. Follow @goodfoodAU on Twitter from around 6.30pm for the results as they happen. Or visit goodfood.com.au from about 8.30pm that night for a full rundown of the award winners and hats.
The 2014-15 brisbanetimes.com.au Good Food Guide is on sale at newsagents from Tuesday July 8 ($12.99) or online at smhshop.com.au. From next week, it will be available as an app, for tablet and mobile, from the app store.
Natascha Mirosch is the editor of The Brisbane Times Good Food Guide.