You have to hand it to Dan Finn and Thames Delaforce, who have managed to re-open Anise bang on schedule after a major re-fit in the middle of the chaos of the floods.
"The last couple of days were interesting," Finn says. "We weren't directly affected by the floods but it slowed everything down, from the oven installation to the liquor licence."
Nevertheless, Finn and business partner Delaforce managed to hit the ground running, opening the doors on Wednesday night. The chef is David Grant, who has stepped up from his sous position at Anise under the old owners. He also worked with Finn and Delaforce at 1889 Enoteca.
There have been changes to the decor, but as Finn says, they've kept the "bones" of the old Anise. The space is still petite, seating just 20, and the menu is still focused on bistro food, but with a pan-European rather than strictly Gallic approach. As well as a handful of mains, such as braised lamb neck and wagyu sirloin, there's an appealing line in smaller plates and bar snacks. These include pig's ears with honey and caper aioli, red wine egg with toast, and beef tartare.
There's been a change in the wine, too, with a stronger focus on Australian wine. A "current vintage" list of 30 to 35 drops are available by the glass, with a "reserve" list of back vintages only available by the bottle. They are also putting together a Jimmy Watson trophy list representing winners over the past 15 years.
Anise will be open for dinner from Monday to Saturday, 6pm till late, and for lunch from Thursday to Saturday, from midday to 3pm. You can also pull up at the bar for a cheese or salumi platter between lunch and dinner.
Anise, 697 Brunswick Street, New Farm 3358 1558, www.anise.com.au