Brisbane's vegan community, cocktail fans and charcuterie lovers will all have something to celebrate in 2014. The Moubarak family, owners of Gerard's Bistro in James Street, as well as Lychee Lounge, Laruche and newbie Hatch and Co. in Newstead are adding to their portfolio with a new bar with the working name of "Gerard's Artisan Charcuterie and Bar."
While the idea of a charcuterie-focused bar would seem to have little appeal for vegans, Gerard's chef Ben Williamson has been "mucking around" with vegetables and a dehydrator to create a unique range of vegan charcuterie which will be served along more traditional versions at their new bar.
"I'm very conscious of going down the meat road, but the veggie dishes at Gerard's have always been very popular so I've playing around for a couple of months now and think I've found a way of cooking root vegetables and using dehydration to create something really different," Williamson says.
Omnivores can expect a mix of in-house cured charcuterie and "rare and artisan" products made exclusively for them. They'll also be pickling and fermenting vegetables in-house.
Williamson is keeping mum for now about the non-charcuterie section of the menu but says it will be "post molecular" and different from Gerard's, which this year won the QLD Good Food Guide best new restaurant award. He says he's put together a talented team which will include Gerard's talented pastry chef Aaron Surman.
Food and a selective cocktail mix including a range of imported rare aperitifs and digestifs will be served at a long sit-up bar which will include induction cooktops.
"Bar staff and chefs will be working together, both cooking and doing drinks,” says Johnny Moubarak. “The idea is to take it back to old school hospitality, and to make it interactive. But the experience will still be very casual and accessible to everyone."
Design plans by brother Elie who, is also responsible for Laruche and Gerard's, are under way, with Johnny Moubarak saying they intend "going nuts" with the bar.
"It will be very different - we try to do things with lots of meaning and depth and foresight. It will be quite modem but with traditional elements to it," he says.
Late night diners and drinkers will be happy to know that the bar, slated to open in March/April next year will be serving Williamson's menu until the small hours.