The second edition of the brisbanetimes.com.au Good Food Guide, Queensland's dining bible.
Welcome to the second edition of the brisbanetimes.com.au Good Food Guide. Again, we have supped and sipped our way around the state to bring you the best it has to offer. While diners celebrated opening after opening (Alfred & Constance, Bistro One Eleven, Riverbar & Kitchen, Bucci, Bacchus, Gerard’s Bistro, Gallery One, Pony Dining) restaurateurs despaired as staff were being spread ever thinner, and finding and keeping them became a major challenge. Then there were the shockwaves of the global financial crisis to contend with. Sadly some restaurants are no longer with us (RIP Bistro Bistrot, Brett’s Wharf, Confit, Les Amis, Pescatore, Q’Essence, Seasalt and Vio’s among others). It has certainly been an interesting 12 months. Here’s a snapshot of what we saw as shaping the dining scene.
You’d be forgiven for thinking we’re in the fifty-first state with deep fryers doing overtime, pumping out southern fried chicken and buffalo wings. Then there are the sliders, cheese steaks, po’ boys, mac ’n’ cheese, chilli dogs and onion rings being served up not just in our bars but at some top-shelf restaurants too.
The Gold Coast has been busy reinventing its dining scene this year, stepping up with a load of on-trend openings (Cambus Wallace, Bin 12, The Fish House, Social Eating House, Samphire Bites, Pigs & Pints). Then there’s the wave of coffee culture that’s hit the coast. Riding it are some pretty cool spots offering house-roasted brews in every possible permutation. PORK RULES We’ve been enjoying pork belly for years, but chefs are getting more experimental with the beast, with pork pulled, slow-baked and pork shoulder on many menus. And nose-to-tail eating is being taken literally with pigs’ tails as garnishes and bowls of crisped pigs’ ears served up with our drinks.
We gained our first (and so far sole) street food van, started trialling food bikes, experienced pop-ups and accepted that good food was to be found in the most unlikely of places, including art galleries (GOMA Restaurant), casinos (Fat Noodle) and even shopping centres (Gallery One).
BYE BYE TAPAS
Tapas is looking a little tired (and often used out of context) so restaurateurs are favouring ‘share plates’ instead. Whatever they choose to call it, it makes for a lot of convivial dining.
The line between bar and restaurant, or restaurant and cafe, is becoming ever more blurred with bars upping their food ante and restaurants making posh bar snacks. Somewhere in the middle are places that are neither one nor the other. Others are both – transforming from day to night.
It’s been the year of beer as Queensland diners look for something different and more interesting to drink than the generic offerings from big brewers. We’ve seen several craft beer joints open, and even restaurants getting crafty, adding artisan beers from all over the world to their lists. ‘Low intervention’ and ‘natural’ wines are popping up on menus and being poured into wine glasses, too.
A SECOND HOME
Brisbane is becoming the location for a second (or even third) restaurant for out-ofstate restaurateurs. Damien Heads rode into town with Pony Dining, Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan set up Riverbar & Kitchen (and came within a whisker of losing it again in the January floods), and Luke Nguyen inaugurated Fat Noodle. There are whispers of other big names scouting for Brisbane locations, too. Then there are our own locals opening second venues (Bucci, Champ Kitchen & Bar, Toro, Bistro One Eleven, Epicurean, Aquitaine Brasserie etc). Although it has been a tough year, our tenacious restaurateurs keep on doing what they do with dedication and passion, and we thank them for it. Queenslanders are a modest lot, not given to hyperbole or shouting our own praises from the rooftops, but secretly, we reckon from our very best hatted restaurants to our cheerful casuals, Brisbane is one of the most exciting places in the country to eat and drink right now.