Natascha Mirosch

JAMES Street Bistro in Fortitude Valley is no more. In its place is Chowhouse, which the former bistro owner opened ever-so-quietly last week. "James Street has so much happening, we wanted to move forward with it, and the bistro was looking a little tired," says owner Yolande Coroneo.

They've done a strip and refurbishment, including enclosing the alfresco area. What we're really excited about, though, is that chef Timmy Kemp has come over from Hamilton (where Coroneo has another venue, Zest Cafe) to take on the kitchen.

Kemp is bit of a Brisbane legend, having been one of the original stable of '90s chefs who did so much to advance dining in Brisbane. She has a Thai background but is classically trained, so expect a bit of both European and Asian influences on the menu.

There are street-food inspired share-plates (chargrilled pork balls with sambal olek and Sichuan-boned quail with quail egg, and Asian slaw and rice cake) as well as more substantial dishes (tea-smoked duck with pork bun, pork belly with pig's ear and lychee and orange salad). It's always been a great spot, but with Kemp in the kitchen, I reckon it will be pumping like the rest of James Street.

Chowhouse 4a/39 James Street, Fortitude Valley.