The Brunswick Social

367 Brunswick St Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006

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(07) 3252 3234
Opening hours Wednesday & Thursday 5pm-midnight; Friday 5pm-3am; Saturday 4pm-3am; Sunday 4pm-midnight.
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)

Say it with me: FINALLY. Finally there's somewhere to go for a late-night feed in the Valley that doesn't require one to eat standing in the street, unsure if what they're chewing on is the stale pizza or the paper plate it's served on.

Something I have done before, and will do again, but right now I'm going to get a table at The Brunswick Social, order a plate of steamed pork buns and a Negroni and feel very satisfied indeed.

Is the opening of a late-night dumpling house and bar (serving food until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights) a sign that the Fortitude Valley is finally growing up? Finally ready to keep her shoes on until she gets home, and wake up on Sunday without a hangover?

The Brunswick Social opened last month at the site of the former Lucid Laundry boutique (it's owned by the same folks, Bianca and Tristan Dynes), the basement shop transformed into a warm, chic, inviting space.

It's not all about the late-night chow, however - on a recent mid-week evening, it was half-full with groups and the occasional couple.

It's a very large space, The Brunswick Social, but the renovation has been superb - there are cosy nooks as well as long tables in the centre to stand up and be seen at, plus the lighting is flattering and not to harsh on post-nightclub eyes. And the fact that it's below ground, rather than opening onto the street, makes it all feel very elsewhere.

The menu is chiefly a list of fried and steamed dumplings, and everything's a flat $8, making bill-splitting a dream - even for the group of innumerate wordsmiths that I was with. The waiter advises us that we can either put down a credit card and open a tab, or pay individually as we go - another plus for those dining Dutch. Menus are printed on paper and you're given a little pencil to tick what you want to eat, a cute way of avoiding ordering mix-ups.

Our chosen dumplings include BBQ pork buns, prawn and mushroom dumplings, fried fish cakes and spring rolls, and they're all tasty and fresh (even the deep-fried ones). There's also a short menu of 'social snacks' including olives and chips starting from $3.50, and we order a serve of beetroot chips ($3.50) out of curiousity and find them ridiculously addictive. I'll probably be back soon just to order more of those.

There's a very good non-alcoholic drinks list, including juices, tea, coffee, kitsch American soft drinks and posh mineral waters, but we order cocktails from the menu of mostly classics - a Tom Collins, mojito and a sidecar. Those unfamiliar with what goes into classic cocktails will be reaching for their iPhones, however - unusually, there's no list of ingredients next to the cocktail names or just go for a glass of wine or a craft beer. We've skipped dessert tonight but there's steamed custard buns (always my first pick at yum cha) good icecream. Simple and sweet.

It's all very satisfying, rather than mind-blowingly spectacular, but you're there to socialise and make merry, at any time of the day (or night) you like. It's the Valley for grownups.

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