Cheese knives at the ready, Brisbane. The city's first dedicated licensed fromagerie and restaurant opened on Park Road in Milton on Wednesday.
"We'd seen the emergence of similar concepts down south, and thought it was time for Brisbane," says Briana Cicchelli, one of three partners in Fromage The Cow, with her sister Anneka Launay and French expat brother-in-law Tony Launay. Cicchelli selflessly took one for the team, doing some research in New York City to come up with the final concept.
As well as a glass-walled cheese room featuring 95 different cheeses, the space, a heritage-listed building dating from 1889, is home to a bar, a restaurant with a cheese-focused menu and a coffee window with a seasonal cheese toastie menu.
"The idea was for it to be a lively hub all day, from breakfast through to late-night cheese and wine," Cicchelli says.
The menu includes the retro favourite, fondue, here a Barossa Valley camembert baked inside a sourdough cobb and served with crudites; as well as a twice-baked cheese souffle with black garlic bread; and the classic Italian cacio e pepe – linguine with cracked pepper and grana padano. Desserts are also cheese-inspired.
Pride of place is the double-sided glass cheese room featuring predominantly European and Australian cheeses such as Occelli's Barolo cheese from free-range cows fed on the summer meadows before being aged in a cellar for a minimum of five months, then wrapped in Barolo vine leaves. There are also cheeses from as countries as diverse as Mexico and Wales. Currently, they come pre-cut, but according to the Cicchelli, once they have the license to do so, they'll be able to cut in store, too.
The drinks list is similarly global, with "cheese-friendly" wines from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
Open Mon-Sat: coffee window 7am-10pm; breakfast Mon-Sat 7.30am-10.30am; lunch Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm; dinner Wed-Sat 5.30pm-9pm. Coffee and cake available all day.
14 Park Road, Milton, fromagethecow.com.au