Highly anticipated restaurant Agnes opens … as Agnes Street Bakery Pop-Up + Bottle Shop
Imagine spending years working on a concept of a venue. You find the perfect space. You begin to build the ideal team. You work towards a date. You get ready to open. Then a worldwide pandemic and government-mandated hospitality shutdown stops you right in your tracks. This was the reality for highly anticipated restaurant Agnes in Fortitude Valley, which was due to open in late March. So, like basically every other restaurant, bar and cafe still open, the team had to make some serious changes to the concept – and Agnes Street Pop-Up Bakery + Bottle Shop was conceived.
When we announced mid-last year that lauded chef Ben Williamson was joining forces with restaurant dream team Tyron Simon, Bianca Marchi and Frank Li (sAme sAme and Hôntô) to open a new woodfired restaurant concept in Fortitude Valley, you all got pretty damn excited. And so you should have! Agnes was – and still is – going to be unlike anything else in Brisbane. The concept will sprawl across three levels of its charming industrial space and be split in to three distinct areas – the main dining room, the wine bar and the rooftop bar – with the kitchen built entirely around woodfired cooking. So when disaster struck and the thinking caps came on, the team decided to put that woodfired oven to work and open Agnes Street Bakery Pop-Up + Bottle Shop.
With no time to waste, Ben and his exceptional kitchen team immediately got to work, test baking and drafting possible menus for the pop-up. The menu holds true to the original Agnes ethos – every single item is made from scratch and touches the woodfire in some way, from the puff pastry and cluster rolls, right down to the smoked butter in the pantry (more on that later). Agnes’ downstairs wine-bar space has been transformed into the pop-up, which opened suddenly last Saturday April 4, with the baked goods safely displayed in a glass room intended for the restaurant’s on-site distillery. Speaking of which – distillery plans means that Agnes holds a hotel license, so it made sense that the bakery be partnered with a bottle shop, allowing the public access to the wide selection of unique and hard-to-find drops that the team has been sourcing for the restaurant.
Social distancing is taken very seriously at Agnes Street – eager pastry lovers must line up outside, guided by the markers indicating a 2-m safe distance for each patron to stand. Once inside, however, you are treated to the same level of hospitality that you would expect in the restaurant. The team will guide you through the day’s selection of items – Agnes’ sommelier is even working behind the counter offering guidance and at-home pairings ideas. You’re encouraged to take your time with your choices – nothing behind the scenes is rushed (baking for the 7:00 am open begins at 5:00 pm the previous day), so your experience shouldn’t be rushed either.
Speaking of choices, there are plenty. The offering at Agnes Street is arguably like nothing you’ve experienced – the wood firing adds a unique flavour, texture and appearance that can’t be replicated. The menu includes a rotating selection of sourdoughs (malted grain and treacle, and smoked potato), cluster rolls, pizzette (think n’duja, stracciatella and garlic chive), kouign amann, charred and flaky Basque cheesecakes and cinnamon-coated filled doughnuts. In addition to baked goods and wine, you can also pick up produce from the pantry, which includes a selection of cheeses, house-made wood-smoked butter and relishes, scampi caviar, and salumi made especially for the restaurant opening, now destined for your iso charcuterie board.
While Agnes Street Bakery Pop-Up is currently ‘open’ from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm, baked goods have been selling out early so you better get in quick. That said, Ben and the team will be constantly increasing the supply to keep up with the demand, so chances are you’ll be sinking your teeth into a sticky fig-leaf-sugar-and-butter-cream kouign amann very soon.
Agnes Street Bakery Pop-Up + Bottle Shop is open now, and intends to be until Agnes (the restaurant) can safely operate. For opening hours and contact details, head to our Stumble Guide. The bakery will be open on Friday to Sunday over the Easter weekend from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, with wine available from 10:00 am onwards.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.