Sherry, snacks and San Sebastián vibes – Alba Bar and Deli opens on Burnett Lane
Jamie Fleming’s journey leading up to Alba Bar and Deli’s recent opening has seen him work across the width and breadth of Australia’s hospitality industry. The young gun – familiar to some as a contestant on MasterChef Australia’s 2014 season – has worked across numerous top-flight bars and kitchens before becoming a Diageo Reserve brand ambassador. Now Jamie is planting roots, putting his experience to good use by opening an effortlessly cool bar in the heart of Brisbane City. Alba Bar and Deli is an amalgamation of Jamie’s tastes and ethos, pairing excellent and friendly service with Spanish flair and New York cool.
Authenticity is huge for Jamie Fleming, but not in the way you think. With his new Burnett Lane hideaway Alba Bar and Deli, Jamie is aiming to make it authentically reflect him – his tastes, his style and his infectious enthusiasm. After relocating permanently to Brisbane three years ago, Jaime spent a lot of his time visiting bars across the state on behalf of Diageo, letting ideas percolate in his brain for a possible venture of his own. When his mother reminded him that at the age of 12 he declared he’d own his own bar by the time he was 30, Jamie was compelled to act. We clearly owe Jamie’s mum our sincere thanks – Jamie’s debut venue is turning heads. Alba Bar and Deli is the amalgamation of Jamie’s loves and hospitality musts – punchy flavours that speak for themselves, a fun atmosphere that eschews seriousness, and service that aims to put patrons at ease and smiles on their faces. Built upon Jamie’s personal predilection for sherry, Spanish pintxos and hip-hop, Jamie describes Alba as a low-key San Sebastián watering hole if it was located in New York City in 1992.
Alba Bar and Deli occupies a cosy nook on Burnett Lane, sharing a wall with another recent arrival Death and Taxes. Jamie first inspected the space more than a year ago, and spent some time considering the structure’s bones to figure out what sort of layout would work best. Alba Bar and Deli utilises some existing features to its advantage, keeping a built-in entry ramp to give drinkers a chance to survey the scene upon arrival, while allowing staff to make them feel welcome by the time they descend to the bar. The venue has been minimally furnished, boasting chic oak tables, banquette seating and a singular booth for drinkers and diners. Pops of colour have been implemented via a green-tiled bar front, custom artwork and brass touches, while an open galley-style kitchen in the corner offers plenty of culinary theatre to enjoy.
The food and drink
Alba’s menu is purpose-built for leisurely drinking and snacking. Pintxos-style eats are on offer, but the menu simply tips its hat to the food culture it’s inspired by, preferring to place emphasis on flavour over faithfulness. The kitchen – spearheaded by Sunshine Coast transplant Tyler Cust – is employing local produce across the menu, plating up bites including scallops with pork hock and quince gel, octopus with romesco tortilla, jamon croquettes, and tomato tartlets with red onion jam and basil. Alba also serves three kinds of jamon – Serrano and Iberico leg and shoulder – alongside Movida sardines, Pepus mussels, Olasagasti anchovies and three or 12-month aged manchego. Jamie has put together a killer drinks list, spotlighting sherry – a criminally misunderstood drop, according to Jamie – mid- to low-alcohol cocktails, sessionable beers and other young and interesting wines from Australia and Spain. Although Jamie is invested in showcasing unusual drops, approachability is still key. There’s something here for nerds and novices alike, with numerous wines available by the glass and bottle – all sips that match well with the menu. As for vibes, expect a sensational selection of hip-hop tunes as well as hip-hop’s influences, such as Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis.
Alba Bar and Deli is now open. For opening hours and other important details, click over to the Stumble Guide.
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