Sneak peek – Allonda, the new head-turning restaurant from the NOTA team, opens in Newstead
If you live in Newstead, the word Allonda has likely passed your ears a few times in recent weeks. Back in August, the young guns behind beloved Paddington dining spot NOTA Restaurant & Wine Bar announced they would be expanding their portfolio with a new venue on Longland Street, one promising eye-catching eats and a design to match. Allonda, which officially opens next week, looks like it will deliver on both fronts. Serving glossy globes of burrata and seafood plates over a raw bar, fresh pasta and meats from its kitchen, and plenty of fun and interesting wines, this restaurant is shaping up to be a welcome addition to Newstead’s burgeoning restaurant scene. Take a gander inside ahead of its official launch …
It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly Newstead became one of Brisbane’s most exciting dining districts, but recently it has seemed like the suburb has staunchly staked its claim as one of the most noteworthy neighbourhoods behind The City and Fortitude Valley. Longland Street is a crucial artery for Newstead’s thriving nosh network, not only connecting to Gasworks Plaza and its myriad of eateries, but numerous side streets where the likes of Newstead Brewing Co., Stratton Bar & Kitchen, Salt. Coffee (and its soon-to-open wine-bar sibling NIKY), Mrs Brown’s Bar & Kitchen and Newstead Social reside. It’s also the home of Allonda, the first of what is shaping up to be a string of new culinary concepts (alongside Baker D. Chirico and Evra) opening on the strip in the coming months. “It’s the new CBD,” says Sebastiaan de Kort, co-owner of Allonda and Paddington favourite NOTA Restaurant & Wine Bar. “[Newstead’s] an exciting place – it’s not dull. It might be smaller, sure, but there’s a strong sense of community here, good operators and it’s just cool.” All’onda, an Italian term commonly utilised to describe the way Venetian-style risotto ripples when it has achieved the perfect consistency, literally translates to ‘on the wave’. With this in mind, it’s almost fitting that Allonda is opening in Newstead – capitalising on a groundswell of activity in the suburb and leading a new wave of high-end arrivals. The restaurant officially opens to the public next Tuesday October 4 at the base of Dwell, an apartment building from property development company Dibcorp. It was the Dibcorp team that first offered the plum digs to Sebastiaan and business partners Kevin Docherty and Yanika Sittisuntorn last year after being wowed by a dining experience at NOTA. Flash forward a busy 12 months (which saw the team also expand NOTA’s Given Terrace home) and the team is putting the final touches on the two-level venue. At its core, Allonda sees Sebastiaan, Kevin and Yanika bringing their quality-above-all approach to hospitality to this prosperous pocket of Brisbane, taking their much-loved European-leaning culinary disposition and presenting it in a setting that is striking and modern. “Both are just a representation of how we want our restaurants to be – good food, good wine, good service,” says Sebastiaan. “Keep it simple. Allonda is just an extension of our brand. We’re just carrying the same love over, really.”
While conceptually linked, NOTA and Allonda couldn’t be any more dissimilar, looks wise. Where in Paddington the team were putting their touch on a pre-existing restaurant space (which boasts plenty of brick, tan, brass and old-world fixtures), over in Newstead they had a blank canvas to work with. “It’s different,” says Kevin of Allonda’s creation compared to that of NOTA. “When we were in NOTA we were doing all the work – sanding, painting the chairs, scraping the walls and doing all that sort of stuff. But now there is a team that’s building it.” That team consists of Brisbane-based architects and interior designers Twohill & James, and commercial construction crew LPS Group. Allonda is a looker. Turn down a short laneway and you’ll spy Allonda’s alfresco dining area, with the restaurant’s slick branding projected onto an adjacent wall. Upon entering, eyes will naturally gravitate upwards to take in the high-ceilinged space. Stairs lead to a mezzanine level equipped with a private dining room and self-contained bar, while the main dining floor is bracketed on one side by a lengthy marble bar (with one end dedicated to drinks dispensing and the other for the preparation of raw bites and burrata) and the open kitchen on another. The true magic of Allonda’s aesthetic is found in the materials – blonde timber furniture, brown leather banquettes, grey tiles, concrete floors and walls covered in textural acoustic-spray material adds texture to the space, giving what was once an empty shell a unique visual identity.
Allonda’s kitchen is helmed by Sam Todd (previously of Stanley and Qualia on Hamilton Island), who has worked with Seb, Kevin and NOTA’s head chef Matteo Pisanu to fashion a menu that is broadly European in scope, but shaped by choice Australian ingredients. The logical starting point are Allonda’s selection of snacks, which encompasses the likes of tempura market fish sandos, fried black pudding with brown-butter mayo, and potato terrine with cultured cream and smoked caviar. From the raw bar, stand-out dishes like Casa Motta burrata with olive tapenade and charred sourdough, pickled, confit and fresh tomatoes with stracciatella and salsa verde and kingfish crudo with yuzu make for great dishes to divvy up amongst friends. Four fresh pasta options include a risotto (naturally), rigatoni a la boscaiola with mushroom and truffle pecorino, casarecce with beef ragu, and sweetcorn ravioli with tomato butter, chilli and puffed corn. Finally, table-filling showstoppers like Margra lamb rump with smoked yoghurt, Western Australian scampi, short ribs with charred greens and harissa, and an 800-g black onyx rib eye on the bone are bona fide centrepieces. Yanika, who is fresh off nabbing Two Glasses in the Wine List of the Year Awards for her work curating NOTA’s vino offering, is looking to bring a similar discerning eye to Allonda’s list. Expect old- and new-world wines to feature, with a nice balance between approachable and left-field drops. “The point that Yanika always makes is that there are different varieties to that classic you always go to,” says Sebastiaan. “She digs a little deeper and finds banging wines from small suppliers that only produce a few cases a year. That’s something that she’s very adamant about and spends a lot of time doing – making sure that you’ve got a good list, but there’s some different stuff in there.” Beyond wine, Allonda’s bar will also be stocked with a selection of top-shelf tequilas and mezcal, with a clutch of cocktails – think plenty of sips served simply over ice – also available.
Allonda officially opens to the public on Tuesday October 4. Head to the Stumble Guide for bookings and contact details!
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