Botanical Bar & Kitchen brings a crisp approach to James Street dining
It’s been a big two years for the team at James Street’s QA Hotel as it undergoes a complete makeover. Reestablishing itself as a foodie powerhouse, the popular pub now boasts a few new additions. Following on from the opening of Farrier and the sprucing of the QA’s heritage elements, the sophisticated Botanical Bar & Kitchen has now arrived – sandwiched between the QA Hotel proper and the newly opened Sage Hotel.
When it comes to iconic inner-city pubs, the QA Hotel on the corner of James and Arthur Streets has to be up there in popularity. The storied establishment has been keeping Fortitude Valley locals fed and watered for as long as they can remember, but all agree a change was due. Publican Chris Condon pulled the trigger on extensive changes in early 2015, adding late-night supper bar Farrier to the premises as well as updating the hotel’s front bar and heritage elements. The latest stage of the QA’s evolution coincides with the completion of Sage Hotel next door, which has resulted in Botanical Bar & Kitchen – a brightly lit and airy eatery that is adding a bit of substance and sophistication to the QA Hotel’s stretch of real estate. In addition to the striking newcomer, an upgraded eating space has been added to the QA’s bistro dining area, creating a laneway between the pub atmosphere and the polished aesthetic of Botanical Bar & Kitchen.
Chris Condon and executive chef David Lindsey have collaborated on a menu of communal eats that follow a lighter and cleaner flavour profile. David has crafted a collection of meals that move away from meat-based dishes and more towards a crisp selection of herbs, lentils and legumes. Don’t panic – protein is still very much on the menu, but it is complemented with a range of plant-based dishes that are an equal focus. Lighter dishes include game farm quail and smoked burrata, which is followed by smaller plates of duck fat potato scallops and roast kumara wedges. Larger plates are great for sharing – snack on wild house-cured matcha smoked salmon, Barrowdale pork with caramelised apple and Flinders Range organic lamb belly. The final category is a range of clean dishes, where you’ll find fresh options such as golden beets, organic red quinoa, charred heirloom carrots and corn-fed chicken. The bar specialises in champagne and small-batch gins (including local legends Humpybong Distilling Company), with a range of tap beers and wines to complement.
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