The round-up: the most anticipated openings in Brisbane this year
Despite the year getting off to a rocky start, 2022 still holds a lot of promise. Just take a look at our dining scene, which grew by leaps and bounds in 2021 and looks set to continue the trend well into the new year. The next 12 months could prove to be equally fruitful, with the arrival of a high-end sushi restaurant, a history-rich distillery and the opening of a Queensland flagship for one of Melbourne’s most celebrated bakers. Here is a list of the most anticipated openings slated to take Brisbane by storm in 2022 …
Simon Gloftis might be one of the busiest restaurateurs in Brisbane. In addition to overseeing two highly regarded eateries in Hellenika and SK Steak & Oyster, Simon and his business partners Theo Kampolis and Kelvin Andrews are hard at work establishing two new restaurants on James Street – both of which are shaping up to be the among the biggest of our most anticipated openings list. Perhaps the more ambitious of the two concepts is Sushi Room, a high-end Japanese restaurant taking shape in a custom-built space at The Calile Hotel. As the name suggests, Sushi Room will be dedicated to the intricate art of sushi and sashimi preparation, with ex-Kiyomi sous chef Shimpei Raikuni coming on board as head sushi chef to oversee the execution of the restaurant’s sushi and sashimi-focused menu. In addition to the a la carte sushi and sashimi – as well as other dishes such as Japanese-style wagyu steak, fish and tempura – Sushi Room will also offer an 18-course two-hour omakase service where diners will be guided through a divine gastronomic experience featuring the best hand-selected produce available. The Richards & Spence-designed restaurant will feature a pared-back aesthetic applied across the 80-seat space, boasting a mezzanine level above the main dining floor and sushi bar, which itself is being crafted from fine hinoki wood. Sushi Room is slated to open at the end of March, following quickly on from the opening of Simon’s other anticipated concept Sunshine …
Simon’s Mediterranean-inspired and all-vegetarian concept Sunshine will look to brighten James Street up a little when it is officially unveiled by the end of February. Unlike its siblings over in The Calile Hotel, Sunshine will offer a laid-back street-side atmosphere courtesy of its location across the road where Chow House used to be. A refurbishment process is overhauling the interior of the site, which will house a kitchen, service counter and condiment table, while Sunshine’s 80-patron dining space will be entirely outdoor (think Mykonos-inspired tones and coastal day-club vibes). Sunshine’s fare will draw influence from the nourishing food Simon grew up with – we’ve been told to expect the likes of stuffed tomatoes, beans and salads available via efficient point-and-plate counter service. As for beverages, guests can sip juices, fresh lemonade iced tea, cocktails and organic biodynamic wines from Sunshine’s drinks list.
Butler Wine Bar
The team at Lune Croissanterie has made its name crafting exceptional baked goods, solidifying its position at the top of the pastry pyramid. Pretty soon, though, the team will swap cruffins for carafes, opening 15-seater nightspot Butler Wine Bar right next to its popular South Brisbane dispensary. Kate and Cameron Reid and Melbourne restaurateur Nathan Toleman announced the surprising pivot late last year, revealing a desire to explore the hospitable nature of bar-style service with an offering that champions proximity, seasonality and sustainability. The cosy vino-centric bar will channel a close-t0-home ethos across its wine list, showcasing an assortment of Queensland and Australian producers alongside a tight cocktail list encompassing tall and juicy concoctions that reflect Brisbane’s balmy climate. Butler’s nosh offering will include cheeses, snacks, small plates and larger-format dishes with pickling and fermentation methods employed to get the full life out of every item. Butler Wine Bar is aiming for a late-January opening.
We don’t need to wait long for this newcomer to launch. Clarence, a 35-seat modern-Australian eatery nestled in Woolloongabba, is officially opening to the public on Thursday January 27. Helmed by chef Ben McShane and front-of-house wizard Franklin Heaney (both formerly of Gold Coast restaurant Nineteen at The Star), Clarence is taking over the old Vespa Pizza space on Stanley Street, transforming it into an intimate nosh spot inspired by the neo-bistros of Europe and America. Though the menu will feature a discernible modern-Australian lean, Ben is looking to weave in traces of European and Japanese cooking across the menu, which will feature the likes of pig-head terrine with peas, grapefruit and ginger, asparagus with clams, bourride and espelette pepper, giant grouper with leek and black olive oil, wild-shot venison with black garlic bread sauce, and apricot and botrytis mille feuille. The drinks list will be concise, boasting a tight range of beverages including three sparkling wines, six whites and six reds (all interesting local labels), as well as a clutch of Australian spirits. Bookings for Clarence are live – you can make one here.
The team behind 2021 standout – Fortitude Valley’s Evita – is going to great heights for its next exciting collaborative venture, ascending several floors above ground to create rooftop bar and restaurant Catalina in South Brisbane. The brainchild of Icatha Hospitality’s Ross Ledingham and Salt Meat Cheese Group’s Stefano De Blasi will sit atop the only non-residential and hotel tower in Australia equipped with an infinity rooftop pool, and will look to channel Mediterranean beach club vibes across its 1500-sqm sky-high footprint. The 30-m pool infinity pool will come complete with cabanas and daybeds, affording incredible views across the Brisbane River to the city skyline. Catalina’s restaurant will boast a mix of indoor and outdoor seating (including curved sky-blue booths and hanging greenery) for breezy bacchanalian banqueting, while a sunken rosé lounge will no doubt prove ideal for sunset sips dispensed from the venue’s bar. Catalina Rooftop is on track to open in late-February – we cannot wait to check it out!
Coffee Anthology has long been a beloved supplier of specialty coffee. It was one of the first cafes to make coffee a focus, with its multi-roaster showcase helping educate sippers of the width and breadth of Australia’s burgeoning caffeine scene. Coffee Anthology closed its Margaret Street cafe last October in anticipation for a move that will see it join three other separate venues as part of an epicurean hub. Inter/Section is the brainchild of Coffee Anthology’s owner Adam Wang and is a soon-to-open 700-sqm laneway precinct currently in the works at the base of the Midtown Centre, which bridges Mary and Charlotte Streets. Coffee Anthology 2.0 already occupies the space closest to the Charlotte Street entry, with seating for 120 guests running the length of Inter/Section past two central retail spaces – one which will house a retail kiosk from Mount Gravatt patisserie The Whisk, while the other will be home to a to-be-announced kitchen space. Another coffee bar at Inter/Section’s Mary Street end will be used for pop-up appearances by a rotating roaster, which will showcase an assortment of blends and single origins to the coffee curious. Stay tuned for more on Inter/Section in the next month or two.
We love gin, but we love locally made gin the most. Brisbane’s newest distillery is drawing upon some of Australia’s earliest distilling history for its identity and approach – and its headquarters (nestled in the heart of a stunning revitalised precinct) used to be a hub of distilling, too. Bavay Distillery will officially open soon at Rivermakers Estate in Morningside, joining fellow residents Low and Slow Meat Co. and Revel Rivermakers Restaurant as anchor tenants of the hub’s heritage quarter. The distillery is named after Auguste de Bavay – a Belgium-born brewer, industrial chemist, bacteriologist and metallurgist hailed as one of the founding fathers of Australian brewing and spirits production. The team behind Bavay Distillery is looking to honour and pay homage to the traditional craft of spirit making, using its 500-litre copper-pot still to concoct small batches of gin, vodka, rum and whisky flavoured and shaped via the use of old and exotic methods of bygone generations. Bavay’s own bar will boast a swish Great Gatsby-inspired aesthetic and will offer a menu of cocktails (including tiered gin cocktail trees for groups) and a range of light, tapas-style bites. Bavay Distillery will be opening soon – gin lovers are advised to come thirsty.
South City Square
It’s going to be a good year for Woolloongabba locals, doubly so if you happen to live in one of the apartment buildings at South City Square. Late last year, the precinct welcomed alluring Italian-inspired eatery Sasso Italiano, which made a splash with its vivid retro aesthetic and vibrant atmosphere. This year the brains behind the operation, Vincent Lombino and Jared Thibault of FnB Collective, will be opening a string of new concepts at the Logan Road living and lifestyle hub, each imbued with the same sense of ambition and verve as Sasso. The next venue to launch will be Vincent and Jared’s take on a classic European wine bar, South City Wine, which is slated to open in February. Following this, the team will open a big-format brewpub, which will be equipped with six bright tanks filled to the brim with beers concocted by brewing partner Aether Brewing. Following this will be Casa Chino – a 100-seat bar-centric concept drawing inspiration from Peruvian and Chinese cuisines – and a Mad Men-inspired steakhouse boasting a speakeasy vibe applied to a restaurant setting. Like we said, it’s going to be a good year for Woolloongabba. Rest assured we’ll be checking out each and every opening as they launch.
Baker D. Chirico
Last year was a banner year for Brisbane’s baked-goods scene. While you’d think it’d be hard to top the pastry-loaded goodness of 2021, 2022 is shaping up to be a contender for the crown. Back in 2020 we revealed that heralded Melbourne-born bakery concept Baker D. Chirico would be expanding to Queensland, opening a Brisbane location in Newstead at the base of Cavcorp’s Long Island development on Longland Street. Border closures and a little old thing called COVID have delayed the bakery’s anticipated arrival, but things are looking good for 2022. Carb connoisseurs can expect Baker D. Chirico’s exceptional loaves and pastries, which are made using traditional techniques, natural fermentations and biodynamic stone-milled wholegrain flour. In addition to this, there’s talk of a bakery-style breakfast menu wrought from produce sourced from local dairy, small goods and fruit and vegetable suppliers. While no official launch date has been confirmed for Baker D. Chirico, we’ll be first in line to check it out when it opens!
A new Italian eatery from the Beccofino and Julius team
Newstead’s Long Island development is shaping up to be one to watch for 2022 – joining Baker D. Chirico will be a new venue from the team behind Beccofino, Julius and Bar Brutus. The yet-to-be-named restaurant is the latest venture from Cordell Khoury and Paolo Biscaro, who are once again teaming up with head chef Anthony Nicastro for what promises to be an entirely new concept for the team. This venue will not be a pizzeria, but rather a 120–140-seater casual Italian restaurant with a woodfired oven. Expect to find piles of handmade pasta and a focus on grilled mains alongside a couple of pizzas, woodfired breads and other Italian delights. The restaurant is due to open mid-year – we will keep you posted with updates.
There will no doubt be an abundance of as-yet-unannounced openings that will blow our socks off throughout this year and we can’t wait. There are some rumoured arrivals that we’re keeping tabs on, including the opening of Newstead eatery and market Evra, the next wave of concepts to take up residence at Albion’s Craft’d Grounds and Crow’s Nest bistro Myrtille. Other noteworthy nosheries we are hyped for include Stratton Bar & Kitchen in Newstead from the Mrs Brown’s team, Hawthorne’s Cartel Del Taco, the Brisbane flagship of Malaysian-inspired eatery Mamak, Antica Pizzeria in Wilston, Scarborough Harbour Brewing Co. in Redcliffe and the forthcoming sourdough-centric bakery from the NYC Bagel Deli and Superthing crew.
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