South Brisbane’s Gauge gets creative with a new culinary shake-up
Since opening in 2015, South Brisbane restaurant Gauge has sat at the pinnacle of Brisbane’s culinary field, constantly nudging the boundaries of gastronomy while maintaining a broad appeal. The esteemed eatery has used recent turbulent times to enact some long-desired changes, emerging from 2020’s tumultuous first half with a new sommelier, a new set menu and a new selection of snacks.
When dining restrictions were imposed on Brisbane’s dining scene, its impacts were felt across the city’s culinary spectrum. Both top-tier fine diners and cheerful neighbourhood chow-houses alike were forced to respond to the demands of the time, but now that things are inching towards a sense of normalcy, these venues are using the occasion for a fresh start. Gauge is emerging from the COVID chrysalis with some changes to its dining style, pivoting to a set-menu offering that is bolstered by a tight selection of snacks for walk-in patrons seeking a pre- or post-show bite and drink. Gauge’s owner Jerome Batten and head chef Phil Marchant debuted the new approach in July, leaning in to an operational approach that foregrounds creativity and flexibility. Gauge’s dinner and Saturday lunch menus are perfect for those that like to while away a couple of hours in the company of some great food, with a procession of dishes showcasing left-field techniques and of-the-moment ingredients. The kitchen team is digging into its bag of tricks in order to respond to hyper-seasonal changes and keep things exciting, so expect a whole new menu to gradually emerge every six weeks. For now, diners can savour the likes of Grimaud duck breast with Falls Farm red acre cabbage, and Rocky Point cobia with carrot, ‘nduja, buckwheat and finger lime at dinner, and confit duck leg glazed with mandarin koshu, cuttlefish with zucchini and basil, and fermented chickpea beignets with green garlic at lunch.
On the flip side, Gauge’s new snack menu is best suited to diners that have places to be (a show at QPAC, perhaps?) or are simply on the hunt for a light nibble. The small-plate menu features some slight crossover with the set menu (pork-and-miso croquettes, zucchini flowers with salt-fish cream and bay leaf, Rotness Island scallop crudo), but also boasts some exclusive eats – think sourdough flatbread with koji butter, baby zucchini and lardo, Appellation oysters with rosella mignonette, pork belly cured in kelp, Section 28 Mont Priscilla with quince, chamomile and sourdough crackers, and long-time fan favourite black garlic bread with brown butter and burnt vanilla. Also coming onboard to help the Gauge team navigate the post-COVID landscape is new sommelier and manager Mark Whitaker, who joins with prior experience working at GOMA Restaurant, The Wolfe and Carl’s. Mark has curated a list of first-rate sips, including classic French chardonnays, gluggable German rieslings, feisty fianos from Italy, chilled syrah from South Australia and a juicy furmint from Hungary. Much like the fare, the wine list is unlikely to remain static – so popping in regularly is advised (you wouldn’t want to miss out on a good drop, right?). Gauge is open for dinner four nights a week and lunch on Saturdays – bookings can be made via the website, while other details can be found in the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.