Devour breakfast doughnuts and sand-crab benedicts at Toowong’s Hooch & Co
The brains behind beloved Toowong Italian restaurant Barolos have been busy to start 2020, taking over the space once home to Covet Bar & Restaurant and transforming it into brand-new eatery and bar Hooch & Co. The 60-seater is quietly earning some buzz thanks to its canny infusion of Asian flavours across brunch and lunch bites, not to mention its grounded and warm neighbourhood appeal.
If it’s been a while since you’ve visited Toowong’s Sherwood Street strip, you’ll find the area’s quietly become an unheralded dining goldmine. Beyond long-running staples such as coffee nook Josie North, noodle-soup dispensary Genkotsu Ramen, and landmark pub The Royal Exchange Hotel, the area has also scored some well-received newcomers including Kaldi Cafe + Bar on High Street and Maria Caribbean Kitchen on Jephson Street. The freshest face on the scene is Hooch & Co, the younger sibling of Barolos (a Toowong fixture since 1995), which pivots away from Italian in favour of an Asian-inspired take on daytime fare. Spearheaded by co-owners Giustino Antonio, Carrie Puchi and chef Jeremy Webster, Hooch & Co looks to further enhance Toowong’s dining offering, activating an under-utilised restaurant space at the base of the Jephson Hotel. A substantial renovation period saw carpet removed, large bifold windows added and new marble-topped furnishings installed, transforming the once overly dark interior into a light-filled and airy spot for breakfast, lunch or post-work drinks and nibbles. There are still a few more aesthetic touches to come – murals will be added to several of the interior walls, and a deck will soon wrap around the exterior once it receives council approval.
Hooch & Co’s all-day menu features a mix of familiar staples, out-of-the-box options and dishes that draw inspiration from Japanese, Malaysian, Korean and Vietnamese cuisines. Morning options include the breakfast mee goreng (fried noodles, sambal and kecap manis sauce, smoked bacon, shallots, fried egg, puffed pork skin), Japanese okonomiyaki (cabbage pancake with bacon, togarashi fried egg, kewpie, okonomi sauce), sand-crab bagel benedict (sand crab, chive, poached eggs, gochujang hollandaise) and the indulgent breakfast doughnuts – that’s a bunch of cinnamon doughnuts topped with candied bacon and pecans, maple-pecan ice-cream and strawberry boba (drool). Lunch offers up some similarly inventive fare, including the koji fried rice (koji-aged wagyu rib fillet, omelette, garlic, shrimp, roasted sesame dressing), carbonara tteokbokki (fried rice-cake ‘gnocchi’ with bacon, soft-boiled egg, and sweet-and-spicy bocconcini-cream sauce) and sticky roast pork belly and lime-compressed watermelon salad. Coffee comes from The Reformatory Caffeine Lab in Sydney, while other drinks include cold-pressed juices and loaded milkshakes. From Thursday to Sunday, Hooch & Co opens its bar until late, pouring mainstream and craft beers, a selection of more than 35 wines, and classic cocktails. The kitchen also serves up a small spread of snacks to boot – think arancini, jerky boards and cheese platters.
Hooch & Co is officially open to the public. If you’d like more info, click on over to the Stumble Guide.
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