The recap: the best new Brisbane restaurants, bars and cafes this month

The recap: the best new Brisbane restaurants, bars and cafes this month

In terms of hospitality openings, March was a mixed bag in the best way. If variety is the spice of life, then we reckon March was an exceptionally spicy month. It had everything – Mexican-inspired rooftop bars, multi-level British-style gastropubs, cosy cafes in the suburbs and even a Chinese-inspired restaurant hidden inside of a pulsing nightclub. March is going to be a tough month to top – here’s what we loved …

Mexicali, Bulimba: Mexicali has been one of the biggest names in Mexican cuisine on the Gold Coast for a decade, so it’s safe to say our anticipation for the concept’s long-awaited Brisbane expansion was high. The team didn’t disappoint – Mexicali opened at the beginning of the month in a rooftop space on Oxford Street, which the crew has bedecked with stone and tile, hand-painted murals and a playful blue-and-white colour scheme. If you’ve travelled to Mexicali’s Nobby Beach home, you’ll recognise many of the bar and eatery’s menu items. Crispy fried fish-filled pescadillas, Moreton Bay bug tacos, pineapple-cut chilli-salt squid, slow-cooked Cape Grim pulled-beef tacos – it’s all here. So too is the killer bar offering, headlined by a solid range of 100-percent blue-agave tequila and loads of mezcal, which filters into a range of eight signature margaritas. Primed and ready for sun-dappled afternoon sessions and tequila-fuelled evenings, Mexicali has arrived at just the right time.

The Rose & Crown, South Brisbane: Alexander Derrick knows pubs. He spent two decades building pub empires across London, the south of England and Wales, so if there was anyone we’d trust to open a British-style gastropub in the heart of Brisbane, it’s him. The Rose & Crown opened to the public in the character-filled Collins Place building (previously home to Little Big House), perched above Grey Street in the Southpoint precinct. Alex has maximised the two-storey heritage-listed Queenslander’s old-school charm and, alongside his wife Bella, has transformed it into a locale that feels comfortable to Brits and Brisbaneites alike. Drawing upon his considerable wealth of experience, Alex has curated an offering that closely mirrors that of a cosy British pub – traditional cask beer is available alongside creamy Guinness on tap, as well as a range of European wines and classic cocktails. The kitchen is also pumping out plates of quintessential gastropub fare, with head chef Kevin Honeywood overseeing a menu that includes pork scratchings, Scotch eggs with mustard mayo, beer-battered snapper with mushy peas, dry-aged Brooklyn Valley hangar steak with cafe de Paris butter, and Cumberland sausages with leeks, mash and onion gravy. You can’t have a British-inspired pub without a classic roast lunch on the menu. Thankfully, The Rose & Crown hasn’t overlooked this crucial detail – its Sunday roast (complete with beef, chicken or vegetarian nut roast with big Yorkshire puddings, roast veggies and lots and lots of gravy) is already drawing in the crowds.

Dilly Dally, Toowong: Because we’re always on the move, a good portion of our coffee orders are made to go. But the times when we can take our time and kick back with a cuppa always makes the coffee experience more enjoyable. That’s what Dilly Dally is all about – giving Toowong locals a space to take their brunch experience a bit more slowly. Owner Tai Tran has converted the old Bean on Dean site into a crisp, yet homely space for coffee and chow. Offering The Black Lab/Dibs Coffee as its house blend alongside a rotating roster of roasters via pour-over brew, coffee purists are well taken care of. A small-yet-satisfying menu covers the essentials, including avocado on toast, bacon, egg and cheese breakfast muffins, and eggs on toast, alongside two kinds of toasted sandwich – a classic ham-and-cheese number, and a garlic grilled cheese with mozzarella, cheddar and garlic butter. It’s enough to make you want to linger longer. Good thing that’s exactly what Dilly Dally was built for.

ChauChow, Fortitude Valley: Is one of Brisbane’s best spots for Asian-inspired fare located inside a Fortitude Valley nightclub? Those that have dined at ChauChow, a chic eatery tucked away inside Zyon (a new-wave nightclub on Duncan Street) will tell you yes, absolutely. It’s not too hard to fathom. At the helm of the concept is Ben Chow, an ultra-talented chef whose resume includes Gerard’s BistroAgnes Restaurant and Cordeaux Social Club. Teaming up with Zyon’s owner, nightlife events maestro Jacky Chau, Ben has transformed a dining area inside the nightclub into a pop-up restaurant serving an elevated take on Chinese takeaway classics. With a menu featuring the likes of tiger prawn toast with whipped tofu and salmon roe, crispy chicken wings coated in supreme sambal butter, sweet-and-sour barbecue lamb ribs, and scallops with barbecued leek, miso almond cream and XO, it’s hard to argue against ChauChow’s chops.

Fieldy’s Coffee, FairfieldHawthorne Coffee was one of the most well-received cafe openings on 2023. So, imagine our delight when we heard that the crew behind the Riding Road caffeinery was expanding. Fieldy’s Coffee is Hawthorne Coffee’s forest-green-hued sibling – a charming nosh spot perched on Fairfield Road in Fairfield. Boasting a breezy 30-seat deck and a cosy coffee dispensary space, what Fieldy’s lacks in size it more than make up for with its offering. Here, cups of ST. ALi’s Wide Awake blend is available alongside a five-strong selection of gourmet sourdough toasties (a number of which are hugely popular holdovers from Hawthorne Coffee’s menu), avocado toast, bacon-and-egg muffins, acai bowls and granola bowls. Much like its pastel-pink sibling, we expect Fieldy’s Coffee to become an extremely popular haunt for locals.

Many more restaurants, cafes and bars opened this month. You can have a browse through the latest foodie happenings by clicking here.

The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.


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