Now open – OTTO Brisbane unveils its new ristorante and osteria in South Bank
It’s not often that a restaurant that already boasts impressive river views gets a chance to upgrade to a better location, but when such an opportunity knocks, it’s wise to answer. Celebrated inner-city restaurant OTTO Brisbane has made a move from its perch at 480 Queen to South Bank, inheriting the architecturally striking riverfront site formerly home to Stokehouse Q. OTTO Brisbane opens the doors to its new 700-sqm restaurant today, Wednesday February 3, meshing its hatted menu of Italian fare with the sights and sounds of its breezy location on the banks of the Brisbane River.
After a stressful year that saw the local dining scene shaken up and unsettled, relocating an established restaurant might strike some as a risky gambit. That is, however, unless the spot you’re moving to is one of the most highly prized sites along the Brisbane River. In a year full of surprises, the August announcement of Stokehouse Q’s closure and OTTO Brisbane’s subsequent acquisition of the site came as a curveball to many, but for OTTO’s owners the Fink Group, making the jump to South Bank was a carefully calculated decision. The Arkhefield-designed structure at the Sidon Street-end of the River Quay precinct is a sculptural marvel inside and out, and its location on the cusp of the gently lapping water mirrors the waterfront majesty of OTTO Sydney, which occupies a prime position on Woolloomooloo’s Finger Wharf. What’s more, the larger footprint allows the team to expand its operational scope beyond what its previous location permitted. Once OTTO Brisbane wrapped up service at the 480 Queen building (where it had operated since mid-2016), the crew quickly set about transferring the concept’s spirit and style across the river or, rather, OTTO-fy the new space. Keeping the site’s structural elements as is, the team has injected touches of OTTO’s aesthetic throughout the space in the form of its signature spinning lamps, colourful interior and outdoor furniture, and vivid blue-and-yellow branding. The resulting effort can be seen from today, Wednesday February 3, as OTTO Brisbane’s three distinct arms – OTTO Ristorante, OTTO Osteria and OTTO Events – officially come into operation.
OTTO Brisbane’s head chef Will Cowper continues to lead the restaurant’s culinary team alongside general manager Alan Hunter, with OTTO’s staff now doubled in size to match the larger layout. Much like OTTO’s hands-off approach to tinkering with the new surrounds, Will and his kitchen crew are largely focused on maintaining a sense of familiarity across the ristorante’s menu, with the majority of OTTO’s all-star options (the dishes chiefly responsible for elevating OTTO into Brisbane’s critically acclaimed strata) now available at South Bank. Chief among them is the signature champagne-lobster spaghettini (a tight mound of pasta lovingly coated in white wine, lemon butter and bottarga), which shares menu space with the likes of Rangers Valley beef carpaccio with truffle dressing, butterflied spatchcock with crispy pancetta and Hervey Bay scallops with pumpkin and black pudding. It’s over at OTTO Osteria (which occupies the section formerly dedicated to STOKEBAR Q) where guests will find some new elements. This concept – an evolved take on Bar OTTO’s more casual offering – takes cues from the aperitivo bars of Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia-Romangna, where unstructured freedom is a strong undercurrent to every meal. A selection of moreish antipasti (house-made mini focaccias, chargrilled tiger prawns, fried artichokes and baccala-and-potato croquettes) segues into pastas (spaghetti cacio e pepe), salads (burrata panzanella salad) and larger plates (chargrilled local bay squid), with a beverage list spotlighting vintners from northern Italy and refreshing cocktails. Speaking of drinks, OTTO’s formidable wine list – complete with a stellar selection of Italian varieties – has also made the trip across to South Bank. OTTO’s events will be hosted across three spaces (dubbed Sopra, Piazza, and Centrale, respectively), each able to accomodate different styles of semi-private and exclusive functions.
OTTO Brisbane is now open. For booking and menu details, check out the restaurant’s entry in the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.