Pavement Whispers: Volume 370 August 9
From news of Fortitude Valley’s new Peruvian- and Japanese-inspired rooftop restaurant to the imminent opening of an anticipated trattoria in Coorparoo, The Weekend Edition is always on the search for the latest food news in Brisbane, dedicated to ensuring its readers are in the know. When we put our ears to the pavement this week, this is what we found out …
If you’ve cruised down St. Paul’s Terrace and peered skyward at the gleaming new Jubilee Place development and wondered what might be going on at the top of it, we’ve got some exciting news for you. The team behind recent hospitality hits Lina Rooftop and Evita Restaurant & Bar will open Soko Rooftop – a sophisticated 500-capacity sky-high dining destination perched at Jubilee Place’s crown – before the end of the year. Though the concept’s tagline is ‘Expect The Unexpected,’ we can confirm that Soko Brisbane will boast a bit of an Amazonian theme, with a mix of Peruvian and Japanese influences permeating the restaurant’s tailor-made tasting menu. The kitchen (helmed by a team of specialist chefs) will be turning out dishes like ceviche, traditional lomito al jugo (a Peruvian beef stir-fry), yakitori, sashimi and grade-nine wagyu served with yuzu kosho. Soko Brisbane’s bar will be something to behold, with a seven-metre-high back bar filled to tipping point with an assortment of spirits. A cocktail menu will boast more than 40 flavours of pisco sours (with some infusions boasting a tantalising mix of sake and yuzu), while a wine and sake list has been curated to be complementary to the flavours of Soko’s fare. Aesthetically, Soko Brisbane will have diners feeling like they’ve stepped into the leafy surrounds of the Amazon rainforest, with a full irrigated ceiling draped in live greenery and Peruvian artefacts filling every nook and cranny (Blackbox Retail Projects and Building in Green are assisting with the schematic design and fit-out). The atmosphere will be electric, courtesy of Latin music filling the air, dancers moving about the space and bongo players creating an up-tempo energy. Soko Brisbane’s launch date is expected to fall in early-November. Stay tuned for more details!
BATCH Cookie Bar
If you’ve been wandering around Brisbane’s markets looking for Ginger’s Kitchen’s mouth-watering cookies lately, you might not have had much success. There’s a good reason for this. Ginger’s Kitchen has evolved, rebranding into BATCH Cookie Bar – a refreshed brand identity that more accurately reflects Ginger Mendoza’s cookie-centric offering. An assortment of BATCH Cookie Bar kiosk-style dispensaries will soon appear across town, with each location designed to resemble a giant cookie box. You can spot one from now until end of August at Mount Ommaney shopping centre and then from September 1 until Christmas at Westfield Carindale. Ginger’s Kitchen’s existing Indooroopilly shop is relocating this month, reopening just across from Time Zone on level three, where it will remain for the foreseeable future. As for the market goers, you can catch BATCH at The City markets on Wednesdays, at the West End Markets and Jan Powers Powerhouse Markets in New Farm on Saturdays, and at the Milton Markets on Sundays.
Back in February, we shared the first word that celebrated European-Australian chef, Ashley-Maree Kent (previously head chef and owner-operator of Cross-Eyed Mary in Coolangatta), was bringing her talents to Brisbane, opening Ramona Trattoria on Leicester Street in Coorparoo this year. Well, we are stoked to confirm that the restaurant now has an opening date! Ramona Trattoria will officially open to the public on Sunday August 14, showing off its 48-seat locale and menu of hand-shaped pasta and hand-stretched pizza. As we inch ever-so-close to the opening date, we’re hearing more and more about Ramona Trattoria’s debut menu, which will be refreshed monthly to ensure the best reflection of seasonal availability. Expect the likes of papardelle doused in Tuscan wild boar ragu and pecorino Romano, hand-cut tagliatelle with ragu bolognese and parmigiano reggiano, and agnolotti del plin with chestnut and truffle in brodo. A tight wine list featuring natural and conventional Australian and international vino will be joined by a clutch of cocktails conceived by Tom Angel such as Ramona’s Martini (gin, yellow tomato, black pepper vermouth and basil oil) Rossini Spritz (chardonnay agrodolce, vodka and roasted strawberry) and the Averna Highball (Averna, grapefruit marmalade, and lemon soda). Keep your eyes peeled for an up-close look at Ramona Trattoria (and it’s drool-worthy offering) on The Weekend Edition soon!
The Walrus Club reopens
It’s been a few months between sips of high-end rum at The Walrus Club, but the speakeasy-inspired underground haven (located underneath The Regatta Hotel) is set to finally reopen to the public this Thursday August 11. The Walrus Club crew has been hard at work restoring the dapper den after flood damage forced the site to close earlier this year, but we can confirm that the months of patient waiting will pay off. In addition to retaining the venue’s Prohibition-era look and feel, the venue has been upgraded with a new stage and state-of-the-art sound system for an enhanced entertainment offering. This new gear will be put through its paces from August 11–14 for the Walrus Club Reopening Music Festival Weekend – a four-day celebration of live music, cocktails, food and cigars. Local jazz, blues, soul, alt-country and folk acts will grace The Walrus Club stage over the course of the festival and beyond, with The Walrus Club also introducing weekly jazz nights on Thursdays, funk and soul showcases on Fridays, and Saturday night Rattle ‘n’ Roll gigs. As always, The Walrus Club’s bar will be amply stocked with a broad range of rare spirits (with a sharp focus on specialty rum), shaping a creative cocktail menu featuring highlight sips like The Reverend 432 (Plantation Barbados 5yo, Stiggins pineapple rum, Supasawa citric acid, cinnamon syrup and orange bitters, and torched pineapple) and the Apple Crumble Blazer (Sailor Jerry ‘Savage Apple’ rum, Frangelico, Plantation O.F.T.D. rum, lemon juice, sugar and cream). Meanwhile, the kitchen will be dishing out a menu of eats including chicken shawarma, crispy fried cauliflower, haloumi fries and a selection of red- and white-base pizzas.
The Wickham gets a makeover
Historic Fortitude Valley institution The Wickham will be closing temporarily this week as the venue undergoes some substantial renovations. Australian Venue Co will be spending a tidy sum of $1.5 million to breathe new life into the beloved venue – which has been a beloved mainstay of the LGTBQIA+ party scene for decades – improving the venue’s design, fit-out and offering. Newline Design will be spearheading the refurbishment works, overhauling The Wickham’s ground floor bar, beer garden and second floor spaces, modernising the aesthetic and creating designated zones for socialising, casual dining, group gatherings, events and dancing. The Wickham’s kitchen team, helmed by executive chef Dylan Kemp, will spend the downtime overhauling the venue’s menu, resulting in a new offering that will feature woodfired pizzas, a refreshed selection of bar snacks and more late-night bites – including lots of items for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diners. The Wickham will be closed from Monday August 8 and is expected to reopen later this year.
Last week was a big one for restaurant announcements. The Brisbane foodie scene was abuzz with excitement about Tillerman, the forthcoming concept from Andrew and Jaimee Baturo (the owners of Naga Thai and Libertine) opening at Riparian Plaza later this month. Andrew and Jaimee have wasted little time in securing a new spot on Eagle Street, announcing the opening mere weeks after the closure of Naga Thai at Eagle Street Pier. Tillerman will be maxing the most of its riverside location, boasting a loosely nautical-inspired aesthetic featuring spotted gum, sand-coloured leather and botanical prints, creating a resort-like look and feel that matches beautifully with the river and Story Bridge views. Seafood will be a major culinary focus at Tillerman, with head chef Suwisa Phoonsang balancing worldly inspirations with a cooking approach couched in simplicity and respect. Expect the likes of bacalao croquetas, hand-picked Queensland mud crab with crab butter and chives, and salt-baked Murray cod alongside non-seafood options such as Heritage wagyu flank, chicken roulade with mushroom duxelles and seasonal vegetable tarte tatin. Gizem ‘Gee’ Temizkan will oversee Tillerman’s beverage portfolio, showcasing international and domestic wines (some of which dispensed via Coravin), champagne by the glass and a selection of rum-based daiquiris. Tillerman will officially open to the public in late August – read more about the news here and keep your eyes peeled for our opening feature!
Newstead’s cadre of restaurants is set to grow by one more when Allonda – the sibling venue of Paddington’s NOTA Restaurant & Wine Bar – opens in early-October. The NOTA crew, Sebastiaan de Kort, Kevin Docherty and Yanika Sittisuntorn, have been planning the new concept for the better part of a year, linking up with boutique property developer Dibcorp to open Allonda at the base of Dwell on Longland Street. Allonda’s kitchen – helmed by Sam Todd (whose resume boasts postings at Stanley and Qualia on Hamilton Island) – will work with Seb, Kevin and NOTA’s head chef Matteo Pisanu to craft an offering of European-inspired small plates dispensed from the raw bar, plus and assortment of pastas and large-format mains. Yanika oversee the beverage offering, which is expected to feature an approachable selection of old- and new-world wines. Brisbane-based architects and interior designers Twohill & James and commercial construction crew LPS Group are assisting with the fit-out, with a striking minimal aesthetic applied across Allonda’s two-level layout, which encompasses an alfresco laneway space, a main dining floor (bracketed on one side by a raw and burrata bar, and an open kitchen on the other), and a private dining room and self-contained bar on the mezzanine level. Click here to get up to date on the details so far.
GPO Hotel scores a makeover
A Gold Coast-based hospitality group is looking to make a splash on Brisbane’s nightlife scene. Artesian Hospitality, the crew behind Surfers Paradise venues Cali Beach Club, White Rhino Bar & Eats and Surfers Pavilion, has taken over the lease of the GPO Hotel in Fortitude Valley with plans to transform it via a $7-million makeover. The acquisition of the General Post Office building (which was built in 1887) is just one aspect of the group’s announced growth plan across 2022 and 2023, which will also include fresh additions to the site of Cali Beach Club in Surfers Paradise. Though details on the GPO Hotel’s renovation are still being kept a secret, you can rest assured we’ll have details for you as they emerge.
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