Pavement Whispers: Volume 263 March 10
From news of the arrival of two new Mexican concepts to a swish rooftop cocktail bar in Woolloongabba, The Weekend Edition is always on the search for the latest 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 …
Mama Taco and Restaurant Nina
There’s some exciting things happening at West End’s Rialto Theatre Arcade on Hardgrave Road this week. The team behind beloved restaurant Luigi’s Italian announced the venue’s closure last week to the dismay of many. Thankfully, the group quickly followed this bombshell with a soothing balm, revealing that the team would be opening a new concept down the road, while also passing on the Luigi’s space to a new operator. Joe Pesto, Luigi’s bar guru and former head chef of West End’s Lychee Lounge has taken over the Luigi’s tenancy, turning it into Restaurant Nina. The kitchen at Restaurant Nina will still be dishing up Italian cuisine, but Joe is refining the menu – adding more vegan options and pairing it with a list of exclusively Australian wines. Further down the road, the Luigi’s team will be opening Mama Taco next door to Trang Restaurant. Director Raffaele Persichetti, head chef Harry Antoniak, restaurant manager Shaniah Ugarte and bar expert Carlos Hurworth (formerly of Death & Taxes) will be operating the venture, described as an authentic and contemporary taqueria with a sharp mezcaleria-inspired drinks offering – all served in a fun and vibrant setting. Mama Taco will specialise in top-notch tacos, burritos and agave spirits, as well as a selection of Mexican beers and wine. Both venues will officially open to the public this Wednesday March 11. Keep your eyes on The Weekend Edition for an in-depth look very soon.
It’s a great time to be a fan of Mexican cuisine in Brisbane! The brains behind beloved plant-based taco pop-up El Planta revealed last week that they were planting roots, opening a bricks-and-mortar bar and eatery on South Brisbane’s Hope Street in mid-April. Rick Gibson and Adrienne Jory will be wrapping up their time at food incubator Wandering Cooks at the end of March, simultaneously transforming the former home of Ol’ School into a cosy and homey respite. Expect El Planta’s core range of meatless tacos, which includes the likes of pork, chicken, beef and fish (or rather, their meatless counterparts), as well as a selection of share-style mains, sides and desserts. Wandering Cooks’s wine curator Nick Turner will be assembling a selection of natural and vegan-friendly wines, and the bar will also pour Mexican beers, cocktails and a range of non-alcoholic beverages that have been made in house. Click here to get the scoop and stay tuned for a closer peek come April.
Elevate Rooftop Bar & Lounge
As Brisbane’s skyline starts to fill in, our demand for quality vantage points to take in the twinkling ambience grows. Good news for Woolloongabba locals – Elevate Bar & Lounge is currently taking shape 17 floors above terra firma at the top of the Linton Apartments, just a short stroll from The Gabba. The group behind the Queensland Cricketers Club has scored management rights to the venue and is looking to establish a sophisticated-yet-relaxed go-to haunt for those that enjoy panoramic views with their cocktail. The beverage list will include an array of mainstream and exotic beers, wines from leading vineyards and a curated selection of premium spirits. Elevate’s menu will be a seasonal affair, with grazing-style share plates offering tasty morsels including tequila-cured kingfish with jalapeno-margarita granata, a selection of bao buns and fried-chicken karaage with wasabi mayonnaise. Elevate Bar & Lounge is slated to open in April, and will offer light breakfast to guests at the forthcoming Linton Hotel (officially opening on Monday March 23).
Banjo’s Bakery Cafe
If you’re a fan of gourmet sausage rolls and flaky pies, this one is for you. Iconic Tasmanian bakery chain Banjo’s Bakery Cafe is set to make waves locally when it opens its first Brisbane-based full-service cafe, bakery and drive-thru in Darra on Wednesday March 25. Part of a four-store roll out, this newcomer will be the latest in Banjo’s nationwide portfolio, which boasts more than 40 franchises across Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Known for its array of pastries filled with inventive ingredient combos (think chicken parmigiana and double-cheeseburger pies), Banjo’s new Darra location will also stock breakfast and lunch options including sandwiches and pitas, as well as a collection of quick dinner options for time-poor families. All of Banjo’s menu options will be available via the drive-thru, so you never need to leave the comfort of your vehicle to make a purchase. To celebrate the store’s arrival, on opening day Banjo’s will be giving away up to 1000 of its signature sausage rolls with every purchase.
The riverside hub of Howard Smith Wharves has already cemented itself as a go-to nightlife precinct, but now there is a good excuse to visit in the morning. Last week Italian eatery Ciao Papi launched a breakfast service, completing its evolution into an all-day dining option. Ciao Papi head chef Giacomo Favotto has added a host of delectable Italian-inspired day starters to the restaurant’s menu, including a mortadella, smoked mozzarella and fried-egg roll with tomato relish, eggs benedictine with prosciutto di parma, baby spinach and toasted focaccia, and coconut-milk risotto with Brookfarm granola and seasonal fruit.
If you’ve heard something that’s worth mentioning in The Weekend Edition’s Pavement Whispers, email [email protected].
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