Pavement Whispers: Volume 299 March 16
From news of a clandestine 1920s Shanghai-style cocktail bar to a brand-new Italian fine diner for Fortitude Valley, 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 …
Rosmarino Ristorante & Wine Bar
Those of you who regularly cross the Story Bridge into Fortitude Valley will have noticed some restoration works underway on the Stewart & Hemmant Merchants building – the one that’s perched on the corner of McLachlan and Marshall Streets. Northshore Group is currently in the process of reinvigorating the building, transforming the old clothing manufacturers into a boutique hospitality, retail and office hub. The first tenant opening within is Rosmarino Ristorante & Wine Bar, a casual fine-dining restaurant operated by a team of hospitality veterans boasting a stellar collective resume. Lauren Smith and Andrea Gatti, the dynamic duo behind the concept, are striking out on their own after accomplished stints at James Street landmark Hellenika, where they worked in recruiting and training and as head sommelier, respectively. The couple is taking on the character-filled space with the aim of creating a laid-back but attentive dining experience with Italian cuisine at its core. Dario Manca (ex-Pilu at Freshwater and ZA ZA TA) has come on board as head chef, drawing upon his own Italian heritage and culinary obsessions to create a punchy and fun menu that harmonises authentic flavours and modern twists. Dario is bringing his fixation with bread making (his Instagram is full of carby experimentation) to the kitchen, so expect freshly sliced salumi and cheeses paired with daily baked sourdoughs and focaccia. While the menu is still in its conceptual phase, Dario has confirmed that fresh pasta will be a fixture, with culurgiones (Sardinian-style filled ravioli) a specialty. Andrea, who has also plied his trade across Michelin-starred restaurants abroad, is relishing the chance to craft a wine list from scratch. Upon launch the team is expecting to have a 200-strong selection at its disposal (with intentions to grow it to roughly 800 options) favouring biodynamic drops, worldly varieties and a solid array of Andrea’s drop of choice, champagne. Life House Interiors will be taking the lead on Rosmarino’s interior look, leaning into the venue’s existing natural feel with a palette of materials that complements the heritage elements. Rosmarino is targeting a June 2021 opening – we’ll have more details as they arise.
Cindy Chow’s Theatre & Cocktail Bar
In the roaring 1920s, Shanghai was considered the Paris of the East, the New York of the West. The city was thriving economically, culturally and architecturally on the surface … but if you were to delve into the secret rooms, back alleys and underground parlours beneath, you’d uncover a heaving nightlife of lively libations and bewitching burlesque. One hundred years later, in the roaring 2020s, this underground culture is about to be revived (right down to the speakeasy secrecy) – here, in the heart of The Valley. An undisclosed location on Brunswick Street will soon become home to Cindy Chow’s Theatre & Cocktail Bar, thanks to seasoned nightlife aficionados Patrick Donohue and Justin Kong (Ling Ling’s). Cindy Chow’s will fully embrace the clandestine culture of underground 1920s Shanghai, from the fit-out (think leather high chairs, jade-green tiles, an antique Chinese Lazy Susan table and a Chinese medicine cabinet-style back bar) through to its ten signature covert cocktails – one will be served as a book that, once opened, will reveal a concealed hip flask containing the cocktail – and selection of Asian-inspired bites. Where’s the theatre, you ask? On weekends, Cindy Chow’s will play host to burlesque dancers, to truly capture that ‘Paris of the East’ vibe. Cindy Chow’s Theatre & Cocktail Bar is due to open in May this year – we’ll have full details then!
The vibrant nightlife of Tel Aviv is soon to be replicated in Fortitude Valley beneath the Ovolo hotel, when Kazba opens its doors this Friday March 19. The dimly lit cocktail bar promises to be a place to “escape the ordinary and experience the exotic”, with Middle Eastern-inspired flavours and a buzzing atmosphere. Kazba comes from the team behind lauded vegetarian restaurant ZA ZA TA, a collaboration of food and beverage director Jared Thibault, music curator Andrew Lewis, renowned Israeli executive chef Roy Ner and award-winning interior designer Luchetti Krelle. It is set to be a true feast for the senses, with each of Kazba’s cocktails featuring a touch of theatrics – there’s an entire ‘Up in Smoke’ section on the menu – and served in alluring bazaar and market-sourced vessels. The flavours and aromas of the Middle East are imbued in every sip and snack – think cocktails featuring the likes of house-made Middle Eastern cordials and amaro, and bar food such as fried sesame falafels with tahini and chilli haloumi savoury doughnuts with pomegranate and chilli jam. Even the curated music collection (played by vinyl DJs) will feature strong Arabic rhythms fused with funk, soul, Afrobeat and disco tracks. This is just a taste of what to expect at Kazba – we’ll have the full details for you later this week.
Newstead Brewing Co. Brisbane Airport
Any conversation about Brisbane’s craft-beer brewing scene has to include mention of Newstead Brewing Co. As one of Brisbane’s independent brewing community’s first-wave operators, Newstead has become firmly ingrained in the city’s small-batch beer culture since opening its first brewpub on Doggett Street in 2013 (which was followed by its Milton expansion in 2017). The brewery is set to put its best foot forward later this year when it opens a brand-new taphouse at Brisbane Airport’s domestic terminal on Thursday July 1. Set just beyond the security checkpoint and a short trot to the Virgin and Jetstar gates, Newstead Brewing Co.’s new location is looking to welcome and farewell interstate travellers with its signature selection of suds and inclusive menu of eats. The 350-sqm taproom (the largest food and beverage space in the domestic terminal) will come fully equipped with 12 taps, showcasing Newstead Brewing Co.’s core range as well as an assortment of special limited-edition releases. Guests visiting the 120-capacity venue will also be able to enjoy a pre- or post-flight feed from the menu, which includes Newstead’s full range of elevated pub-style classics – think pizzas, chicken parmigiana, dry-rub wings, smoky grilled beef burgers and smoked short rib, plus a host of nourishing gluten-free and vegan options. Construction of Newstead Brewing Co.’s domestic terminal taproom is underway, so keep your eyes peeled for an up-close look at the space come June.
Kould Be Anywhere
It’s not often you see a Michelin-starred chef swap the adrenaline-pumping rush of fine dining for the early starts of cafe service, but for Scott Webster there’s method to the madness. After a heralded stint as sous chef at Heston Blumenthal’s The Hinds Head in the English village of Bray, Scott moved Down Under, eventually taking up the mantle of head chef at Billykart West End in 2015. After a pivot to recruitment consulting was halted during COVID-19, Scott launched his own private catering business Knowone Knowwhere, putting his considerable talents to memorable one-of-a-kind dining experiences. After building a loyal clientele, several of Scott’s regular customers urged him to jump back into the hospitality game with a concept of his own – with a few even going so far as to partner with him on the endeavour. On Monday March 22 Scott will open Kould Be Anywhere at the base of Woolloongabba’s Trafalgar Lane building in the space previously occupied by Lola Coffee. Part grab-and-go coffee stop and part commercial kitchen, Scott is using the site as a base for Knowone Knowwhere’s operations while also providing locals with access to top-notch coffee (two blends will be provided by Mocapan), juices, smoothies, pastries from King Street Bakery, freshly made salads and a range of elevated toasties (filled with the likes of confit chicken and wagyu pastrami). The space itself has been given some cosmetic tweaks, with the existing concrete walls and polished-concrete floors softened with a khaki-green colour scheme. In the long term, Scott would love to grow the concept and eventually open a larger venue, described as a fine-dining eatery meets wine and spirit bar. Until then, you can glimpse Scott’s culinary nous and attention to detail when Kould Be Anywhere opens next week.
BrewDog’s craft-beer hotel
In case you missed last week’s news, Scotland-born brewing juggernaut BrewDog has announced a two-year blueprint for the expansion of its Murarrie beer campus. After making waves with the launch of its humungous brewery and taproom DogTap, the crew has revealed plans for a neighbouring craft-beer hotel called The DogHouse. While an Australian first, The DogHouse Brisbane will be BrewDog’s second beery hotel, following on from its first foray into accommodation with The DogHouse Columbus – which opened at the brewery’s Ohio hub in 2018. The team will break ground and commence construction on a planned four-storey, 30-room hotel on a vacant lot adjacent to the Murarrie headquarters later this year. Once complete, The DogHouse will boast an assortment of rooms and suites, each with beer fridges in the shower, a mini bar stocked to the brim with local brews, beer-infused toiletries, a tap system in your room for keg-fresh pours and potentially a swim-up pool bar. BrewDog is looking to open The DogHouse Brisbane in 2022, and will also look to simultaneously update DogTap with a new mezzanine and function area inside the taproom space as well as an expanded walk-in takeaway shop and larger kitchen. What’s more, soon the brew crew will reveal details on another Brisbane taproom, with an inner-city taproom site soon to be secured.
It’s not uncommon for a sweet craving to strike The Weekend Edition office a couple of times a week. We’re big doughnut fans, especially the handmade glazed variety available at Doughnut Time. Unfortunately for us, our office isn’t situated within travel distance to any Doughnut Time location, but that’s soon to be a non-issue. As of yesterday Monday March 15, Doughnut Time doughnuts are available from select Coles stores across Queensland, including New Farm, Indooroopilly and Mermaid Beach. Locals can satiate their sweet tooth with assorted two- or four-pack boxes, each containing the likes of the original glazed, white chocolate or Lamington flavours. More Queensland Coles locations will be added to the distribution radius in the coming weeks, so be ready to update your grocery list!
If you’ve heard something that’s worth mentioning in The Weekend Edition’s Pavement Whispers, email [email protected].
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