Pavement Whispers: Volume 285 November 24
From news of a new steakhouse for Eagle Street Pier to a lauded chef’s Sunshine Coast pop-up restaurant, The Weekend Edition is always on the search for the latest food news in Brisbane, dedicated to ensuring its readers are in the know (while also supporting our local hospitality industry). When we put our ears to the pavement this week, this is what we found out …
Eagle Street Steak Restaurant
Restaurateur Michael Tassis, who owns riverside restaurants George’s Paragon, Massimo Restaurant & Bar and Rico Bar & Dining is looking to debut a steak-and-seafood-oriented concept on Eagle Street this year, securing a prime position at the riverside precinct that is currently being furnished as we type. Michael and his team are looking to bring a sophisticated take on a steakhouse concept to the site, instilling some fresh and unique twists to bring it in line with the precinct’s recent evolution. The restaurant’s staple dishes will include the finest cuts of grain-fed beef cooked to perfection, served alongside quality lobster sourced from top-notch suppliers in Tasmania and West Australia. Much like the process that saw Aria’s moody interior transformed into Rico’s airy and spacious layout, the venue’s design will focus on pivoting away from a masculine aesthetic in favour of an open and free-flowing style. Clui Design and construction specialists Tonic Projects are undertaking the refurbishment, which will include the construction of an alfresco dining space and a brand-new whisky and wine bar addition. Stay tuned for an up-close look at this one when it opens!
Dandelion & Driftwood
Two years on from the closure of its popular Hendra cafe, Dandelion & Driftwood is set to make a return to the suburb in February next year. Owners Penny and Peter Wolff (of Wolff Coffee Roasters fame) have been keeping the cafe’s name alive with its location at Brisbane Airport’s international terminal, but with international flights largely on hold for the foreseeable future, the duo has temporarily closed the outlet and channelled their energies into Dandelion & Driftwood 3.0. Located just down the road from Wolff’s HQ and espresso bar on the corner of Doncaster Street and Gerler Road in Hendra (the former site of Chook Wings & Beer), the new Dandelion & Driftwood boasts considerably more room than its predecessor, with a huge kitchen, interior space (including a private-dining room) and external patio area offering ample space to spread out. The team will soon commence the fit-out, which will see the space given a fresh, clean and bright aesthetic. We’re also still a few months away from the finalisation of the menu, but we’ve been told to expect an elevated take on Dandelion & Driftwood favourites (as well as the return of D&D’s high teas), with the sizeable kitchen space allowing for more creative experimentation. We can guarantee that coffee drinkers will be in for a real treat, as the cafe will be pouring two specialty house blends (called Dandelion and Driftwood, respectively) as well as an array of exclusive single origin roasts for filter and espresso in addition to a range of teas and alcoholic beverages. Champagne high tea, anyone?
Eat Street Northshore
Brisbane’s biggest outdoor street-food hub and entertainment spot Eat Street Northshore has locked in its reopening date for Friday December 4. Having been temporarily closed for eight months since the outbreak of COVID-19, the popular Hamilton-based foodie precinct will be welcoming back its street-food vendors en masse, announcing that it will be open between 4:00-10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights, and between 4:00–9:00 pm on Sundays. The team is busy ensuring Eat Street is adhering to COVID Safe requirements ahead of reopening its doors to the general public. You can follow the progress on the market’s Instagram page.
The Stock Exchange Hotel
Sad news emerged last week with the announcement that The Stock Exchange Hotel on Edward Street would be permanently closing its doors on Sunday December 13. The venue’s ownership, The Riversdale Group, posted a notice on the venue’s Facebook page on Thursday November 19 stating that the multifaceted hub (which had become a fixture of the inner-city’s pub scene since opening in 1863) would be shuttering next month, going on to thank the bar’s customers, suppliers, contractors and staff for their support since the group took over the venue in 2012. No announcement has yet been made in regards to any closing celebrations or what will happen to the heritage-listed building.
Although the has pandemic has caused a significant amount of strife across Australia’s dining scene, many chefs have managed to make lemonade out of lemons by launching passion projects and trialling some cool experimental concepts. Cameron Matthews – a hatted chef who has earned numerous accolades as executive chef at Spicers Group – is embarking on a new chapter, striking out on his own with forthcoming Noosa-based pop-up restaurant Winston. Making his return to the Sunshine Coast, Cameron (who held the role of head chef at Montville institution The Long Apron from 2009 to 2016) is the latest chef-in-residence to occupy the iconic restaurant space formerly home to Wasabi. Following hot on the heels of Alanna Sapwell’s lauded pop-up concept Esmay, Cameron is working with Wasabi’s owner Danielle Gjestland to utilise the waterfront space (and Danielle’s relationships with local producers) to curate a dining experience showcasing Cameron’s culinary art. Launching on Wednesday December 9, Winston will offer an ever-changing set menu filled with seasonal dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Guests can expect fare informed by Cameron’s personal food philosophy, which is underpinned by a sustainable and ethical operational ethos and a passion for evoking the feeling of place on a plate by emphasising locality. While launch dishes are still being finalised, the sample menu includes the likes of Noosa spanner crab with oyster cream, salad of Schultz’s suckling-pig porchetta with herbs, fennel jus and caramelised fennel puree, coal-grilled rump cap with miso bearnaise and beer-braised onions, and chocolate-and-dulse parfait with rhubarb, lillipillies and wattle seed. A small, hand-picked list of beverages will also feature, with drops sourced from some of Australia’s best makers. Winston will be open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday from 5:00 pm and Sunday lunch from 12:00 pm. Bookings can be made here.
From a coastal pop-up to one closer to home, Graceville wine bar and boutique bottle shop Honour Ave Cellars will play host to pan-African pop-up Tafari when it holds its first event on Wednesday December 16. The brainchild of London-born chef Lee Sibanda, Tafari will showcase the food of Lee’s heritage via a menu boasting African and Caribbean-inspired delights. Lee is bringing some considerable expertise to the fore, having honed his skills at vaunted UK culinary institutions such as The Savoy Hotel (under Gordon Ramsay), Marco Pierre White’s Wheeler’s Oyster Bar & Grill, and Jason Atherton’s Berners Tavern. These talents will be put to use creating a five-course tasting menu featuring bold, colourful and dynamic dishes, whose origins can be traced back to the transatlantic slave trade with influences from Chinese and Indian cuisines. A limited number of bookings for the feast (which will cost $70 per head) are available and can be obtained by emailing Lee. Honour Ave Cellars owner Chris Siktars will be curating a list of matching wines for an additional $70.
If you’ve heard something that’s worth mentioning in The Weekend Edition’s Pavement Whispers, email [email protected].
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