Pavement Whispers: Volume 436 November 28
From news of a up-and-coming chef’s debut eatery in Newstead to two new locations for a popular donburi specialist, 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 …
As the end of the year gets ever closer, we’re starting to hear whispers of venues looking to make a splash in early 2024. In January Newstead will welcome Monal Dining – an intimate eatery operated by a chef with some respectable bona fides. Monal Dining is the brainchild of Nepalese cuisinier Yogesh Budhathoki, who has spent the past years working in top-flight kitchens at The Calile, Greca, Yoko and, most recently, as sous chef at Hôntô. The chef is now breaking out on his own, opening a small joint on the corner of Skyring Terrance and Wyandra Street – a space locals might recognise as the former home of Pantry 360. Yogesh has linked up with Clui Design and Lowry Group to reshape the venue (which will boast 35 seats inside, plus another 25 outside) into a space that blends classic, old-school decorative elements with modern accoutrements – think ample brick and timber, accented by pops of olive green. When it comes to Monal Dining’s menu, Yogesh isn’t putting any limitations on himself. “I don’t want to restrict myself with one particular cuisine,” Yogesh tells us. “I just want to put everything together and cook what people want to eat, it’ll be a mix of everything.” The menu will be broadly modern Australian, with locally sourced seafood and steak to feature alongside some pasta dishes and a few Asian- and Latin American-inspired options. Monal Dining’s wine list will focus predominantly on Australian and New Zealand wines, while the cocktail list will hew towards classic expressions instead of overcomplicated signatures. Monal Dining is looking to set 2024 off on a high note, with an opening date tentatively set for the first week of January. Keep your eyes peeled for more.
When Uncle Don opened in 2021, it did so with a mission to prove that there was more to donburi (otherwise known as a rice bowl) than meets the eye. Uncle Don became a cult favourite amongst foodies with its versatile menu and use of premium ingredients, with fans raving about the concept’s upscale approach to the humble Japanese dish. Well, those same fans have something new to celebrate, as Uncle Don is set to open two new locations in the coming months. The first will open in December over in South Brisbane, with the Uncle Don team securing a site next to Taro’s Ramen on Melbourne Street that is near double to size of its Paddington eatery. Uncle Don South Brisbane will be equipped with a bar serving beer, cocktails and wine, while a larger kitchen will allow the team to expand upon its heralded menu (featuring signature items like the charcoal-grilled wagyu steak don, salmon sashimi don and grilled unagi don) with a broadened array of entrees and starters. Internally, the South Brisbane spot will boast a more modern aesthetic that better matches the finer-style fare Uncle Don is known for. In 2024, Uncle Don will open another new spot over at South City Square in Woolloongabba, with this site expected to open around March. Stay tuned for more!
Bird’s Nest Everton Park
It’s been a big year for the Bird’s Nest team. The purveyors of primo yakitori has been exceptionally busy in the second half of 2023, opening a new location at Portside Wharf in October and another in Everton Park just last week. The eatery, nestled in the heart of buzzing dining hub Everton Plaza, has been designed to be reminiscent of Japanese yakitori bars – the kind you might find in the winding backstreets of Tokyo. A dark and moody palette (envisioned by Clui Design) is offset by pink neon, with the flickering lights of charcoal grill adding an scintillating element to Bird’s Nest’s ambience. Long-time Bird’s Nest fans will be able to sink their teeth into their favourite dishes, with the likes of flame-licked yakitori signatures such as the Momo (chicken thigh with lemon, cracked pepper and salt), the Buta (pork belly with sweet miso and mustard) and the Kawa (crispy chicken skin with salt), which are available alongside bao buns, sashimi platters, chicken karaage and a host of specialty items. A drinks menu features original and classic cocktails, beers, wines, Japanese spirits and sake. Head to the Stumble Guide for more details!
A fiery new restaurant will set James Street alight in 2024, one serving a tasteful and flavour-packed blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. ēmmē (pronounced ’em’) will open in the site previously home to Spoon Deli Cafe, just off James Street, with a minimal and organic aesthetic crafted by Alkot Studio and Tonic Projects to turn the prominent space into an approachable day-and-night eatery. The restaurant will open its 44-seat interior space first, with a 2.4-m woodfire dome and open fire pit serving as the attention-grabbing fixture of the space (especially at night, when the lights dim), though an alfresco addition equipped with a high-end coffee bar serving Five Senses brew will be constructed at a later stage. ēmmē will offer breakfast and lunch services first before eventually expanding into dinner, with the menu constantly evolving based on seasonal shifts. ēmmē’s wine list will hit a number of crowd-pleasing beats and price points – expect an array of Australian and international wines, alongside beer from Felons Brewing Co. and cocktails.
If you’ve heard something that’s worth mentioning in The Weekend Edition’s Pavement Whispers, email [email protected].
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.