The Matriarch brings a dash of romance and luxe Euro elegance to Newstead
Imagine this – you’re sitting in the heart of a lavishly appointed French court, sipping top-shelf champagne in the shade of an olive tree, with snacks at your elbow and your every want and need taken care of by attentive wait staff. Usually you’d need to hop on a plane and spend a chunky sum to enjoy an experience like this, but a new venue in Newstead might just be the next best option. The Matriarch is a stately warehouse hub of European-inspired hospitality, catering to brunch lovers, bubbly sippers, high-tea hunters and tapas enthusiasts.
Although Jimmy Truong – co-owner and catalyst behind The Matriarch – is a first-time hospitality operator, he knows top-flight customer service when he sees it. As the brains behind sip’n’paint studio Brush & Barrel and beauty bar Top Lashes, Jimmy has honed his attention to detail and commitment to curating memorable experiences for guests. No stranger to Brisbane’s dining scene either, Jimmy has longed to provide his own take on hospitality – not something necessarily better than everything else, but different and bold in its own unique way. Alongside chef Matthew De Wacht, Jimmy searched high and low for a venue that could accomodate his lofty vision for his dream venue, best described as a multi-faceted eatery and bar that embodied the simple grace of 19th-century Parisian countryside with the luxurious grandeur of a sprawling royal estate. The duo struck gold in one of the most unlikely of places – the original Masters Street home of craft-beer bar Tippler’s Tap (which has since moved to locations in South Bank and on James Street). Jimmy, Matty and the venue’s landlord connected over the concept of an industrial garden sanctuary that specialises in the kind of elevated experience that folks travel abroad for, and soon all parties got to work in making it a reality.
Much like the concept itself, The Matriarch’s structural and interior design is bold. Beyond a set of iron gates, the old Tippler’s car park has been overhauled and transformed into a leafy outdoor garden patio with its own bar – and that’s just a prelude for what’s to come. The bulk of the venue’s amenities exist within a mammoth 400-sqm warehouse, which was sandblasted back to its raw features before giant archways, recycled colonial-era balustrades, shelves and a new bar were installed. One of the most arresting features of the space is the twin olive trees in the heart of The Matriarch’s dining area, which have been planted into the concrete floor. Sourced from a local olive grove, both trees have been planted in such a way as to facilitate ongoing and healthy growth. With the core structural features in place, The Matriarch team further fleshed out the venue with custom furnishings (marble-topped tables, plush pink and blue velvet chairs and circular banquettes) sourced from Hong Kong, statement light fixtures, fresh flowers, pressed-metal wall detailing, contemporary art, and various antique accoutrements. Jimmy has arranged the 160-capacity venue to provide a luxury of space, with plenty of elbow room for couples to dine without feeling crowded.
The food and drink
The food menu at The Matriarch breaks down neatly into lunch, high tea, tapas and weekend breakfast, with each segment built off a foundation of quality produce. While simplicity is key, the same attention to detail is paid to the fare as it is the ambience. Every weekend, the kitchen plates up a short menu of stand-alone dishes (omelette stacks, Vietnamese shakshouka and avocado on sourdough), as well as breakfast share boards for one or two, piled with the likes of chorizo, eggs, thyme-grilled mushrooms, homemade hash browns and bacon. The Matriarch also pours loose-leaf tea from TWG, coffee from Grinders and fresh juices. The afternoon and evening menu is subdivided by size, with small plates and substantial eats available depending on your hunger level. Duck spring rolls, French choux pastry puffs filled with pate, lobster rolls, Modina sardines and luxe Ars Italica Royals caviar provide a great starting point, while pulled-pork pancakes, slider trios, fisherman’s baskets, rosemary-lamb lollipops, bangers and mash, and topped Turkish bread offers plenty of variety for the main affair. A French-style all-you-can-eat high-tea service is also available, with roaming tea carts stocked with a variety of cheeses, sweets and savoury morsels. While The Matriarch waits for its liquor licence approval, it is operating as BYO only. Once the documentation is approved, expect a cavalcade of off-mainstream options to choose from, ranging from an impressive selection of wines (more than a dozen rosés – including Lisa Vanderpump’s own label – are on hand), French champagne, tap beer (The Matriarch boasts its own full-bodied lager) and theatrical cocktails. The latter is set to be a big talking point, with artfully presented libations enhanced via an interactive element (expect dry ice and perfume spray bottles to come into play).
The Matriarch is now open to the public. For opening hours and contact details, head to the Stumble Guide.
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