Catering to omnivores and herbivores alike in an artfully adapted industrial setting, the new star on Brisbane’s restaurant scene doesn’t disappoint. Imogen Eveson dines at Detour.
Detour is housed in an old industrial building within the antique precinct of Logan Road in Brisbane’s Woolloongabba. The atmosphere is warm and intimate, and my partner and I soon forget the commotion over the road: Adele is playing to 60,000 people at the Gabba.
Opened in January, this 140-seater is the much-anticipated restaurant from Damon Amos, former executive chef at Brisbane’s hatted eatery, Public.
The space itself is contemporary yet faithful to its industrial foundations; copper and wooden panels have been installed with a light touch against exposed brickwork and metal support beams that bear original signage – it all feels very textural.
The menu at Detour is split down the middle between omnivore and herbivore options (meat-, egg- and dairy-free).
The premise behind this is one of inclusiveness; Amos wants everyone to be able to enjoy his food, regardless of their dietary persuasions.
This works for me: I’m vegetarian, so we order three dishes and a side from the herbivore menu.
It’s a shame there aren’t more of us dining, because I would have happily sampled all of the nine dishes on this succinct menu.
The first to arrive from the open kitchen – coal-roasted broccoli with miso, spinach, seaweed and quinoa – sets a high standard.
Its flavours and textures pop against each other: smoky and salty; slippery and crunchy.
A side of beetroot with ginger and mandarin is similarly pleasing in the way its simple ingredients play off each other; the juxtapositions of textures is clearly not limited to the interior design.
Cauliflower with cashew curry and lentils is rich, creamy and hearty, with a kick; but the smoked pumpkin with maple, mustard and pepitas leaves it in the cold.
Pumpkin is the ubiquitous vegetarian fallback, omnipresent in frittatas and salads everywhere and, often enough, an undercooked consolation prize.
But not this one; it’s delicious.
The sweetness of the pumpkin and maple is offset by the smoky flavour and the bite of mustard, but further still by the red wine we choose from a menu of Australian offerings.
A biodynamic tempranillo from Barossa Valley small-batch producer Smallfry Wines, it’s more savoury than I’m used to but proves to be a good counterbalance.
Though we stick to the herbivore menu, the omnivore offerings look no less intriguing: K.F.D. (Kentucky fried duck) with jalapeño cornbread and sour cream; emu tartare with burnt shallot, chilli and yolk; and gunpowder salmon with green curry and black ants (Amos is a big edible insects advocate).
The dining experience is sophisticated but casual, with various members of the team checking in throughout to see how we’re tracking and proffer notes on their favourite dishes.
It’s an uncontrived touch that adds to the convivial atmosphere.
Dessert comes deconstructed. Juicy mango, firm macadamias and powdery dehydrated mandarin balance out a creamy slab of panna cotta, the combination of flavours and textures as brilliantly executed as everything that came before.
So what if Adele’s at the Gabba?
The headliner in Brisbane tonight is the menu at Detour.
Detour, Shop 6, 11 Logan Road, Woolloongabba, QLD.
Verdict: A warm, casual yet fine-dining experience where the creative menu manages to outshine the impressive industrial-chic setting.
We rated: The creative and sometimes out-there combinations of ingredients that come together elegantly.
We’d change: It was a shame not to have tried more dishes.
A tasting plate option would probably convolute the succinct menu, so next time I would come with a larger group to make sure I sampled more.