Travel writer Daniel Scott divulges a secret about Brisbane’s best bites.
As an adopted Sydneysider I’ve been looking down my nose at Brisbane’s restaurant scene for years. So, when I checked out its riverside eateries recently, my expectations weren’t stupendously high.
My first surprise was Bacchus at the Rydges Hotel on Southbank – a beacon for slinkily-dressed young Brisbanites. The tapas that was delivered – from lamb chips with gribiche mayonnaise to spicy chorizo with Tarragon-style Romesco sauce – revealed a Brisvegas sophistication I’d not experienced before. Then, with an unforgettable Heston Blumenthal-like flourish, my rum-based cocktail arrived, liquid nitrogen spilling from a goblet containing an accompanying rose.
Next day, at Eagle Street Pier, my Sydney pride took further knocks over Hervey Bay scallops and chilli-roasted Queensland snapper for lunch at Jellyfish restaurant, and prosciutto-wrapped Moreton Bay bugs for dinner at the new Pony bar.
But it was dining at Stokehouse Q, at Riverside Quay near Southbank, that dealt the fatal blow to my snobbery. With its views of the twinkling cityscape, relaxed Brisbane ambience and immaculate dishes like lobster tagliatelle with saffron cream, I was finally forced to concede. “You couldn’t get this,” I whispered, sipping a Slovenian pinot gris, “in Sydney.”