Conviction, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
Last night I dined at Conviction and, as I tweeted, it would be easier to get into jail than get a booking. For a restaurant that's only been open a week that's very good news. Pity they'll only be around for six weeks. I'd suggest getting on the phone now if you want to dine there.
Conviction is located in the former Bistro 3 site and if you've dined there before you'll notice some changes. The large glass windows overlooking the street now are covered with wood panelling. There's plenty of curtains and the lighting is soft and even - great for a television set.
And of course the cameras in the room are a distinct difference. They roam around following the dinners of some guests, but not all, so don't feel you are going to be permanently on show. You might have to wait for your 15 seconds of fame.
While I knew all the staff here (except, notably, high-profile European Group executive chef Ian Curley and renowned Brisbane-based restaurant and events manager Lisa Parker) are very recent ex-cons, I didn't know the profits from Conviction are going to charity. It's a noice touch and makes the dinner even more worthwhile.
Down to the food - it was very good. I ordered Seasonal mushroom risotto with truffle oil ($27) and I couldn't fault it. The mushroom flavour was intense and there was just enough truffle oil to keep my taste buds dancing. The rice was firm but soft and the whole dish, not an easy one to achieve, expertly prepared. My partner enjoyed his Greek lamb, moussaka with feta and spring roll of braised shoulder ($35).
Even though I loved the risotto, my standout was the Chocolate salty caramel, peanuts and sour ice cream. I was in dessert heaven and then I noticed a gooey caramel centre inside the chocolate. This is a must try dish for dessert lovers. You can see the whole menu below.
Service was a little hesitant which is only to be expected from people who are new to the industry. The staff were very candid about their backgrounds when asked by fellow diners and eager to make sure the night was enjoyable for patrons.
I spoke with Lisa Parker and she told me the staff were very keen to get it right, turned up early for shifts and were ideal employees.
Bottom line: Good food- get in quick and try while the restaurant is there.
Conviction: Emporium, 55/1000 Ann St, Fortitude Valley (07) 3852 3135
Wednesday/Thursday - Dinner from 6pm, no lunch service
Friday/Saturday - Lunch from midday, dinner from 6pm
Sunday - Lunch from midday, no dinner service
Closed Monday and Tuesday