Smart, sexy and oh so French - Privé 249 at the Sofitel

It’s sleek, smart, seductive and surprisingly sexy!

The Sofitel's new restaurant Privé 249 seats up to 52 guests in a room where ceiling windows frame magnificent city views, overlooking Brisbane Central Clock Tower and Anzac Square.

The menu is French inspired Australian cuisine and the décor luxe with dramatic Italian chandeliers and giant candles. Black glass tabletops are set with white china and Italian titanium cutlery – a striking mix of gold and silver that costs $30 a piece, so don’t try to leave with any!

The Sofitel’s French origins show strongly with Chef, Mathieu Astier and Restaurant Managers Francois Laran and Jerome Legal, all from France.
“Privé 249 is inspired by one of our young, talented and very passionate Chefs, Mathieu Astier,” says General Manager Goran Aleksandrovski.

Astier, (pictured) who has been cooking since he was 16, has worked with and been taught by some of the world's greatest kitchen maestros. Spending much of his life in Monte Carlo working throughout 1 to 3 star Michelin restaurants, Astier and his family relocated to Brisbane in 2007.

Astier’s mantra is to alter produce as little as possible and his menu of French inspired Australian cuisine certainly demonstrates his passion for presenting distinct and palatable flavours.

“My focus is on using the absolute best product available in the market. This provides the perfect palate and therefore showcases flavours in their true form. The less human interaction the better” says Astier.

Privé 249’s menu reflects the focus on top of the line produce and offers an inviting selection of dishes. There is a strong Queensland focus with Spanner Crab from Noosa and Glass House Mountain Snails.

The ham is, of course, Iberico ham de bellota, renowned for being the world’s greatest ham.

“Iberico ham tastes like no other ham on the market and has an aroma and taste which will surpass that of any other ham you have tasted – once you have tried this Spanish ham everything else will seem inferior”, claims Astier. And he’s right!

Here’s what we ate – (pictured in the same order)

· Jamon Iberico de Bellota, Spanish acorn fed cured ham and Glass House Mountain fresh snail vol-u-vent provencal. Wine match – R’ de ruinart Brut, Reims.

· Amuse buoche – Foie gras consommé beetroot foam. Wine match - R’ de ruinart Brut, Reims.

· Spanner Crab with celeriace remoulade and green apple, celery sorbet. Wine match 2008 Cloudy Bay Saouvignon Blanc, Marlborough.

· Pork trotters fried crisp, meaux mustard and parmigianio reggiano sauce gribiche. Wine match – Ruinart Rose Brut, Reims

· Yellow fin tuna sous-vide at 59.5 Celsius with orange, fennel, olives and aged balsamic. Wine match - 2008 Cape Mentelle Chardonnay, Margaret River.

· Hibiscus ice tea infused with hibiscus flower

· Lamb from Tasmania, seasonal vegetables and goats curd with thyme infused jus. Wine match - 2007 Cloudy Cay, Pinot Noir, Marlborough.

· Valrohna Jivara Chocolate pave with pear sorbet. Wine match - Ruinart blanc de blanc, Reims.

Privé 249 opens Tuesday to Friday for lunch and dinner and Saturday for dinner service. Entrée’s range from $24 and mains from $35. There is a five course tasting menu and list of more than 200 wines.

Sofitel, 249 Turbot Street, 3835 3535.

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