One of the more surprising awards at this week's 2010 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence in Queensland was Best New Restaurant (over 100 seats) to Drift Café Jetty & Events in Milton, Brisbane.
The award finalists included Matt Moran's ARIA, The Apple Tree Restaurant Cafe Bar, Kenmore and Vapiano, Brisbane.
Many Brisbanites have been asking 'What the?" over the award but it seems the judges and a dedicated band of local Drift devotees know better - the rest of us are only now getting into the secret.
Located on the Brisbane River at Milton, Drift has finally brought one of Brisbane's best riverside locations into dining favour. It languished for maybe 20 years as Oxley's on the River where the river ambience took second place to run-of-the-mill seafood dining.
Where is it? What's it all about? Drift is an unusual combo of an open air floating café restaurant on a pontoon on the water flanked by a full-fledged, glass-walled restaurant overlooking the water. It has live entertainment nightly and Sunday lunch, a Supper Club with late night dining till 11.30pm every Friday and Saturday night and Cabaret shows are planned.
Owner David Moore's dream for Drift was to bring to Brisbane a unique dining and entertainment venue, with a commitment live music.
I visited Drift in the very early days, before the name was even finalised. Yes the position is superb but I'll have to go back to experience the final fit out and menu before I comment on the rest.
Moore started in the hospitality industry as an apprentice Chef at the tender age of 15 at the Cloak & Dagger Restaurant in the 80s, under the guidance of Tom McConnell. He has worked with Brisbane restaurant industry icons Michael Platsis, Francis and Marilyn Domenech, Richard and Jane Deery and John Kilroy.
Moore, Head Chef Benny Loh and his staff deserve congratulations for their achievement. Anyone with an interest in Brisbane food should really check Drift out.
I was particularly impressed by the water taxi that was on offer during my visit. River transport is sadly underutilised in Brisbane and would be a great add on to a dining experience. Check the website for details on how to arrange boat transport.
Another plus for this restaurant is that even though parking is at a premium in this location, Drift has parking in the John Oxley Centre that's just a short walk away. Check the website for details.
Drift, 330 Coronation Drive, Milton +61 7 3368 1866 www.drift.com.au