In a world that’s constantly changing it’s unusual to find a restaurant that not only has lasted 18 years but also has hardly changed its décor in that time.
Philip Johnson’s e’cco ticks both those boxes and quite a few more.
Lauded for its innovative décor when launched 18 years ago, and with only the addition of a bar area, the restaurant continues to stand side-by-side with Brisbane’s best, both in décor and food. Located on the city fringe of Brisbane's CBD district, the bistro brought new life to a historic tea warehouse in a once unfashionable district near the Story Bridge end of the City.
While others might be looking a little tired, e’cco just looks familiar and welcoming, with food that continues to surprise and please and highly trained, professional wait staff.
Since its opening, e’cco has won many accolades including Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year in 2007, for its unpretentious food that focuses on simplicity, flavour and presentation.
|Here's a blast from the past photo showing a 18 years younger Philip Johnson in the e'cco kitchen|
|Not much has changed in the past 18 years in e'cco|
In human terms, 18 years is a coming of age and a step into adult hood, but far from abandoning his first baby, owner Philip Johnson has decided to refocus on his highly successful flagship restaurant and spend more time in the kitchen.
The current winter menu at e’cco shows Johnson back in the kitchen to collaborate with his team of chefs and new head chef Sam Brading (formerly senior sous chef at Johnson’s Bistro One Eleven) on menu that is distinctly his style – innovative but accessible food.
“People come to e’cco for fresh, simple, smart food that you can eat more than once a week, and it’s really important for us to refocus on just that for the new menu,” Johnson said.
“As always, we will be focussing on the simplicity that comes from using the highest quality seasonal produce. Showing respect for the ingredients means staying true to a fresh, contemporary style of cooking.”
Here’s what we enjoyed from the menu -
Field mushrooms, olive toast, rocket, parmesan, truffle oil and lemon
Grilled quail, zucchini, pine nuts, sherry soaked raisins and basil
Lamb rump, sautéed potatoes with spinach , pea, mint & Persian feta
Roast pork belly, spiced eggplant relish, chilli caramel and crisp garlic
‘corn on the cob’ salted caramel popcorn ice cream and (pictured top) - Caramelised fig tarte tatin, white balsamic ice cream and rose fairy floss
Bottom line: A Brisbane institution that has to be on the bucket list for any serious Brisbane diner, but don't just leave it for special
Best tip: Parking in the area is scarce. Read parking signs carefully and allow extra time.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK and partner were guests of e’cco for this meal.