Blink and you’ll be behind if you’re counting openings in Brisbane’s burgeoning café/bar/restaurant scene.
From burger joints and berry bars to bistros and fully-fledged restaurants, the openings in 2014 have been thick and fast.
Let’s check out the new restaurants and bars starting with a walk up Eagle Street, homeland to Brisbane’s suit lovers.
Formerly Philip Johnson’s Bistro One Eleven, this elegant space now has been taken over by former Wallabies halfback George Gregan. Along with wife Erica, George has been building a restaurant empire over the past 10 years with 17 venues around Sydney and Canberra. Open Monday to Friday, the bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. A coffee shop, GG Espresso is located on the mezzanine level where there are also some unexpectedly fabulous spaces with views of Brisbane city and river. A nice spot for a cuppa.
It’s been a big hole to fill but the the Ghanem Group, owners of Byblos bar + restaurant Portside, 5ifth Element at South Bank and Byblos Melbourne, have opened Blackbird Bar & Restaurant with a very big bang.
Inspired by a 1920s prohibition period, the 1,000 square metre venue is divided into a chic bar and large restaurant space. The bar features an extensive first-class cocktail list and the restaurant offers a grazing menu, designed by two hatted chef Jake Nicolson, which is served up until the early hours.
Coupled with panoramic views of the Brisbane River and Story Bridge , Blackbird Bar & Restaurant has certainly captured the attention of Brisbane’s ‘A’ list.
Keep going up Eagle Street till you hit the top end of Adelaide Street for two more new openings.
You might remember this space as Bar Barossa, but after a makeover it’s now The Studio, a funky, laid back pop-up cellar and wine bar which collects boutique wines from Australia and beyond.
There are free tastings eight times a week, showcasing wines that range from contemporary classics to lesser known varieties. You can buy a glass or a bottle to drink in the wine bar, or a bottle or case to take home. If you are not fond of red, you can sip on their selective range of ciders, ales and spirits. Accompany your beverage with a small cheese and charcuterie platter. Open Monday to Friday until June
And yes, the purple grape light fitting is still there.
The understated dining area and bar underneath Philip Johnson's iconic Adelaide Street restaurant e’cco bistro has morphed into a burger joint, Howzat Burger.
Johnson launched Howzat with a popup over a few weeks which saw fans queuing around the block for a burger fix. With prices around $10 each for traditional and adventurous options which range from standard grain-fed beef burger with cheddar, tomato and lettuce to a cumin-spiced lamb burger with balsamic onions and mint yogurt or a Caesar chicken burger, pork belly with slaw and chipotle mayo. Vegetarians are not forgotten with a chickpea vege burger.
Wash it all down with a Nutella, banana or coffee flavoured milkshake. Open from 10.30am to 3pm.
Now head back almost to the heart of the city to find…
John Mills Himself is a new cafe and bar located in the heritage-listed John Mills Building on Charlotte St. Tucked beneath Archives Fine Books, access this hidden gem via the driveway on 55 Elizabeth St. Staying true to the building’s architectural heritage, the quaint space features high windows, exposed brick walls and dark timber beams.
Get your skates on to find this newbie just on the edge of the central city area -
It’s being hailed as the closest thing to good Mexican food that you’ll get in Brisbane and it's all prepared from scratch on the site with some of their special chillies and spices direct from Mexico.
Fiesta Ole' is owned by two Mexicans who have brought their home-grown Mexican spices and flavour to Brisbane. Dishes include spicy seafood soups, fresh tacos, nachos, burritos and a range of starters and salads accompanied with homemade hot sauces. The wine list features a unique range of Argentina and Chilean wines, or you can try the two traditional drinks of Mexico, Corona and margarita combined into one drink – the Mexican Bulldog –a fish bowl sized margarita with a Corona poured on top.
Have I missed some? Please leave a comment below.
Promise to update you on all the new coffee shops soon too.