Habitat, West End

Moody, with texture aplenty, funky lighting and atmosphere overload, West End's Habitat has set the scene for many a friendly drink, cosy meal and late night Brisbane drink.

Rugby legend Scott Higginbothan and business partner Malcolm Watts describe this third addition to their restaurant/cafe portfolio as a flagship venue.

They offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and street espresso by day, with the venue coming alive with music and signature cocktails at night.

Positioned on the corner of Melbourne and Edmonstone Streets in West End, just up from the Gun Shoppe Cafe and opposite the Coles shopping centre, this venue has all the hallmarks of a local's hangout.  There's plenty of room to perch with a drink or dine in comfort in one of the cosy booths and different levels which add  interest.

Malcolm Watts has been a driver behind the innovative decor sourcing wood from an old railway bridge and turning it into tables, bar and wall cladding.  There's also interesting lights over the bar designed by Malcolm and beer taps located in old fire hydrants for added atmosphere.

Another quirky touch is the viewing window straight from the footpath into the kitchen.

As its early days for the restaurant, we dined from the mains menu for lunch although there were some lunch specials available.  A full lunch menu will be available soon.

The wagyu beef tongue and beef cheek slowed cooked in master stock was study in contrast between the tender interior and the crisp, almost crunchy exterior.  It was a coveted meal.

Off the specials menu, the fish was moist and tender with a crunchy crust exterior accompanied by a thick slice of tender potato.

More crunch on the pork belly with tender layers beneath, a richly-flavoured grape jus and beetroot/goats cheese salad.

The desserts are deconstructed.  We ordered a Rocky Road plate which came with an interesting interpretation of the components that really blossomed when mixed together in a sort of rocky road pie.

The Valrhona chocolate cake with chocolate and ginger mouse, apple chips and raspberry coulis was blessed with a light but satisfying chocolate flavour which sang when combined with the gingery mouse and a touch of raspberry.

Mal and Scott promise evenings at Habitat will include a chance to indulge in their signature cocktails while enjoying live music.  Sounds rather fine, doesn't it?

Bottom line: Entrees are priced between $13 and $19 while mains average around $23. Desserts are between $14 and $17.

Best tip:  Street parking is available or try the Coles carpark if you only plan to be there two hours.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Habitat.

Kerry Heaney

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