The top end of Brisbane's Roma Street has not been known as a dining destination but that's all set to change with the opening of Asian-inspired Nest Restaurant.
With very funky decor that includes wooden 'nest-like' ceiling sculptures, walls covered in graffiti-style street art by local artists and a surprising view over the atmospheric 200 red lantern adorned 100-year-old fig tree, Nest is sure to encourage more than a few to roost.
Located on the second floor of the newly renamed Hotel Jen (formerly Traders Hotel), the large space has been cleverly broken up to provide intimate nooks and comfortable spots for grazing. This suits the menu which is largely designed as share plates.
Local workers will find the lunch options a quick Asian fix with a budget that won't break the bank. Most dishes, which includes the ever popular pad thai, beef teriyaki and a wagyu beef burger, are priced around $12 to $15.
It should also prove a popular spot for after work drinks with a large bar over looking Roma Street.
There's plenty of small nibbles to share including fried vegetable dumplings, rice paper rolls and honey glazed chicken wings. You'll find a lot of honey on the menu and that's because the hotel has hives on it's roof top garden and their bees are prolific. The kitchen makes good use of this resource.
One of my favourite dishes was the duck salad which came with green pear and a well balanced dressing including ginger, lime and coriander.
Unusually for an Asian themed restaurant, desserts are a menu feature. It's hard to pick a favourite between the caramelised banana which includes two local favourites - Buderim Ginger and Bundaberg rum and the honey creme brûlée using honey from the roof. Try both and share is my best tip here.
Master Chef Kenneth Ip says the menu has been designed to showcase traditional Asian flavours with a modern Australian twist and there's evidence of that with the inclusion of prime local ingredients. However I would like to see him amp up the flavours a little as Brisbane's Asian palate is used to more highly seasoned food.
Recommended for: Travellers, city workers looking for a lunch escape, groups who like easy Asian food.
Best tip: Parking is available on premise and great deals are available. Check
Bottom line: Dinner mains range from $19 to $25.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Nest Restaurant & Bar