Featuring: Baguette, Fratelli Famous, Rockpool Dining Group, Detour…
FOR two and a half decades Brisbane’s iconic Baguette restaurant reigned supreme over the long, leafy Racecourse Rd in Brisbane’s affluent Ascot.
Owner’s Francis and Marilyn Domenech won multiple awards for its Catalan-style cuisine, which reflects Francis’ heritage. Nowadays it is the domain of another restaurant baron, Jason Coats of the Coat’s Group, which also owns The Jetty in Bulimba and South Bank and the very popular Eleven Rooftop Bar in Fortitude Valley. Renamed 150 Ascot, the mod Oz venue is a collaboration with wife Katie, GM Tracey Rayner and husband Kwan Fong and hospitality equipment supplier Stuart Carlton-Smith. It’s a “ladies-who-lunch” type of venue by day and the light, bright menu, all designed to share, reflects this. Dishes like rare pepper-crusted yellow fin tuna with fennel and zuchini flowers with goat’s cheese and confit tomatoes fly out the door alongside something colourful from the killer cocktail list. The lines between indoor and outdoor are pleasantly blurred with greenery and open spaces lining both the bar and the restaurant beyond. Chef Tim Michel hails from Sydney where he worked in establishments like The Arthouse Hotel and The Treehouse Hotel in North Sydney. He will be delivering on the Modern Australian promise but also family-oriented using simple flavours that speak for themselves. Open for lunch and dinner every day except Mondays, northside diners have an exciting new option whether it’s for a casual drink or a smart night out. 150 Racecourse Rd, Ascot; phone (07) 3123 7123.
For the past three years Shouk Cafe in trendy Paddington has traded up a storm especially on weekends when loyal brunch fans line the hilly streets waiting for a table. Refined Middle Eastern food, perfect for brunch and a refreshing change from the omni-present egg and bacon fare that suburbs like Paddington are awash with, owner’s Guy Frawley and Adi Shabtay have rebranded the venue, now known as Naim. With origins in both Arabic and Hebrew, Naim roughly translates to “pleasant,” “comfort” or “joy” and this perfectly captures the inventive dishes and friendly, laid back style of service. The bad news with the revamp came a new menu and sadly the much loved latke stack is no longer, but fortunately the pumpkin three ways with haloumi with challah bread is still available. In the months ahead a second Naim will open in South Brisbane in the new Aria development in Melbourne St. 14 Collingwood St, Paddington; phone (07) 3172 1655.
Sydneysiders embraced Fratelli brand with gusto when it burst on to the scene a decade ago and now Brisbanites are getting a piccolo taste of what all the fuss is about. Fratelli Famous opened it’s 60-seat pizzeria in the Eagle Street Pier restaurant precinct at Christmas bringing a nine-strong toppings list to its charry, Naples-style bases, sourdough or gluten free. Build your own toppings and salads offers lots of variety or you can choose from the classic menu of margherita, chorizo, meatballs or the ominous sounding meat inferno. There’s even a breakfast pizza should the cravings hit early. It’s the first foray into the Brisbane market by the Rockpool Dining Group, who purchased the Fratelli Group and other assets in late 2016. 2/45 Eagle St Pier, Brisbane. fratellifamous.com.au.
Damon Amos is the former head chef of Public, a large eatery in the heart of Brisbane’s legal district, who has recently entered the business under his own steam, opening Detour, a small-ish restaurant in Woolloongabba in Brisbane’s inner south.
The attractive cul-de-sac locale was once home of many antique dealers and designers which slowly morphed into a dining destination housing much loved venues like 1889 Enoteca, Pearl Cafe, The Servery, Crosstown Eating House and Canvas. Rather than the usual entree, main, dessert arrangement, Amos has split his menu into omnivore and herbivore options and runs a completely gluten-free kitchen (with a couple of exceptions but those items are prepared off site). Needless to say Detour is the place to go for the dietary sensitive and also for the culinarily adventurous who love a good plate of black ants, Hawaiian curry and fossilised carrots. A clipped wine list offers six whites, six reds and three rosés, three champagnes, a smattering of cocktails and quality beers. Don’t be surprised to see industry types there if you visit late as the kitchen stays open until 11pm every night. 11 Logan Rd, Woolloongabba; phone (07) 3217 4880.