We’ve all traipsed down a suspiciously dingy laneway to cure our caffeine cravings at John Mills Himself, and wrap our hands around a late night cheeseburger at Greaser. You’ve more than likely made your way underground to bust a move at Brooklyn Standard, and hesitantly stepped through upstairs doors to find the Mermaid Bar at Lefty’s. But when it comes to sitting down to a snazzy dinner, there’s a few must-try restaurants you’ve probably never heard of, let alone tried – and it’s about time you did.
Hidden away behind the elegant façade of The Inchcolm Hotel & Suites is Thomson’s Reserve, recipient of One Hat in this year’s Good Food Guide awards and an impressive place to take a date, your clients, your parents, and pretty much anyone who enjoys creative cuisine. We strongly suggest finding your way there before their winter menu disappears – smoked duck breast with cuttlefish, shitake mushrooms and wakame broth, and poached yabby tail with pumpkin consommé and smoked pork fat are calling your name.
Milton Road. Home to the XXXX Brewery, Suncorp Stadium, standstill traffic during peak hour – and Deer Duck Bistro, where you’ll find one of the best degustations in Brisbane. It’s not just decadent seven course meals on offer though – from Tuesday to Thursday you can also choose from the a la carte menu. But you know you want more than one course with dishes like Wagyu with mushrooms and black onion, and duck with lotus root and palm sugar.
Not only will you really have to hunt to find The Wolfe hidden away in East Brisbane, but you’ll never know what you’ll find on the menu, with a creative line up of modern fare that changes from month to month, depending on what’s in season. With One Hat under their belt though, you can be sure you’re in for a delicious time, especially if you swing by for BYO wine nights on Tuesday and Wednesday.
An eyewear store by day, restaurant and pizzeria by day, Holloway is possibly Brisbane’s most hipster venue – and they’re usually booked out for weeks to prove it. Amongst regular taco nights, Sunday sessions and the occasional curry specials, they’re known (by those in the know) mainly for their pizza creations.
Just off Brunswick Street, and looking more like an elegant New Farm home than an award winning restaurant and hotel, is this member of the Spicers Group – so you know you can expect good things. Not only will you uncover a hidden dining gem, but you’ll also find unexpected combinations on your plate, from the grilled octopus with apple and nori to the cassis sorbet with toffee, beetroot and star anise for dessert.
You’ve been to underground bars – now it’s time to experience an underground restaurant. Not that you won’t find an epic drinks list here as well, in fact, if you’re a cider fan you’re in for quite the treat. Pair them with inventive Italian feeds like pork belly pizza and blue cheese risotta, and try not to stumble up the stairs on your way out after a few too many of those ciders.
Every Friday night, this suburban cafe puts away the breakfast menu and brings out a dinner menu, featuring an ever changing list of entrees, mains and big plates to share. They’re even fully licensed, so you can pair a bottle of wine with their melt-in-your-mouth brisket and side of sweet potato fries.
You can’t even see this pan-Asian eatery from the street, that’s how secret it is. In fact, unless you’ve been introduced to it by someone else, you’d probably never know it was there. But from it’s second level perch on Vulture Street, Huong’s has been dishing up flavoursome curries, stir fries and soups since 1977 . Gourmet tip: The spicy quail is not to be missed.
Ok, so it’s not a secret to anyone who frequents the bayside, but for the rest of you, it’s worth a trip to Cleveland to join the Doug & Pearl fan club. We’re still a little heartbroken they took weekend breakfasts off the menu – but their Moroccan beef short ribs and brownie with mandarin curd, chocolate soil and caramel ice cream is more than enough to ease our pain.
Can you keep the secret?
Words by Ranyhyn Akui