Food banter with Damian Griffiths
06 Oct 2015
It all started with Limes Hotel, the rooftop cocktail bar atop a boutique inner city hotel, complete with a spa bath for the most chilled Sunday sessions ever. Next thing you know, we were drinking flaming rum concoctions from tiki bowls at Alfred & Constance, drooling over tofu bao buns at Kwan Brothers and curing our sweet tooths at Chester Street Bakery. Now, Damian Griffiths has a slew of one-of-a-kind venues across town, with plenty more on the way. Somehow, between opening Les Bubbles steakhouse and bar, preparing to launch Mr Fitz ice creamery in South Bank and keeping up to date with his half a dozen other bars and restaurants, he found time to tell us a bit about running a hospitality empire. Describe what it is you do so well in a sentence, and don’t be modest. My main strength is drawing inspiration from travel. There’s plenty to be learned abroad, and before I launch a new venue, I often spend a few weeks jet setting, gathering ideas and polishing up exactly what I want to achieve. Most of my ventures have been on the tail end of a trip overseas. How did it all happen? I actually started in budget accommodation. I was travelling a lot, which is no different to how I spend my time now – then I stumbled upon an opportunity to start Limes Hotel. Things progressed from there, and here we are. Do you have any new and exciting projects in the works? I’m currently working on Mister Fitz as well as Little Wick Winery. They will roll out in that order, and will both cater for a very different market. I’m equally excited about the launch of both, and can already tell Brisbane are going to be very receptive to the ideas! What is your proudest achievement to date? I’m extremely happy with the success of Doughnut Time. In such a short period, too! If you had to pick one favourite item from one of your venues, what would it be? It’s hard to go past the A&C pork roll. What does a typical week at work involve for you, besides “Full on!” I work extremely long hours. When I’m not held up in a corner of one of the venues, working with architects, dealing with chefs or chatting to staff, I’m eating and drinking at places around town. It’s important to sample what’s out there, and constantly understand where Brisbane is headed. Are there any Australian producers, suppliers or thinkers that are inspiring you at the moment? There are far too many to list! If we took a peek in your fridge, what would we find? Very little. I don’t eat at home very often! Where/what was the last great meal you ate in Brisbane? Steak frites from Les Bubbles, of course! Any predictions for the next big food trend? Ice cream sandwiches! You heard it here first!