Our favourite new restaurants of 2020 | Gourmand and Gourmet

Our favourite new restaurants of 2020

I.e. the only positives of a dud year.

It’s been a wild year for all of us, but somehow these venues pulled through, contributing new and exciting things to Brisbane’s food scene. We’re here to restore your faith in 2020…

AGNES | FORTITUDE VALLEY

Well, Agnes has certainly seen it all in her short lifetime. Set to open in March as a wood-fire restaurant, Agnes’ plans changed dramatically when lockdown hit. Adapting to what was a crazy period of our lives, Agnes morphed into a short lived but INSANELY popular pop-up bakery between April and July. Since August, Agnes has served contemporary eats prepared solely by flame, and the hype remains as big as ever.

LING LING | FORTITUDE VALLEY

Back in February (simpler times!) we were introduced to Ling Ling–Brisbane’s answer to late-night Asian and NSFW menu items. With soup bowl cocktails, loud tunes and hawker-style street food, Ling Ling offers a party-cum-dining experience like nowhere else. 

MEI WEI DUMPLINGS | CBD

Brisbane’s dining scene was elevated when Mei Wei Dumplings travelled up from the Gold Coast to set up its second home at Treasury Brisbane. The chic eatery sits underground and welcomes groups of all sizes to taste its fancy Cantonese street eats. I mean, who could turn down dumplings, crispy pork belly and bubble tea!?

KULCHA’D | WEST END

A new Indian spot hit Boundary Street in May, with crispy tandoor-baked flatbreads, chickpea curries, kathi rolls, and paneer aplenty. Hot tip: this flavourful eatery specializes in vegan dining, so bring your plant based pals along for a feast and a half. 

MAMA TACO | WEST END

We were obsessed with Mama Taco’s offerings from the get-go, as we smashed tacos and tequilas by the bucketload (just 2020 things!). It’s Mexican like you’ve probably never had before, with huge, bold flavours and traditional techniques showcased in a cosy West End haunt. 

EL PLANTA | SOUTH BRISBANE 

Opening its doors in the time of takeaway and couch binging, June saw El Planta’s vegan Mexican fare grace Brisbane. Their initial ‘at home’ offerings were a hit, before the Fish Lane eatery became a dine-in destination for its plant-based innovation, unique flavours, and A1 tacos. 

ETERNA | FORTITUDE VALLEY

Eterna entered our lives in July, encouraging us to do what the Romans do. The kitchen (that stays open nice and late on weekends) slings some of the city’s finest pastas, with emphasis on keeping things traditional and full of flavour. 

PASTA CLUB | WEST END

We joined the Pasta Club in July, and boy was it delicious! The reincarnation of the wildly popular (but totally hush hush) CJ’s Secret Pasta Club, Pasta Club sits in West End with a hand-written menu that changes daily and boasts some weird and wonderful flavour combos. 

MAYA MEXICAN | FORTITUDE VALLEY 

Proving to be a delicious month, July also saw the rise (pun intended) of MAYA Mexican. Taking classic Mexican flavours and bringing them into 2020 with emphasis on fresh produce and shared dining, MAYA is a sky-high pop-up from the folks behind Eleven Rooftop Bar. 

PING PONG | NEWSTEAD

You know it’s gonna be good when it comes from the brains behind Morning After and Yolk. In fact, Ping Pong exceeded all expectations when it bounced onto the scene in August! The colourful fit-out perfectly matches the punchy flavours on your plate, and a meal at Ping Pong is best described as “a party in your mouth.”

HONOUR AVE CELLARS | GRACEVILLE

Good food and wine hit the ‘burbs in September when Honour Ave Cellars opened shop. The 28-square metre wine bar, eatery, and bottle shop can only open to extremely limited numbers at a time, but the lucky ones who can snag a seat are treated to European bites, rare wines, and warm hospitality. 

UH OH SPAGHETTIO | FORTITUDE VALLEY

Slinging Italian eats and loud beats until the early morning, Uh Oh Spaghettio has become a fast favourite for foodies and party-goers alike. While all bowls hit below the $20 mark, this affordable pasta joint doesn’t skimp on flavour.

MAC FROM WAY BACK | WOOLLOONGABBA 

Once a popular food truck popping up around Brissy, September saw Mac From Way Back establish a bricks-and-mortar home in the ‘Gabba. With the likes of mac ‘n’ cheese, smashed burgers, loaded fries and more available from one fixed place, we no longer have to do ANY cardio chasing the truck!

COMMERCIAL ROAD PUBLIC BAR | NEWSTEAD

This self-described “neighbourhood wine bar from 1989 New York Fashion Week” arrived in Newstead in September, serving looks AND damn good fare. Commercial Road Public Bar’s pizzas have us coming back time and time again, as we explore new things to sip and music to jam to.

BOOM BOOM ROOM IZAKAYA | CBD

We went underground in October and found the Boom Boom Room Izakaya waiting for us. The striking space already had our attention, but the mind-blowing menu of Japanese-inspired eats and cocktails had us begging for more.

BAR KIDDO | FORTITUDE VALLEY

There was a new kiddo on the block in October when this uber cool bar opened up, serving Japanese-infused eats and Tarantino-esque vibes. With cocktails that belong on Instagram and share plates that have us drooling at the thought, Bar Kiddo is certainly somewhere to add to your hit list. 

JOEY’S | KANGAROO POINT

With one of the city’s best locations (atop the cliffs with 180-degree views across the river), Joey’s opening in October certainly created a buzz! The stunning venue just screams summer, and the menu perfectly balances Aussie favourites with strong European flavours. 

WAREHOUSE 25 | MILTON

November saw Warehouse 25 come to Milton, taking a warehouse that was once home to underground raves and turning it into a distillery, kitchen, and bar. Dishing up pizzas, cocktails, and plenty of spirits, Warehouse 25 is a sipper’s paradise. 

SIFFREDI’S | TENERIFFE

Recently opened Siffredi’s has already made a name for itself as a cheeky spot for top-notch glasses of vino and bowls of spag. After the closure of Stokehouse Q (vale), three coworkers and longtime pals joined forces to open Siffredi’s, with a menu of intriguing dishes and impressive bar offerings. 

FISH LANE TOWN SQUARE | SOUTH BRISBANE

Opening up to the public across November and December, Fish Lane’s new Town Square quickly became a go-to for Brisbanites. First came Kiki–a beautiful kiosk in the centre of the square serving coffees by day and cocktail by night, before Bar Brutus arrived with a menu of apertivi, spuntini and digestivi. Southside soon followed, with a jaw-dropping fit out and pan-Asian menu full of surprises. 

LA COSTA | FORTITUDE VALLEY 

From the brains behind Salt Meats Cheese, Eterna and Australia’s best bar Maybe Sammy, La Costa is a four-in-one beast of a venue, with ground-level La Costa Bar and rooftop bar Cielo both opening in December. Stay downstairs for Italian wines, top-shelf spirits and antipasto, or hop up to the roof for cocktails and seafood, and see why La Costa has already won our hearts. 

If you can make it through 2020, you can do anything. 

Words by Elizabeth Markwell
- the gourmet who is hungry for 2021 now...