Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Land Down Under: Stokehouse Brisbane

Stokehouse Brisbane
For about 20 years now, reviews singing the praises of Stokehouse restaurant in Melbourne have been a regular feature of the Australian food landscape. Unfortunately, I've never had the pleasure, as I've only been to Melbourne once, for the weekend of my 30th birthday, and that trip involved several other excellent meals.

But Brisbane now has a Stokehouse of its own.
We'd been to the excellent Quilts: 1700-1945 exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery, and my mother suggested a wander along the South Bank Parklands, culminating in lunch at Stokehouse. This seemed like a good idea to me. I don't know the South Bank area at all - when I lived in Brisbane, oh so many years ago, it hadn't really established itself as anything other than a tourist trap. Now, it seems to just be part of the fabric of the city. There were loads of local office workers having lunch in the sun and students from the conservatorium practising in the park.
"Streets Beach" - not many people there because it was mid-week and, of course, the middle of what passes for winter in Queensland. A chilly 28C...
View of the Goodwill Bridge
Restorative (and reasonably priced) Tanqueray and tonic
Lots of tempting things on the menu
Bill and I both had the crudo of seafood - scallops on romesco, yellowtail kingfish topped with some sharply-dressed microgreens and Tasmanian salmon with horseradish mayonnaise and salmon roe, served on this wonderfully organic-looking ceramic plate. The scallops were divinely sweet - it was all good but that was my favourite taste.
Bettina had oysters with a mignonette dressing
Bill had mulloway, caught just down the coast in Ballina. He was still raving about it days later
Bettina had pasta in a broccoli sauce with hot-smoked salmon
I couldn't go past the battered flathead. For me, flathead is the best fish-and-chip fish in the world and I miss it. The batter was supposedly flavoured with lemon and dill, which I couldn't taste at all, probably because of the lemon and dill in the salad dressing. The batter was slightly over-browned but the fish inside was moist and cooked to perfection. The chips, salad and tartare sauce were also brilliant: the salad reminded me of the salad of English herbs that they do at Hawksmoor, which is the best salad ever.
The service was excellent - attentive without hovering or obsequiousness. Our waiter could have done with a little more training on some of the menu items, as there were a few things which he explained (unnecessarily) without mentioning that they contained a lot of chilli and garlic, which are the two things that I would have thought people generally would want to know about. But that really was the only possible minor quibble with an absolutely superb lunch in a magnificent location. Well worth a visit.

1 comment:

grace said...

yes, it was a good post until you used the word obsequiousness. then, my friend, it became great. :)


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