Aquitaine Brasserie takes its name from one of the 27 regions of France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. Transport me to a little bistro in France and I’d be a happy girl, but on this perfect Brisbane day I was equally happy to be sitting with friends Mr & Mrs H at Aquitaine on dusk by the Brisbane River.
After seeing a matinee show at QPAC, it was an early dinner but we were still welcomed warmly and offered the cocktail and wine list. The food is contemporary french bistro with a choice of five small plates, six entrees, eight mains and five side dishes.
The dish of the night was a beautiful entree of Beetroot Tarte with goats cheese, walnuts and balsamic onions. A classic flavour combination really well executed and such a pretty dish to look at. As expected, Mr H ordered the confit pork belly with carrot puree, Cognac currants and kohlrabi and declared this delicious.
One of my favourite French dishes is Bouillabaisse so I was excited to try this. Al chose the escalope of veal, jamon, tomato and radicchio and Mr & Mrs H ordered the shared dish of whole baked rack of lamb with mustard crust and Provencal vegetables.
The Bouillabaisse with rich with scampi, king prawns, mussels, white fish and one plump scallop. I found the seafood well cooked but the broth was a little strong in shellfish flavour. I had expected a more subtle balance between shellfish, fennel and tomato flavours. It was served with crusty bread and a creamy rouille. Mr & Mrs H reported that the lamb was tender and juicy and Al enjoyed his veal dish.
The wine list is a nice combination of both French and Australian wines and we enjoyed a bottle of D. Denis Pommier Pinot Noir. Seven whites, seven reds and three sparklings are available by the glass.
For dessert we ordered the classic Creme Caramel and the Chocolate Cork which turned out to be two baby chocolate fondants with clotted cream and orange curd. Although both desserts were nicely plated and tasted as you would expect there was no excited hand clapping, as I am prone to do, when excited by a dessert. All of the dishes were well executed but the star of the evening was the Beetroot tarte and I would visit Aquitaine again just for this dish.
Aquitaine is comparable in price to other restaurants on the river at Southbank and recently received a score of 14 in the Brisbane Good Food Guide. The staff are friendly and attentive and it was no trouble to split the bill at the end of the evening. Overall, a happy experience and a lovely place to enjoy the river and surrounds. If you aren’t up to a full meal, Aquitaine also has a small bar menu including Wagu beef sliders, Chorizo and kipflers, confit lamb ribs and a Charcuterie board with pickles, relishes and bread.
River Quay, Southbank