Certain times of the year, dining on the Brisbane River just doesn’t get any better. Stokehouse Brisbane is perfectly positioned to take in the river, the city lights and during September, the buzz of Southbank during Brisbane Festival time. It was also our choice for dining with friends visiting from the UK.
Stokehouse, although relaxed in style has an air of grown-up dining. The staff are beautifully presented, efficient and willing to engage in friendly banter if that’s the kind of dining you enjoy.
After being seated at a premium table with a glittering view we were offered tap, bottled sparkling or bottled still water. One of our Brissie friends made the comment that restaurants should offer filtered tap water as a standard practice. Many of us drink filtered water at home but usually you are only ever offered tap water that may or may not be filtered. If you asked the question, I wonder whether the wait staff would know the answer.
Onto the food…
To start we ordered:
- Wagyu beef carpaccio, shaved brussel sprouts, reggiano, jamon, truffle vinaigrette ($24)
- Local spanner crab, green strawberries, lime crème fraiche, chardonnay dressing ($26)
- Pistachio crusted Rannoch Farm quail, parmesan and truffle cream, watercress($25)
My dish was the carpaccio. Presented on a black plate it was impressive when placed in front of me. At first I thought I can’t possibly eat all of that but it was so light and full of flavour. The Wagyu melted on the tongue, the shaved brussel sprouts were genius and I loved the little hint of truffle coming through in the vinaigrette.
Our friends Retta and D ordered the quail and Al, Fi and Raf ordered the spanner crab. I didn’t taste the quail but I sneaked a mouthful of the spanner crab dish from Al’s plate and it positively screamed summer is coming!
For mains each of us ordered something different so I had lots to photograph.
- South Australian clams, garlic, chilli, shallot, parsley, squid ink linguine ($36)
- Green pea, lemon & spring onion risotto, minted crème fraiche (entree size $23)
- Braised beef cheek, potato gnocchi, cherry tomato, basket pressed ricotta, basil ($34)
- Roasted Gooralie pork loin, smoked jowl, celeriac, ruby grapefruit, radicchio ($41)
- Roasted barramundi, shaved S.A. squid, piperade, chorizo, sheeps milk labna ($38)
- The steak special of the day, eye of Scotch fillet ($45)
Although I didn’t taste the clams and squid ink linguine this was such a pretty dish to look at. Raf said it reminded him of Medusa’s hair (in a good way).
I’ve ordered the risotto dish at Stokehouse before and absolutely loved it. On this particular evening it was a little too set for my liking. The pea, lemon, spring onion and mint flavours work beautifully together but the consistency just didn’t seem right.
Fi proclaimed her beef cheek gnocchi dish to be delicious. It looked pretty and I would have happily dived in myself but I was sitting just out of reach 😦
The look on Retta’s face when she tasted all the flavours of her pork dish in one mouthful was priceless. A real winner.
- Chocolate & hazelnut mousse, lemon curd, chocolate gelato ($20)
- Passionfruit soufflé, fig leaf ice-cream, white chocolate & almond crunch ($21)
- Affogato – vanilla bean ice-cream, espresso, amaretto, biscotti ($16)
I had already looked at the dessert menu online so I knew I had to leave a little room (hence ordering two entrees) but in the end I was glad I shared a dish with Retta. No way I could have managed to get through the rich little chocolate and hazelnut mousse number without some help. The flavours in this dessert were worthy of hand-clapping. The sharpness of the lemon curd was a brilliant foil for the smooth mousse and the gelato was bitter chocolate, just as it should be.
The prettiest and most fragrant dessert was Al’s passionfruit souffle. So light, it just makes you happy looking at it. I was intrigued by the fig leaf ice-cream. It had a slight bitter aftertaste which I really liked. What could have been a very sweet and cloying dessert, was perfectly balanced and very enjoyable.
Fi , Raf and D all went with the boozy Affogato. I think this sweet ending needs more ice-cream and a few more biscotti’s to offset the Amaretto. The other desserts that almost had me were the pressed apple, burnt vanilla, cinnamon sponge with ginger crumb and the pineapple and white chocolate mousse, almond crunch, mint gel (both $19).
Stokehouse is a special occasion restaurant and let’s face it when is dining out not a special occasion! Whether that means a birthday dinner, a date night or showing your gorgeous friends from the UK one of Brisbane’s best dining experiences. Al and I have been several times now and we’ve never been disappointed. The food is classy and the menu is not at all intimidating. It’s fresh and seasonal and you can tell the kitchen crew really care. It’s a Brisbane dining must do.
Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank
Ph: 07 3020 0600