I know it’s shallow of me but to be honest what hooked me was the name, The Catbird Seat Bistro. Once I realised that owner/chef was James Guldberg (formerly of Piaf, The Sardine Tin and Aquitaine Brasserie) I was smitten as a kitten and eager to go check it out.
First to the name, the term ‘the catbird seat’ is a phrase used to describe an enviable position, often in terms of having the upper hand or greater advantage in all types of dealings among parties. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the first recorded usage occurred in a 1942 humorous short story by James Thurber titled The Catbird Seat.
I love a small menu and this one was exquisite. From tiny snacks to shared mains it would keep most diners very happy.
For starters I chose two items from the snacks menu; pork jowel, raspberry, provolone toast and smoked crispy egg, horseradish mayo (both $5). The tart raspberry was a lovely addition to the rich little toasts. The crispy egg was perfection but I would have loved a bigger hit of horseradish. Al chose the soup of the day from the entree menu, French Onion ($10). OMG! Perfectly balanced sweet and savoury. This dish of goodness hit all the right notes for both of us.
We very nearly went with the shared main of roasted free-range pork, purple carrots, mustard sauce and anise roasted apple ($50) but in the end Al went with the fish of day, Barra ($28) and I, predictably, went with the Siwa Fresh organic, free range slow braised goat, vintage carrols, poached quince, crisp onions ($27). The fish was beautifully cooked and the goat, married with the poached quince was melt in the mouth. Very happy diners.
For the sake of my readers 🙂 dessert is a must. It didn’t matter that I was full, I had to go the extra mile. Strawberries and cream, dark choc pudding with winter berries and mascarpone, fine apple and rhubarb strudel, caramel brandy sauce or petits fours (all $11). Dark choc pud, made to order, it was. While we waited chef presented us with the most gorgeous wooden jewel box full of precious little petits fours. Unexpected and so beautiful to look at, they tasted as good as they looked. Choc chilli, honeycomb, caramel, turkish delight, cardamon white chocolate, profiterole.
The Catbird Seat Bistro is charming and quaint with modest European decor and a friendly atmosphere. It’s the kind of place you look forward returning to, best enjoyed, I think, with the one you love.
2/888 Stanley Street East, East Brisbane
Ph: 07 3392 2645
Tues–Fri 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Sat 7:00 am to late, Sun 7:00 am to 3:00 pm