What is the secret to running a restaurant? Many restaurants pride themselves on their fabulous, innovative food alone, serving complex works of art and degustation menus.
But great dining is often about more than just the food. It is the whole experience. A good meal can be ruined by poor service, while a marginal meal can be made much better with great service. The ambience, image and location of a restaurant also can be more important than the food alone and a great location can be vital to a restaurant’s success.
Stokehouse is a Melbourne institution, perfectly located at St Kilda beach. Stokehouse has also just opened in Brisbane – again, perfectly located on the river with stunning views of the city. The menu is “modern Australian” with a range of well-crafted dishes representing the flavours of Queensland.
The Pressed “Noosa Red” Tomato Terrine ($18) is beautifully presented in layers with a soft goats cheese sorbet and deep fried white anchovies. Great presentation with good flavours and textures. The Scallop Veloute ($24) is a delicate creamy scallop soup with an island of raw tartare Tin Can Bay scallops topped with caviar and cress, and tasted sublime.
The 200g Angus tenderloin ($45) was perfectly cooked and impossibly tender, melting in the mouth, but sadly was bland and lacked flavour – not uncommon with young grain-fed beef. A baton of potato and half a bulb of roasted garlic made up for this. The Squid Ink Linguini ($34) was perfectly al dente with a generous portion of Mooloolaba spanner crab cooked in garlic and chilli – a delicate blend of flavours.
We shared a salad of mixed greens with blood orange and pickled fennel with a very light sharp dressing which perfectly complemented the mains.
The signature dessert – The Bombe ($18) – is sliced from a log of frozen white chocolate parfait, coated in toasted meringue and served with strawberries and strawberry sorbet. Rich and decadent. We also shared the Poached Queensland Bananas ($16) served with nutmeg ice cream in a choux pastry bun with rum crème fraiche – quintessentially Queensland.
The wine list is quite extensive – if a little expensive. The staff are keen, professional and attentive. The food is well-prepared with a range of safe choices to please most palates. But, like its southern sister, the location will make this restaurant a local culinary landmark.