Lately a number of Brisbane restaurants have started to offer fixed-price menus – a menu with several offerings but just one or two price options.
This is a common practice in Europe and is especially useful for regular lunches, travellers on a budget and for people who want to explore different restaurants. Sprout is a small suburban restaurant that offers a fixed-price menu – $55 for two courses or $70 for three courses. Sprout has recently changed hands and is now home to international French chef, Olivier Boudan whose menu has a distinctive French flavour with an Asian twist and changes regularly.
Entrées include a cold Soba Buckwheat Salad with Duck Breast, Beef Tartare, and Snails in Puff Pastry with a Truffle Cream. For mains there is a classic French grilled Eye Fillet – cooked perfectly – and served with sweet potato gratin. The oven-roasted Duck with Black Cherry Sauce and broad beans was moist but slightly over-cooked, yet had well-balanced flavours. The slow cooked Wallaby Shank (yes – wallaby!) was tender and fell off the bone, but the accompanying mint and green chilli mashed peas were far too salty. A side of home-made potato chips was an extra $8 and the mix of under-cooked and over-cooked wedges were cold.
One thing missing, especially from a French restaurant, was bread. There was no bread available except for toasted Turkish bread served with some dips for entrée. All good French food needs good bread to soak up the sauces!
A range of classic desserts include Raspberry Crème Brulée with lemon myrtle and rose sorbet, which was a little overburnt on the top. The Frozen Honey Nougat ice cream with raspberry coulis was soft, sweet and full of flavour. The home-made Crêpes Suzette with vanilla bourbon ice cream were excellent – the sweet marmalade flavours well complemented by the ice cream.
Sprout is BYO and charges $5 per person corkage. The food is inventive and well-balanced, although may be a little over-cooked and over-seasoned.
The atmosphere is bright and open with the walls covered in artworks by local artists that can be purchased – but the hard surfaces can be noisy when the restaurant is full. The service is, well, French – efficient but a little off-hand and a little slow.
Sprout is also open for breakfast serving a range of eggs, pancakes, omelettes and pastries – as well as Salmon Gravlax, oysters with pickled ginger and lime, and a Crab Eggs Benedict for something different!