Get a taste of ‘hotel haute’ cuisine at an international hotel.

I love just sitting in the foyer watching the comings and goings – all the different cultures, tourists, business people, airline staff and other travellers. Restaurants within international hotels are more often than not a compromise; high quality food but generally serving a range of dishes and cuisines to suit the needs of the differing tastes and needs of the house guests – from club sandwiches to steak with béarnaise sauce and peach melba.

Privé 249, the premium restaurant within Sofitel Brisbane, is not one of these. Privé is an elegant, contemporary French restaurant serving an ambitious fine dining menu. Entrées include oysters, scallops and foie gras – all with a fresh authentic twist. We shared the Lobster and Crab Cocotte ($38) – a generous serve of lobster and crab meat with a tangy beetroot and pomegranate salad, which was light and fresh.

The main course, Joue de Boeuf ($42), was simply melt in the mouth – tender beef cheeks slow-cooked with truffles and parsley served with polenta
– rich, earthy and very moreish. The King George Whiting ($46) was firm yet perfectly cooked and served with baby vegetables almost too cute to eat and a subtle foamy Botarga (fish roe) sauce. For dessert, the understated Citrus Sphere ($22) was simply sensational.

Delivered in person by the chef on a plate of smoking dry ice, this impossibly light, thin and crisp meringue sphere is filled with a fabulous citrus ice cream, decorated with a hot caramel sauce and warm blood orange segments. An ambitious presentation with a superb contrast of flavour and textures.
The executive chef is Australian-born Craig Napper, who has more than 20 years experience both locally, at Augustines and Baguette, and internationally. Craig has created a French-influenced menu employing fresh Australian ingredients with sublime flavours, combined with technical competence.

The service is exceptional – white gloved, attentive and personal, perhaps a little over the top for today’s more casual expectations but perfect in this environment. The glass-topped tables reflect the slightly dark pendant lamps and city lights of Anzac Square, providing an elegant atmosphere conducive to the decadence of a very contemporary French-inspired menu.

There is an extensive wine list of both local and imported wines with several excellent wines by the glass. For the more ambitious, there are two excellent value degustation menus. This is Hotel Haute Cuisine at its best.