The season of feasting is upon us! What better way to get your fill than by sampling a number of little meals, all beautifully crafted and decadently dressed? We take a look at Brisbane’s best degustation dinners that warrant a healthy appetite and elastic waistbands.
Situated on the riverfront is sophisticated dining establishment, Esquire. Chef Ryan Squires creates new daily menus based on market produce. Kitchen creations often take an unusual ingredient or unfamiliar cut of meat, working it into an edible masterpiece. Degustation menus are your only option here for both lunch and dinner seatings, with menu items not always as straightforward as they seem. We tried the “popcorn” which came out as a sweetcorn, tarragon, salt and caramel dust parfait that blended these unique flavours gorgeously. Recent spring dishes include a blue swimmer crab and macadamia dish, or lamb with basil, black cardamom and anchovy. A wide-ranging wine list compliments plate after plate of beautifully cooked mini-meals, with a matching degustation wine option also available.
145 Eagle St, Brisbane City. Tel: 3220 2123.
Deer Duck Bistro
For a more relaxed atmosphere, the quirky furnishings, antique cutlery and mismatched colourful china used at Deer Duck Bistro provides a funky way to enjoy plates and plates of food. The seasonal degustation menu is centred on freshly foraged ingredients. Here you can sit down to a seven course degustation menu that also comes in a vegetarian version. The menu doesn’t give too much away, with only the main three ingredients from each list included. We loved the three-day cooked blade beef, pumpkin puree, onion rings, mustard cress topped with leek dust, which was melt-in-your-mouth. New offerings include dishes with Trevally (a giant kingfish), courgette and tomato, with a dessert created from lavender, raspberry and almond. A 2 or 3 course a la carte menu is also available here.
396 Milton Rd, Auchenflower. Tel: 3870 8482.
The leader in the number of degustation menus available, Bacchus caters to all-sized appetites with a full seven course degustation, a four course petit degustation or a three-course chef’s selection. If that’s not enough choice, there is also a vegetarian degustation, a vegan degustation and even a dessert degustation. Highlights from the seven course degustation include the cold smoked duck breast with pickled Asian vegetables, and pistachio polenta cake served with lemon yoghurt sorbet. We also love the clearwater pan roasted scallops with wild rice, Jamon Iberico, and spiced Yellowfin Tuna with watermelon, ricotta and basil pesto. Again, matching wines take the beautiful dishes from here to a whole new level of food appreciation.
Corner of Grey and Glenlg Streets, South Bank. Tel: 3364 0837.
A Brisbane leader of one-bite dishes, Urbane offers the choice of a five course, or eight course degustation, for both omnivores and herbivores. Previous menu highlights include the sweetbreads, with charred leek and onion which used duck tongue cooked to perfection so that the usual concern of a floury sweetbread texture was abated. Again, the menu here only hints at the beautiful dishes about to be presented at the table. New additions include cauliflower served with sunflower seed and buckwheat, or wagyu served with greens and juniper. A very impressive wine list makes ordering a full bottle or opting for the matching degustation wines a difficult choice.
181 Mary St, Brisbane City. Tel: 3229 2271.
85 Miskin St
Back out to the ‘burbs, 85 Miskin St has been a favourite among locals for a good reason. The eight course degustation is one of the more affordable around, featuring highly creative little plates of food. Fresh on the menu is a lush glazed lamb belly, with carrot, hazelnut dukkah and smoked goats chevre. There is also a rich chilled sweat pea veloute with whipped ricotta and jamon. Matching wines are an option, and a $45 five-course lunch tasting menu is also available Wednesday to Saturday. For those who like a fancy start to the day, a four course breakfast degustation is also available which is a fun way to catch up with friends. From this menu, the decadent pan fried chorizo, caramelised onion, chickpea fritters with roasted tomato and feta is an absolute winner.
85 Miskin St, Toowong. 3371 4558.
Which venue offers your favourite degustation dinner? Let us know in the comments below!