Review: Gerard’s Bistro (Brisbane, QLD)

14/15 James Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
+61 7 3852 3822
http://www.gerardsbistro.com.au/

I’m really digging Fortitude Valley’s trendy James Street precinct. Not only can I go here to get my Zimmermann and Gorman fixes while I’m in Queensland, I can also find some reliably decent restaurants, bars and cafés. So far, my favourite eatery on James Street is Gerard’s Bistro, a cool and sophisticated bar-slash-restaurant injected with a perfect amount of rusticity and charm.

I had dinner here one Saturday night with a Tinder date, a nice fellow Asian who worked as a doctor by day and rapper by night. Unlike myself, he wasn’t a foodie and had to resort to asking his mates for first date venue advice – luckily, his mates knew a thing or two about food and suggested Gerard’s.

We were there nice and early before the dining room got busy. As soon as we were seated and as soon as all the small talk got out the way (‘How often do you come to Brisbane?’, ‘Do you have any brothers or sisters?’ and ‘Are your Asian parents as tight as mine?’), we ordered a nice selection of dishes from the menu which was all about sharing plates. Even though the restaurant’s name sounded very Francocentric, the Ben William-designed menu dabbles in southern Europe, Middle Eastern and northern African flavours.

Monkfish, confit onions
Monkfish, confit onions

The first dish to arrive was one of the specials, the seared monkfish with radish and confit onions. The flesh was very powerful fishy taste which paired well with the onions and radish – if they had gone for a more delicate fish, the trimmings would have definitely overpowered it. It was a solid start to the meal.

Coal grilled octopus, smoked butter, almonds, chilli, green strawberry ($24)
Coal grilled octopus, smoked butter, almonds, chilli, green strawberry ($24)

The octopus was probably my favourite dish of the evening. The tender octopus pieces were grilled over coal so they subsequently had a lovely smoky taste, blending effortlessly with the creamy smoked butter and nutty almonds. In contrast, the green strawberries barely did anything to enhance the dish’s overall flavour profile.

Smoked bone marrow, salted cod and potato mousseline, burnt bread, sour herbs ($22)
Smoked bone marrow, salted cod and potato mousseline, burnt bread, sour herbs ($22)

The smoked bone marrow was another successful dish. Delicate it wasn’t and I didn’t think my dining companion was a big fan of the velvety rich marrow. I thought the addition of the salted cod would be overkill on such a rich dish but Williamson managed to get the balance down pat right to crispy bit of burnt bread that added a lovely crunch.

Smoked new potatoes, tahini yoghurt, sumac and pork floss ($14)
Smoked new potatoes, tahini yoghurt, sumac and pork floss ($14)

We ordered this dish partly because we wanted to carb load and partly because I get excited over pork floss – and it didn’t disappoint. I loved the richness of the smoky tender pieces of carby goodness against the nutty yoghurt’s creamy and cool texture.

Coal grilled goat loin with eggplant muhammara, pomegranate and walnut crumb
Coal grilled goat loin with eggplant muhammara, pomegranate and walnut crumb

Our final dish was another one from the specials menu, the super juicy grilled goat loin. The dish was Middle Eastern all over and a delicious mix of smoky, spicy and nutty flavours with the slightest hint of heat from the muhammara, a Syrian hot pepper dip.

Gerard’s Bistro was a place that I’d totally be happy ordering dessert at (and you know me, not a dessert person blah blah blah) – especially since they use fresh honey gathered from the beehive just on top of their restaurant. Unfortunately, my companion wasn’t too keen so we called it a night. Next time.

I never saw the guy again but I don’t want to say the same about Gerard’s – the food was fantastic, the ambience just right for either a date night or a gathering among friends and the service was quick, friendly and not intrusive. It’s a place I definitely want to return to, maybe for breakfast – or another dinner that does not involve Tinder.

Gerard's Bistro on Urbanspoon

I eat too much.

1 Comment

  1. Choc Chip Uru
    December 20, 2014

    Pork floss? Like fairy floss but pork? That is crazy! But cool 😛
    Lovely bistro!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply

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