Bacchus was the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility. It’s a fitting name for this Brisbane restaurant, let me tell you why…
I was lucky to snatch tickets to opening night of Aladdin and wanted to show my friend, Benny some of the beautiful food Brisbane has to offer.
Enter the Bacchus pre-theatre menu. Limited choice (seriously, if you need me at the theatre by 7.30pm, I CANNOT have the full range of options!), and still I had issues deciding which to go for. Bacchus is in South Bank too, right across from QPAC thankfully, otherwise we would probably have been late.
Of course I went right into questioning Andrew, the phenomenal Bacchus Sommelier about his wine list. Andrew said that while there were LOTS of suggestions for what to put on the extensive list, he listened to no one. He created the list himself five years ago and nobody else has touched it since. I could happily waste a month of Sundays coming to visit just to taste the wines!
It was a hot day so we thought we would start with a white wine. Andrew picked the Woodlands chardonnay. I am one of those weird people that enjoys very oaked and smoky wines and this one matched my tastes.
The warm bread arrived, made in house. Superb.
The amuse-bouche followed. A spinach and tapioca-chip ricotta with blue tea foam – the sweet baby blue is naturally coloured. Next to that was the deep-fried pecorino croquette with mortadella mousse – delicious and full of flavour. The oysters were quite a surprise, filled with an oyster sponge, carrot and ginger puree and puffed quinoa. They were light and filled with flavour. What a way to set the stage for a meal!
For our entrees, we shared the beef tartare and the squid ink and kingfish gnocchi. The beef tartare (O’Connor eye fillet), with hand cut mustard seeds, crostini and topped with a quail egg was just a taste of the quality of what we were in for next.
The winning dish for me was the squid ink and kingfish gnocchi. First of all, it looks gorgeous. Stark black poufs on the plate with vibrant orange dollops and green dressing. When I learnt how it was created, I was even more impressed. There is no flour and no potato in the gnocchi. And that gorgeous dollop of sauce is tomato purée, sitting on cannellini puree and sprinkled with tomato dust. Mussels and Stradbroke Island cuttlefish give the dish some more texture, a bit of crunch. The tomato puree is a perfect twist, a pop of acidic flavour. Nicely done Chef Speroni.
When I praised the entrees, the waitress probably summed it up best when she said, ‘the tasting menu is the best, they don’t want to offer any half way dishes.’
Cue the apple and rosemary granita for a palette cleanser.
While I have dined at Bacchus Brisbane a number of times (it’s a favourite), it was my friend’s first visit to the restaurant. He reminded me just how spectacular the design is. Stunning rich brown leathers and mahogany wood with warm lighting makes for quite an opulent feel. It oozes quality. You quickly realise the staff and the food are of that exceptional quality too, you know you are being well taken care of and in great hands.
We went with white wines to match our mains, the kingfish and the herb risotto. A Murdoch Hill chardonnay and a Dog Point Marlborough – perfectly matched by Andrew.
The herb risotto with fennel, chevre and blood orange dust was delicious. It’s one of those comforting meals you have to purposefully consider making each mouthful last longer.
The corn really bought the kingfish dish together, with the textures changing each bite of the succulent fish. Marinated corn, dehydrated corn, popcorn – all subtle taste changes and textures for each mouthful.
Had I have had the time I would have also chosen a dessert but Aladdin was calling. Or rather, Genie was getting ready to hypnotise the crowd with his captivating eyebrows.
With the pre-theatre menu you can choose an entrée or a dessert and a main with a wine. Phenomenal value at $69 and the quality and taste is up with the very best to try in Brisbane. They have packages for overnight stays too – I wish I had considered that earlier.
While we were dining I also took the opportunity to try the house red. I was so impressed that I asked the Sommelier to come back and explain why it was so impressive. He explained that he felt there was no need for house wine to be sh*t. After travelling around Europe and experiencing the house wines there for many years, he felt it was important to bring something like that to Bacchus. And the result? A wine so good the wine house even put their brand on it! A Bacchus Shiraz, from the Barossa Valley made by Kaesler. Give it a try next time you’re there and let me know if you agree on the taste and the quality.
PS. Bacchus is the Queensland home of Dom Perignon, the champagne is offered by the glass! For this champagne and wine fiend, Bacchus is a VERY happy place to visit.
I hope to try one of their degustation menus one day too.
**While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is completely authentic and true. I have dined at Bacchus many times over the years and will continue to do so.