Move over cheese board, charcuterie is flavour of the month. It seems every second restaurant is offering one, jumping on a trend that should perhaps best be left to the experts. With a board of cured meats, what could go wrong? Plenty, we assure you, but we're here to focus on a positive one.
And while we haven't tried them all, it's a safe bet none do it better than Aquitaine. Perhaps boasting the best charcuterie in Brisbane and at just $19, they're not taking your money for a ride.
All meats are cured in-house and our board featured dried wagyu, thinly sliced duck breast, serano ham, a hot chili salami and a delicious cube of ham hock terrine. Served with an assortment of miniature pickled vegetables, fruit jam, grissini and toasts, this is more art than food.
Set at River Quay, South Bank's semi-new riverside precinct, Aquitaine is a modern French brasserie with a casual dining feel. With spectacular views of the city both day and night, dining here is a relaxed experience with staff attentive enough, but giving space to enjoy the meal. Ordering the house bread ($7) is a must. The soft white bread was served with a salty French butter and confit garlic that spreads like, well, butter.
When the mains came out, it became clear that those with allergies should probably ask questions. The meals were more than what reads on the menu and had we known the Marseille Bouillabaisse ($34) came with bread we could have skipped the bread entrée. The bouillabaisse was otherwise delicious and flavours were well balanced with a generous serve of changing local fish and shellfish in a tomato, ricard and saffron base. In our case the fish was topped with a generous serve of mussels, half a bug and a giant prawn.
The coal grilled beef ($38) was beautifully served and deceptively filling. The potato rosties were presented as cubes alongside sharpened asparagus spears and mushrooms with a red wine jus. The actual cut of beef, however, didn't live up to the dish and was a little fatty and quite tough.
The night we visited staff were worked off their feet but still managed a good level of service, they prefer bookings and we hear on weekends you won't get in without one. Head to Aquitaine, put a wine in hand, ham hock in the other and take in the view at sunset. You won't regret this.