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Rothwell's Bar & Grill

This European-influenced restaurant hails from 1889 Enoteca's Dan Clark, with chef Ben Russell (Aria, Est Est Est) heading up the kitchen.
By Sarah Ward
December 07, 2021
By Sarah Ward
December 07, 2021

Step inside the heritage-listed Rothwell's building on Edward Street and, thanks to the new bar and grill that now shares its name, you can be forgiven for feeling like you're on the other side of the world. There's a firmly classic look and vibe to the space that previously housed Jamie's Italian — think: gleaming chandeliers that'd make Sia sing, white marble aplenty, leather booths decked out with vintage table lamps, and silver trays and carafes.

The latest venue from 1889 Enoteca's Dan Clark, Rothwell's Bar and Grill might call a 136-year-old Brisbane building home, but it takes its cues from hospitality institutions much further afield. London's The Savoy Grill and The Wolseley are two of them. Musso & Frank Grill in Los Angeles is another — as well as New York's entire dining scene.

For Brisbanites, the result is the kind of venue that aims to make you forget you're in the busiest part of the city — even if you've just made the dash from the Queen Street Mall or Central Station. Joining Clark is chef Ben Russell (ex-Aria, Est Est Est) and, together, they've shaped the newcomer after their favourite eateries from around the globe, following a quarter-century of scoping out the best dining rooms and bars the international scene has to offer.

The Rothwell's sit-down experience takes patrons to the 90-seat Marble Bar area, where all that Italian marble — and those aforementioned leather banquettes — provide a light yet intimate atmosphere. If you're just stopping by for a drink, however, the 40-seater Foyer Bar will be your destination. And, for bigger dinners and events, the private dinning room caters to 50 seated guests, or 100 folks standing. It's found in the building's cellar, so you'll be surrounded by 2000-plus bottles of wine, plus eye-catching sandstone walls.

Standout dishes include prawn cocktails and steak tartare among the starters; Moreton Bay bugs with café de Paris butter, tagliarini with sea urchin and caviar, and beef wellington from the mains; and chocolate trifle, pistachio brûlée with chocolate gelato, and berry salad with brown-butter ice cream from the dessert offerings.

Drinks options span martinis, old fashioned, negronis and Hemingway daquiri — again, the feel here is classic — which, at the bar, are paired with food choices such as oysters, niçoise salad and a club sandwich.

Wine lovers can also take advantage of that stacked cellar — which you can visit, and which also houses and sells wines bought from all around the world from Clark's own collection. If your bank balance doesn't quite let you afford a cognac from the 1890s (understandably so), you'll find tipples from all the usual producers, as well as from smaller names from regions such as Burgundy, Chablis, Bordeaux, Champagne and Barolo.

And, for digestifs, there's a dedicated armagnac cart, complete with bottles collected from Europe and dating back to the 1920s.

Images: Dean Swindell.

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