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Eagle Street boasts a holiday-style seafood restaurant and bar with killer river views from the Naga Thai team.
By Sarah Ward
April 02, 2023
By Sarah Ward
April 02, 2023

In a river city like Brisbane, eating, sipping and kicking back by the water — or in sight of it — is the hospitality holy grail. That's true along Eagle Street, where waterside restaurants and bars pair their menus with impressive vistas. And it's a big drawcard at Tillerman, the CBD roadway's latest addition, which opened its doors inside Riparian Plaza back in 2022.

A restaurant can't get by on views alone, of course. Tillerman's riverfront location includes a vantage over the river across to the Story Bridge, with that sparkling vision able to be glimpsed from all tables. But restaurateurs Andrew and Jaimee Baturo, plus Naga Thai chef Suwisa Phoonsang, want their food and drink offering — and the just-opened venue's decor and mood, too — to be as much of an attraction.

Serving customers from lunch onwards from Tuesday–Sunday, Tillerman marks the latest collaboration between the Baturos and Phoonsang, after Naga Thai has shut its doors at Eagle Street Pier — the fact that the riverside precinct is being torn down to make way for a new $2.1-billion development will do that.

Clearly the trio can't get enough of that part of the CBD, or the waterfront. And this time, nestled into the mezzanine level between Madam Wu and River Bar, they're focusing on seafood, that watery backdrop and a relaxed holiday-style vibe.

First, the decor — with Brisbane's Hogg & Lamb taking cues from travel across a timber-heavy setup that seats guests at both high and low tables, banquettes and mini booths. Spotted gum features heavily around the 120-seater space, the main bar spans ten metres in length, and floral and botanical prints help add a breezy, comfortable feel. Textured porphyry stone sits among the floorboards, too, and pendant lighting adds a glow. Plus, three backlit portholes draw the eye while adding a touch of nautical theming.

For folks looking for an intimate dining experience with their nearest and dearest, there's also a glam private dining room behind a sheer copper curtain, with a wine wall lining one side.

In the kitchen, Phoonsang has designed a menu that's guided by fresh, premium seafood, rather than a particular cuisine or culture — but the culinary range takes inspiration from the best dishes found around the world. Highlights include Fremantle octopus carpaccio, fish 'Sanga', seared kingfish with crepes, fish of the day served with nuoc cham, Balmain bugs and salt-baked Murray cod, spanning both small bites and mains.

Tillerman doesn't only serve up seafood, though. Among the other standouts: wagyu flanks, crumbed lamb backstrap, tarte tartin of roasted seasonal vegetables, and tempura zucchini flowers stuffed with macadamias, feta and thyme.

And, for dessert, choices cover rum and raisin deep-fried ice cream, lemon meringue pie, and chocolate mousse with brown butter, confit-spiced pear, peanut praline and cocoa sorbet.

Tillerman brisbane restaurant

The drinks lineup also nods in a clear direction: the world's oceans and waterways, fittingly. With that in mind, Tillerman's signature martini is called is the Mariner Martini, and uses Never Never Oyster Shell Gin.

Or, there are four types of daiquiris built on Plantation 3 Stars white rum, plus six gin and tonics. Flavours to look out for include earl grey, lemon and fennel, musk, and watermelon and cucumber among the daiquiris, and elderflower, hibiscus and rosemary in the G&Ts.

The vino offering spans 30 wines via Coravin from a 150-tipple list all up, with whites from Veneto and Margaret River, pinot noirs from the Mornington Peninsula, and reds such as grenache and chilled provencal rosés a big feature. And, as well as bubbles, the sherry and port selection gets a hefty focus, while the full drinks range also covers beer, cider and spirits.

Food images: Judit Losh.

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