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By Concrete Playground
December 07, 2017

Brisbane's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Honouring the best new additions to Brisbane's restaurant scene this year.
By Concrete Playground
December 07, 2017


Honouring the best new additions to Brisbane's restaurant scene this year.

Brisbane's cultural ecosystem is booming. Cafes and bars are opening on a (almost) weekly basis, restaurants and pubs are more forward-thinking and imaginative than ever and you can find innovative cultural events and pop-up spaces to visit every day of the week.

As we continue to attempt to define Australian cuisine, chefs continue to push the boundaries. We've seen (and tasted) emu tartare and black ants, eaten bao topped with dumplings and tasted whole kimchi-glazed fish in a cocktail bar

At Concrete Playground we encourage exploration and showcase innovation in our city every day, so we thought it fitting to reward those most talented vanguards pushing Sydney to be a better, braver city. And so, these six new restaurants — nominated in Concrete Playground's Best of 2017 Awards are the Best New Restaurants of 2017.

  • 6

    Uncontroversial opinion: you can never have too much pizza. Neighbourhood Pizza is a classy little pizza joint plonked squarely in the suburbs. A tightly edited menu features several greatest hits – the Hawaiian and a classic pepperoni, for instance – as well as branching out into more modern terrain with a zucchini, ricotta cream, goats cheese and preserved lemon vegetarian option.

    The sides are moorish and delicious — think meatballs, fries and crumbly mozzarella sticks. As with the pizza, the drinks list is also to the point. Experienced bar staff serve up a range of refreshing tipples, from a summer favourite Aperol Spritz to a whiskey apple, with the apples juiced to order, to the menu’s more experimental moments, like the Ink Gin Floral Martini.

  • 5

    Tatsu Yakitori Bar, the city’s newest food-on-a-stick haven, made its home in the Chinatown mall. It’s from the folks behind Izakana-Ya Okuman, which immediately boosts its cred. In addition to yakitori, which are available in two-skewer servings of your choice as well as a five-skewer set, you’ll also find salads, sashimi, bao, ramen, gyoza, the usual small bits and pieces (miso, edamame, tako wasabi), and deep-fried dishes such as spicy chicken karaage, soft shell crab, chicken wings and calamari rings. Cosy up in an open booth-like table under a Japanese-style mural and wash it all down with Aussie and Japanese beers, plum wine, shochu, sake, whisky and a selection of colourful house-special cocktails. And the best part? They’re open for lunch and dinner — keeping things cooking until midnight for a late night fix, too — every day of the week.

  • 4

    While the location and atmosphere comprise a hefty part of Hummingbird’s initial appeal, every eatery lives and dies based on one simple factor. Yep, that’d be the food. The standout: the mainstay that is the charcoal roast lamb rump ($33), which might turn black garlic caramel into your new preferred kind of caramel. As they’re fine dining-sized portions, adding a side — such as the tender roast pumpkin with curd and pine nuts ($12), or the roast potatoes baked in ash ($10) — is recommended.

    Flip through three pages of Australian, New Zealand and European wines, or get comfortable with the sizeable cocktail menu — where seven types of martinis, five bellinis and ten classics all beckon. The pomegranate and lemonade martini ($20) and raspberry tingle bellini ($14) are easy favourites, or keep things old school with an old fashioned ($18). Just prepare to splash around a little bit of cash — Hummingbird is a bit pricier than most Baroona Road fare, but you will have a thoroughly ace evening.

  • 3

    Once situated in Spring Hill, Happy Boy has landed in the heart of the Valley. Situated under dappled fairy lights on East Street, the new larger kitchen space has given the Happy Boy team room to play with the cuisines of Xinjiang, Canton and Sichuan. Dinner includes salt and pepper quail eggs ($10), hot and numbing beef cheek ($12) and the ever-classic Beijing duck pancakes ($16). Choose some vegetable dishes to supplement your mains, perhaps try the gold and silver broccoli with garlic ($15) or Many Mushroom Much Tofu with broccoli ($18). The strange taste cool chicken salad ($18) is well worth a look as well.

    Truly, the best option is simply to head along once and try what you like, and then come back a second time to tick the rest of your choices off the menu. The wine list is comprehensive, staff are knowledgeable and friendly and you’ll love the buzzing atmosphere of the open dining room. Truly, Happy Boy is a Valley must-do.

  • 2

    The owners of Donut Boyz and Hello Harry have brought their Hawker-style eatery from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane. On the menu you’ll find Korean fried chicken wings, crisp Peking duck spring rolls and four varieties of steamed bao (soft shell crab, pork, pork gyoza and chicken katsu). Yes, one of those options really does include dumplings on bao. Dumplings. On. Bao. Crisp gunpowder chicken ribs and Vietnamese noodle salads will also be cooked up in executive chef Mitch Smith’s kitchen, as will Gangnam fries (covered in house-made kimchi, nacho cheese sauce, nori and spring onion, and certain to get a K-pop song stuck in your head). Basically, expect to be spoiled for choice.

  • 1

    You don’t have to veer off the beaten path to find Woolloongabba’s Detour — physically, at least. Diving into its menu? That’s another thing entirely. When was the last time you ate emu tartare, gunpowder-cured salmon with black ants, octopus in miso butter or a Hawaiian curry? Or Kentucky Fried Duck with cornbread, the restaurant’s signature dish? They’re just some of the highlights offered by ex-Public chef Damon Amos’s kitchen since it started wowing east-side diners — and luring hungry folks from the rest of the city — early in 2017. Nestled into the cute-but-busy end of Logan Road precinct, the timber-heavy eatery aims to serve up a meal you’ll remember from its 18-main range, which is split into ‘omnivore’ and ‘herbivore’ dishes. A selection of beers such as Asahi, Samuel Adams and Holgate, and a cocktail menu filled with twists (capsicum margarita, anyone?) are also available.

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