Top 100 QUEST: GERARD’S BISTRO, Brisbane

Vine leaf bound quail, almonds and rose, caramelized fig and smoked curd

 

This place is a cracker!  It’s a little hard to find as the entrance is off a narrow laneway, but it’s casual, comfy and quirky with good food and good service.  The décor is interesting – a combination of brick, wood and mosaic tiles.  The menu is also really interesting.  Based on shared plates, the food shows European, African and Middle Eastern influences.  It’s hard to order as everything sounds so good!  I love that.  Chef, Ben Williamson is well ensconced in the Brisbane restaurant scene having worked at both Cha Cha Chars (where I had the best dish of side vegetables I can remember) and other Top 100, Urbane.

It was lunchtime and we’d had a bit of alcohol the previous night so we forewent the wine (this rarely happens!) and opted for Bloody Mary’s all round, extra spicy.

Then for the food – firstly, the Yellowfin tuna, salted blackberries, black ants, Aleppo pepper, perilla – you picked your portion up with the perilla leaf that was sitting on top.  The tuna was so fresh and it was packed with flavour.  It also had a bit of a crunch which I assume was a combination of the blackberries and the ants.

The Soft poached quail eggs, sweet onion and dukkah – I love quail eggs and these were beautifully soft boiled.  This dish was a textural delight and I’m happy to say, there was no skimping on the quail eggs – a generous serving indeed.

I love my greens so we ordered the Coal-grilled broccolini and kale, green onions, shallot oil and lemon.  Very nice.  And to keep those veggies in good company, we also got the Fried cauliflower, currant grapes, ras el hanout and smoked almond.  It was a hit.

The three meat dishes were excellent.  Vine leaf bound quail, almonds and rose, caramelised fig and smoked curd.  For me, this was the winner.  Not only beautifully presented (although not too dignified for the poor quail), this dish had everything going for it.  Taste and texture.  Then the Suckling pig, roasted plum, smoked almonds and caramelised blood.  Small squares of pig that went beautifully with the plum.  Not too fatty, just right.  The Slow cooked lamb, smoked sweetbreads, eggplant, kashk, mint, barberries was hearty and generous.  I loved those sweetbreads.

There were smiles all round.  It’s always the sign of a good meal when everyone agrees that they would definitely go back again.  Great food and service at a good price.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

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