The Courier-Mail - QWeekend

Urban oasis on the right track

Pan-Asian eatery Southside sits amid a lush landscape beneath a rail overpass

- Review ANOOSKA TUCKER-EVANS

It was an eyesore. Concrete-heavy, graffitied and blusterous. The rail overpass tracking across South Brisbane’s burgeoning Fish Lane was like a mole on a supermodel’s face – part of its DNA and interestin­g in its own way, but something you couldn’t help but wonder if it would look better without. Not anymore.

Acclaimed Brisbane architects Richards + Spence and developers Aria Property Group have transforme­d the once-derelict blot on the landscape into what feels like a subterrane­an oasis – lush with palms, cycads and ferns. Think Jurassic Park without any of the scary dinosaurs.

Embedding itself into this new industrial jungle is Southside – a casual but elegant panAsian eatery from the team that brought us Rick Shores on the Gold Coast and Brisbane’s nowdefunct Little Valley. With an outdoor booking, diners can sit among the lush rainforest surrounds only reminded they’re in the city by the shudder of a train passing overhead.

The vibe continues inside with Richards +

Spence designing a stunning multi-level space of soaring ceilings, red brick and their signature arched windows and concrete curves.

The terracotta-hued downstairs opens onto the jungle outside through full-length vertically folding windows, which eliminate almost all train noise when closed. While upstairs boasts a small bar and another dining space flanked by a captivatin­g arched window (there’s also another level with a private dining room for about 20). Hanging plants across both main floors reinforce the idea that you could perhaps be lost among the temples of the Myanmar jungle. Playing into the exotic location is the food. After the owners made the heartbreak­ing decision in October last year to close contempora­ry Chinese restaurant Little Valley, they have transporte­d a handful of their signature dishes across to Southside, while broadening the menu to incorporat­e influences from across East Asia, but also giving them a modern, Australian spin.

Chef Benny Lam of Brisbane’s beloved Enjoy

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