CONFIDENTIAL The champagne corks are about to pop at Damian Griffiths’ latest Fortitude Valley venture Les Bubbles
Parisian-style steak frites with a leaf salad, housemade baguette, butter, and a serve of bottomless fries for $33? If that doesn’t get you frothing about the debut on the Fortitude Valley scene of Frenchthemed steakhouse Les Bubbles, don’t fret, there’s plenty more to come. Like the white-tiled 240-person Bath-House bar tucked in beneath it, complete with a working 15-seat spa bath (and as the website says, “enough alcohol to fill it 20 times over”).
Bubbles Bath-House will also offer food, but just a clipped selection of French fries, with toppings ranging from barbecue brisket and smoked pork rillettes, to DIY frites with various sauces and salts. Both venues are due to kick off on Thursday, and they’re just the first salvos in entrepreneur Damian Griffiths’ ambitious Little Wick neighbourhood (based around Fortitude Valley’s Wickham and Little streets) which, when finished, will include Brisbane’s first permanent city winery and multiple other eateries.
The winery isn’t due until the end of the year, but Les Bubbles diners will be able to sample the fruits of Little Wick wines, such as an unfiltered grenache and a sauv blanc, available by the carafe, and riesling and pinot gris by the bottle and glass. These wines (and more) will share bar space with a swag of venuethemed cocktails, ranging from the Hush Money, based on a Cosmopolitan, through to The Dickie (a riff on The Hurricane), which is a nod to former Courier-Mail journalist Phil Dickie, acclaimed for exposing corruption in “The Moonlight State”.
“Upstairs will be quite formal – French bistro with red leather booths,” Griffiths says. “Downstairs it will be looser, with dude food. Everything will be handmade – 250g Cape Grim (grassfed Tasmanian) steaks with the fries cooked in beef tallow.”
Executive chef Norman Harvey will oversee a mainly French chef team headed by Benoit Cazaux.
BANKING ON A WINNER
If multiple Fortitude Valley shenanigans weren’t enough to keep Griffiths and co busy, he’s also planning a fresh venture at South Bank – in the space formerly occupied by T-Licious on Grey St. A new ice-creamery, Mr Fitz (a hat tip to Tony Fitzgerald, who led the Fitzgerald
THE RICE IS RIGHT
Fat Dumpling operators, the Wang family, have quietly opened a second casual Northern Chinese-accented venue in Fortitude Valley.
Called Mi + Mian (which means rice and noodles in Chinese) it’s part of the Bakery Lane precinct, off busy Ann St. While existing eatery Fat Dumpling on Brunswick St specialises in Shandongstyle dumplings, Mi + Mian offers anything from chicken noodle soup and other home-style rice and noodle dishes, through to spring rolls and salads. They also sell lu bao (Northern Chinese panfried filled buns) and hu shao (flatbread pies filled with the likes of pork and cabbage or chicken and snow peas). Wang matriarch Janet Cao is in the kitchen.
CONCRETE PLANS FOR COAST
Noosa’s popular Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co is putting out a shingle at Surfers Paradise, bringing its classic burgers and custard ice creams to the Gold Coast. Operator David Hayles hopes the bigger – about 100-seat – store will be open at the Chevron Renaissance Centre by mid-November. Hayles also confirmed he’s seeking space in Brisbane and has plans to take Betty’s interstate in the longer term.
Seaduction at Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise has scored a new executive chef, replacing Steve Szabo who quit unexpectedly last month.
Reuben Radonich will take the helm at the one star Gold Coast restaurant on September 21. Radonich, who worked for several years at Season Restaurant in Peppers Salt Resort at Kingscliff, plans a fresh approach, targeting repeat business and bums on seats.
“It will be hip, funky and fresh – using local produce served in a modern style, but using classical techniques,” he says. “It will be similar in style to the food at Season but a step up.”
Radonich says he’s less concerned about fine dining and keener to appeal to hotel guests and locals.
DIVING IN DELAYED
Hayley Lewis, Olympic swimmer and TV host, has delayed plans to add cafeowner to her growing CV. Lewis, who owns cute Balmoral gift-shop Coming Up Roses, had planned to kick off a 30seat in-house coffee shop before the end of the year. It’s now unlikely to eventuate before February. Chef Lee Everett of Paleo Cafe fame will be overseeing the sweet treats and Lewis says it won’t just be raw and grain-free fare. “I’m a big lover of butter and everything fattening so there will be Paleo, gluten-free and full-fat goodies!”
READY TO WOK ‘N’ ROLL
Fusion eatery Mamasan Kitchen & Bar at Broadbeach finally fired up its woks last week – nearly six months later than expected. The Oracle Broadbeach tenant, with chef Ray Choi (ex-China Doll, Sydney) at the burners is the handiwork of Moo Moo The Wine Bar & Grill co-owner JP Duitsch. Editor Anooska Tucker-Evans firstname.lastname@example.org Food Editor Sharnee Rawson email@example.com Design Anne-Maree Lyons Chief Sub Patricia Pennicott Contributors Fiona Donnelly, Rory Gibson, Des Houghton, Matt Preston Advertising Belinda MacPherson (07) 3666 8877 firstname.lastname@example.org Cover: Picture: David Kelly