The Brisbane Hotel is one of the leaders in what could be termed the revamped pub stakes – renovating and upgrading an older style place and giving a modern, fresh and contemporary feel to it.
It has been around in its current incarnation for about 10 years and has won a number of awards for the architecture and the quality of what it turns out in the way of service and food.
Certainly it looks the goods – excellent beer garden, comfortable and attractive bar and dining area and serving food a cut above “pub grub”. Along with its stablemate, the Boulevard in Floreat, it also offers a top class wine list with a very good by the glass selection.
The menu is made up of share plates, pizzas, mains and daily specials, as well as a couple of prix fixe specials.
We sat inside one overcast day recently, happily ensconced in the dining area and looked over the offerings.
To start, we ordered a bowl of mixed olives and pizza Bianca to pick at while our mains were prepared. A nice mix of olives, small and large, was delivered up with a board crammed with warm, crispy, chewy, salty, herby bread; a very good version of pizza Bianca indeed.
With this, we sipped on a glass of Howard Park Jeté Rosé for Lady FWO – lifted strawberry and brioche aromas; a creamy palate characterised by fine acid, red berry flavours and a crisp, dry finish – and one of RieslingFreak No.3 Riesling for me – a lovely example of Clare Riesling, lemons and limes on the nose, with a touch of musk, and a rich palate of limes, lemon and apples.
After our apéritif, and for our mains, we moved onto a bottle of Spanish tempranillo– 2010 Tarsus de Quinta Crianza – strong aromas of black plums and cherries, coffee and spice; a smooth palate, some meaty tones, lots of dark fruit flavours; good current drinking and a good accompaniment to our food.
We chose grilled spring chicken and one of the daily specials, pan fried snapper with risotto.
The chicken, breast and leg, had been well grilled, crispy skinned with moist and tender, well- seasoned, flesh. It was served with what was to all intents a deconstructed Caesar salad – cos lettuce, pancetta scattered over, with croutons, sprinkled parmesan, slivers of delightfully salty and vinegary anchovy, and a soft boiled egg.
The fish had a salty, crisped skin protecting the sweet, tender flesh; well-cooked retaining firmness, and the risotto al dente, wet, glistening and well-seasoned, with a cheek of lemon to add to the zesty savoury, flavours of the rice.
The food at the Brisbane is without pretension, well cooked, well prepared, good value; the wine and drinks on offer definitely a cut above the run of the mill pub; and the service top class.
Combined with the ambience of the place, and its location – a halfway point between Northbridge and Highgate dining and drinking strips, definitely worth a visit. On a sunny day sitting in the beer garden is hard to beat.