|The Atrium still dominates|
A few weeks ago I asked when was the last time you had been to Sirromet Winery. Now I’m asking you when was the last time you visited the Brisbane Hilton? The answer for me was, a lonnnnggg time ago. I distinctly recall the tradition of the massive buffet breakfast with lashings of chocolate on Easter Sunday as an annual get together for the ‘bright young things’. Coupled with a visit to the newly opened Myer Centre in April 1988 including a ride on the Pirate Ship and roller coaster (yep, there were rides inside the shopping centre kiddies), it was the heady height of decadence. I’d also visited fine dining establishment ‘Victoria’s’ on one occasion. But then life took over and I hadn’t been back
The Brisbane Hilton* is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary and has just undertaken a massive $14 million refurbishment. I swung past on a Thursday lunch time and my!, things are little different at the Hilton nowadays. There’s no vines cascading down from planter boxes in the atrium, no over starched fine dining restaurant, no wildly tropical themed artwork nor a chocolate buffet in sight. In their place is a minimalist atrium and subdued bar in neutrals with red leather seating and, an open plan restaurant called Vintaged Bar + Grill. In these competitive times, the Hilton has given the concept of dull ‘hotel restaurant’ the flick and gone with a restaurant that even the locals will visit.
|The Wine Room – make sure you visit!|
Vintaged is large and there’s a lot going on. They’ve reclaimed some of the dead space in the walkway to put in more tables, Victoria’s is now a private dining room and a Chef’s Table has been added where you and eight of your closest friends can be right up front where the action is and watch the chef prepare your meal. There’s a great looking wine room that dominates the restaurant, where you are welcome to go in and choose your wine in the company of one of the wait staff, who have all been sommelier trained. Impressive as the wine room is, the cheese trolley that resides in the wine room is even more thrilling, to me at least.
We sat at the Wine Table with a large trough running down the centre, full of ice, wine, beer and bottled water. We were there to try the lunch special of a main and wine or craft beer for $20. I selected the john dee short rib w potato puree & gremolata and the +1 had kurobuta twice cooked pork belly w colcannon potato & mustard jus. The white wine on offer was a Sirromet Sauvignon Blanc but as we had a bottle of that open in the fridge at home, we both chose a Shiraz. The room was filling quickly but the meals arrived in good time and were enormous.
The beef rib was Flinstone-esque in size. The meat just melted off the bone, the texture not dissimilar to tender corned beef. Very enjoyable with the creamy mash but it needed something a little crunchy for contrast. A few beans perhaps. The pork belly was also well cooked and the crackling was the thinnest and crispiest I’ve had in a while, easily snapped like a sheet of toffee. Again, no other veges on the plate observed the +1. At lunch there could be a little less protein on the plate at and a few vegetables to balance the meal. It’s hard to complain about the value though for the clear quality of the ingredients and care taken during cooking.
|Fish & Chips|
As the name implies, the menu focuses on the grill and quality meats and seafood. You can wander over to the grill and take a look inside the dry aged meat cabinet that I at first mistook for a work of art as it is back lit through bricks of Himalayan pink rock salt. There’s a good looking set dinner menu with three courses for $65 as well as a broad ala carte range. Considering a takeaway from a food court is over $10 and a very average pub meal costs more than $20, this is exceptionally good value.
I also visited the next day on my own dime, with colleagues and got to sample the blue eye trevally w chips & pea mash. This meal was marginally smaller than the one I’d enjoyed the day before but more than adequate in size and thoroughly enjoyable. I recommended the short rib to my friend as a ‘man sized’ meal and he could not have been happier with the portion of tender beef. They were mightily impressed with the fact that the three of us could rock up, order a good quality meal and drink and be in and out in a hour. For anyone who’s looking to meet up with friends or thinking of straying into an Irish pub or faddish pasta joint, I commend instead, this very stylish, grown up $20 lunch to you.
*TIFFIN attended Vintaged Bar + Grill as a media guest of the Brisbane Hilton.
Vintaged Bar + Grill
Level 6 190 Elizabeth St
(entry also via lift from Queen St Mall)
Brisbane Qld 400