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A Birthday Treat – OTTO Brisbane

Mr Tiffin finally made it to 50. The baby of the group, there is always a drawn out wait until he leaps the hurdle of a milestone birthday. Meanwhile, some in the group are powering on to the next one. To mark this significant occasion, four of us had a slap up meal at OTTO Brisbane.

otto branded wineglass sitting in front of table lighting

OTTO was recently awarded its second hat in the Good Food Guide. Thankfully, I made a booking before the awards, so was able to get a table with river and Story Bridge views on a bustling Saturday night.

view of the Story Bridge in Brisbane, from otto restaurant

Rather than muck around with individual dishes and wine pairings, we splashed out on the seven course tasting menu with matching wines. It’s not cheap but it does mean you can relax and take your time, knowing you will be well cared for throughout the night.

There’s a Reason for Two Hats

The menu at OTTO is firmly Italian. It is interesting to note that the Brisbane tasting menu is different from its sister restaurants’ in Sydney, showcasing local-ish produce.

In some respects, there is almost nothing to ‘review’ as the food was well prepared, presented and tasted superb. Service was excellent. As you would expect (but sometimes don’t get) in a highly regarded restaurant. Instead, I’ll focus on some highlights:

  • Carpaccio di Manzo – a traditional raw beef carpaccio with capers, Parmesan and dressing. The Rangers Valley Beef was meltingly tender and almost creamy with the addition of the dressing. It paired well with the sharp capers, umami of the cheese and slightly bitter rocket. One of our friends wasn’t keen on beef so the kitchen substituted carpaccio of kingfish without skipping a beat. This simple classic was my favourite dish of the night.
beef carpaccio with parmesean curls and rocket
  • Fiori di Zucchini – fried, stracciatella stuffed zucchini flowers. Not much to look at on the plate buy my oh my, these crisp, cheesy morsels were as good as it gets.  The roasted capsicum pesto gave piquancy to each crunchy, creamy mouthful.
fried zuchinni flower on rosted capsicum sauce sprinkled with grated cheese
  • Guancia di Maiale – Gooralie pork cheek with garlic, charred onions and almonds. What’s not to like about a slow cooked piece of pork? Nothing, that’s what. The mustard gave some bite to the dish and the tangy kumquats were a perfect foil for the fatty pork cheek.
pork cheek with a garnish of mustard, charred onion and salad leaves

An Unusual Combination

There was one dish that I was less of a fan of. It was my least favourite dish of the night.

  • Ravioli – The strong flavour of the black garlic crema was too much for the delicate filling of crab and marscapone.  I found the sauce on the ravioli overwhelmed the sweet Moreton Bay swimmer crab. There were some murmurs of agreement at the table but the plates were still cleaned.
otto ravioli with black garlic sauce broken open to show sandcrab filling

A dessert of Mango Cream and Licorice Gelato and another of Chocolate Mousse and Hazelnut Crunch were enjoyable but not necessarily memorable. I love a dessert but they were hard pressed to compete against the mains on this occasion.

otto dessert of chocolate tuille and hazelnut gelato

Wines were Italian, with an emphasis for this menu at least, on the northern regions of Piedmont and Aosta. I know nothing of Italian wines so was glad to be guided through by the sommelier. They took some effort to explain grape varieties, styles and  importantly (from my perspective), why the particular wines matched the dishes we were eating. It was a little noisy and sometimes difficult to hear everything the sommelier said but we were simpatico. Happy Birthday Mr Tiffin.

otto sign with brisbane customs house in background

OTTO have a good deal for Saturday lunch throughout December and January. Three courses for $89 pp and you can BYO wine.

Visited: Saturday 3 November 2018 – Dinner Service 

Otto Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

7 comments… add one
  • sherry December 6, 2018, 6:49 pm

    happy birthday Mr T! looks like a very special evening. i thought the ravioli was the dessert for a minute there. it looks very weird and a bit unappetising i have to say. yum to the zucchini flowers. and what’s with all the noise in these places? it drives me nuts that i can’t hear anyone including the waiter. cheers S

    • Fiona Ryan December 10, 2018, 11:52 am

      The ravioli was a bit of a misfire. I think perhaps if it had been sitting on the sauce, rather than being daubed in it, it may not have overwhelmed the filling. It was noisy alright. I recorded a little video of some unusual moving light fixtures and all you can hear is the noise of the crowd!

  • Shannan December 6, 2018, 9:06 pm

    Happy Birthday Mr Tiffin!

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime December 7, 2018, 5:51 pm

    Birthday blessings! And what a pity the desserts did not match the main courses. We find that often happens here as well. I lvoe Fiori di Zucchini – but save them for when we are in Italy 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan December 10, 2018, 11:53 am

      Ah, the life of a South African living that much closer to Europe! The dessert were fine (and certainly better than I could make) but there was nothing distinctly Italian about them.

  • Pauline Campbell December 31, 2018, 10:40 am

    I have now put Otto on my list of restaurants to try in 2019 however we might need to pick a quiet night now that we are over 50 – the hearing isn’t as good as it use to be 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan January 7, 2019, 12:29 pm

      ha ha – I hear you indeed. OTTO is a great place. You can always do lunch.

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