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 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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 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