The thought of mixing southern European cuisine with a splash of North Africa and a taste of the Middle East immediately sends my tastebuds into a spin. With the promise of this unique combination at the recently launched Gerard’s Bistro, curiosity killed this (rather tubby) cat, and I locked myself in for one deliciously wild culinary journey!
When you walk into the restaurant, you will know straight away that your dining experience will be extraordinary. Tucked away in the 15 + 19 James Street Laneway, the masterminds of Laruche
and Lychee Lounge
have created a unique space by combining Indonesian furniture with futuristic lighting and geometric wood detailing.
The friendly and amazingly knowledgeable waitress (trust me…there will be some words on this menu that you don’t even recognise) escorted us to our table, and we were quick to order the Jamón Iberico and quail eggs as a shared starter.
Served with onion puree, burnt pencil leek and sour grapes, the quail eggs were dusted in house-made dukkah to create a crisp, yet silky-soft texture. Naturally, the Jamón, served with bread fresh from the oven, was gobbled up as quickly as the Spanish pig itself gobbles up its acorn!
In keeping with the piggy theme, my eyes could not stray any further than the suckling pig main, served with Jerusalem artichoke, pear and walnut tarartor. Think melt-in-your mouth pork with a crispy and crackly skin, served on a bed of sweet poached pears and artichoke puree. By far my stand-out dish of the year!
Other dishes that graced our table included the flathead and scampi with smoked potato and garlic puree, chanterelles and truffle, while my flexitarian friend (read: vego who doesn’t mind a charred steak) enjoyed the roasted heirloom vegetables with spiced crumble and shanklish*. Both of which went down with lots of Nom Nom Nom’s!
Accompanying the mains was a colourfully exotic rice salad, complete with Goji berries, pistachio and almond, as well as fried potato with green chilli and coriander. Both acted as a perfect complement to the main meals.
Although we were being civilised and could only ponder over the wine menu, it was impressive and showed a great mix of both Australian and international labels.
Overwhelmingly, head chef Ben Williamson, previously of Urbane
and 1889 Enoteca
, did an impressive job of combining contrasting cuisines onto one plate. With my tastebuds still in a spin, I will be sure to return to this fantastic new restaurant on James Street.
will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and breakfast Friday to Sunday. They also have a constantly changing bar menu for those partial to a late night snack.
* I did say there were some rather exotic words on the menu. Shanklish is a type of Middle Eastern cheese!
Where: Shop 14/ 15 James Street in Fortitude Valley
Contact: 07 3852 3822