On the pass with Andy and Drew
Presenting Andy Buchanan and Drew Patten – better known perhaps as the charming duo behind some of Brisbane’s best drinking and dining: The Euro, The Laneway and haute cuisine favourite, Urbane.
I’ll make no secret in stating that The Euro and The Laneway are two of my top destinations in town. (NOTE: The fact that Urbane isn’t on that list says far more about my levels of refinement than it does the restaurant. It’s extraordinary, I’m just in the thick of a start up which doesn’t leave a lot of room for degustation fare.)
Both gentlemen carry the fantastic ability to make you feel like you are the only patron in the place, while generating a social buzz that embraces the way only a Tier A dining destination can. Andy’s friendly frame is nimble and quick to notice anything out of place. And from behind his designer threads and frames, Drew engages diners with his knowledge of ingredients, décor and fine cuisine.
There isn’t a hint of wine-wankerism among the staff (I won’t say the same of the patrons). And I always feel completely at ease whether breaking bread over business, drinking solo at the bar or devouring a slow-cooked shoulder for two.
Enough from me. Re-presenting Andy and Drew…
TUL: What’s the most important part about your job? And anything about it that would surprise us?
Andy: Keeping 40 staff focused on the direction of two restaurants and making sure that 1000 people a week are happy with their experience.
Surprises? It's amazing the things you remember about people – my head is full of names/likes/dislikes/tricks for remembering things/what people do.
TUL: Yes! You are so good with names and remembering peoples’ stories. How do you do it? Do you have some sort of mental “black book”?
Andy: I don't know, they say some people are just good with names. I wish I was as good with computers as I am with names! I do tell my mind to try to remember and two weeks later the name just comes out as the person walks toward me. Go figure...
Drew: I ask each person I meet three personal questions about themselves and I also make a point of writing down their name and the answers to the questions. The detail triggers my memory.
TUL: I remember coming to Urbane, pretending to be a “grown up” during university days. It always seemed so exclusive and refined. What drove you in the direction of a fine-dining establishment, rather than bistro fare or a wine bar?
Drew: We wanted to be the best restaurant in Brisbane. Make that Australia. But also because I love the detail that goes into every aspect of the experience.
Yes, it is about the food but there is so much more to consider: the glassware, cutlery, crockery, ambience of the room, décor, staff, uniforms, staff training... It is an amazing thing to see when all facets of a fining dining experience come together. It’s pure magic.
TUL: Now of course, we’re all “all grown up” and Urbane has adopted two pretty fantastic siblings – The Euro and The Laneway. Which of the three personalities fits with yours? Obviously they’re all of your creation, but do you find yourself taking a particular shine to any of the three?
Andy: There is a time and a place in my personality for all three, it just depends which hat I'm wearing on that day! I love all three.
Drew: Me too – I enjoy all three areas equally, for their different qualities and for what they provide.
Urbane is sophisticated, refined without being pretentious. The Euro is casual, friendly and professional and the Laneway manages to balance both professionalism and great relaxing fun.
Being able to drift between all three venues makes my days fun. I can be upstairs in Laneway serving a hotdog and then be downstairs in Urbane with customers enjoying our 12-course degustation menu.
TUL: So I’ve got three words to describe The Laneway: Favourite Friday Place. Three words to describe The Euro?
Andy: Seriously?! I have no idea!
Wait... I’ve got it…
Come. Find. Out.
TUL: Ha. Sorry – tough one! And Drew, three words for Urbane?
Drew: Cosmopolitan. Destination. Sublime.
TUL: So Drew, let’s say I’m on a fabulous date with a venture capitalist who likes to splurge (oh so very likely). What should I be leading him toward when it comes to the Urbane wine list?
Drew: When it comes to wine I really enjoy the wines that are a bit weird and obscure. Personally, one of my favourite wines is Riesling and the 2009 J.J Prum Spatlese is a stunning wine. 2009 was a great year for German Riesling.
TUL: Andy, let’s talk about The Euro wine list. Which is the most underrated drop on The Euro card?
Andy: Chateau Riotor Rosé from Provence, France. Light berry notes with a dry finish based on Grenache grapes. It's the summer of Rosé. Of course, this is coming from someone who still drinks Chardonnay…
TUL: You and me both – I think we need to give Marlborough a rest and bring big, chunky Chardonnays back. Start a revival...
TUL: Wedding bells are in the not-so-distant future I hear, Drew. Congratulations! I imagine the menu for the big day is still under wraps, but tell me, what did the owner of one of Brisbane’s best restaurants serve his guests for the engagement celebrations?
Drew: Fortunately Urbane and The Euro were able to do the catering so we had a wonderful array of canapés. Our guests were served Pristine Oysters, torched tiger prawns, caramelised leek tarts with feta, duck liver parfait, our gourmet mini wagyu burgers and pies.
TUL: Do you ever cook at home? I mean, I certainly wouldn’t if I spent every day in here with Kym’s food, but perhaps you do? And if so, any signature dishes?
Drew: Yes, I love to cook actually. I get inspired by the chefs at work and want to recreate some of Kym’s dishes at home. I am a bit of a health freak so I like to do the healthier version. Lamb with fenugreek, garlic, rosemary and thyme sous vide and then caramelised on the Webber served with roast pumpkin, caramelised red onion, crispy pancetta, feta, lentils and rocket salad.
TUL: I’ve got to buy a Webber. I’ll let you know when I do.
Andy: I eat Kym's food 5 days a week – how good – so come the weekend I enjoy nothing more than cooking at home for my fiancée (still getting used to that!) and friends. Nothing beats a meal with good company and I don't get to spend much time at home these days, so home cooked it is on the weekend.
My best dishes are usually of the simpler variety so I don't stuff it up!
TUL: What about Brisbane? What do you like the most about living here?
Andy: People… The fact that it's growing quickly… Proximity to great beaches… Lifestyle in general, really.
As long as I get overseas once a year I'm very proud to call Brisbane home.
Drew: All of the above. And it's great to be a part of the group of people who are shaping the culinary scene.
TUL: And we ask everyone about their favourites – preferably in Brisbane but we’re open to other recommendations too.
Favourite coffee place?
Andy: Choquette in New Farm Drew: Vagelis on Racecourse Road
Andy: Urbane and The Euro! But to choose something else, I’d say Anise. Drew: The Euro and Urbane, of course. And Hosokawa Restaurant.
Place for a drink?
Andy: Brunswick Social and The Laneway Drew: Same!
Andy: CBD Drew: The Cloakroom
Andy: A couple of hours at Ella Bache at Emporium Drew: Choquette for the pastries
TUL: Do you guys spend a lot of time together or something?!
A note from the Urban List Team: Do you have any personal favourites from The Euro or Urbane menu? Please let us know what we should try next time!
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