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latest local reviews
Era Bistro, South Brisbane
reviewed by IMT
"An Era of Excellence!"
Having been to Era Bistro several times before it is amazing that I am still surprised by the quality of food and service offered there. Our last visit, a family reunion of sorts, with 5 people on a Wednesday evening was confirmation of my belief that this is indeed one of Brisbane’s best. We arrived 10 minutes early and were thus prepared to wait for our table to become available over a pre-dinner drink in their adjoining bar area, but were surprised to be instantly escorted to our waiting table. Our friendly waiter already had the most important document in hand - the Wine list, while our menus were brought separately after a few minutes, along with a basket of warm olive bread.
While offering the standard range of fare, Era takes its food to the next level with the subtle nuances in each dish evidence of an inspired and creative chef. My starter of scallops was spectacular - 3 scallops, huge enough to make me question their genetic integrity, were pan seared and teamed with crisp jamon, parmesan gnocchi, and a few swirls of pea puree. I was told the quail with tomato tart and asparagus was also spot on. After our plates were efficiently whisked away our waiter, unprompted, returned with the wine list. Although the gap between entree and main was a little longer than ideal, this becomes less of a problem when relaxing in calming and elegant surroundings such as these.
The magnificent ambiance melted away into insignificance however with the arrival of our mains which instantly absorbed each of us with little being spoken until the cutlery was crossed. My duo of roasted saddle and braised neck of lamb was moist and flavorsome, perfectly complemented by the liberal puddle of marsala jus on which it sat. Our other meals were reportedly equally good and I was privileged enough to taste a morsel of pork from my neighbour’s duo of cutlet and loin with an apple relish and mustard sauce. Again, our plates were efficiently cleared, only after the last had finished eating and was emitting satisfied murmurs of appreciation.
Though satiated by the generous portions atypical to fine dining restaurants we felt the need for something to complement our icy cold, sweet Semillon and decided on Era’s interpretation of the Banoffi tart. We were surprised to find the filling was not the typical condensed milk reduction, but instead a concoction of sweet caramelized bananas and chocolate. Teamed with a rich chocolate sorbet and Pedro Ximenez syrup it was a decedent take on the British classic, and portioned large enough to share.
Era’s consistently excellent service, simple but perfectly executed fare, and elegant modern surroundings fills a void in the abundant but often second class dining options in West End. I am eager to see how they compete with the Melbourne Hotel’s new classy restaurant, Twelve, but having eaten at both I am confident Era will survive not only this era, but well into the next.
Lyrebird Restaurant, South Brisbane
reviewed by Very Upset
I booked a table for 7 on Tuesday for a Friday lunch prior to my daughter's graduation and carefully discussed all details with the staff member I spoke to, including access to QPAC, what time I should book (12.00) so we wouldn't be late and that 3 elderly people would be part of the group. I rang again on Thursday morning to change the booking to five and they said that was fine. At 4.15pm Thursday they rang to tell me they were not open for lunch after all! Why couldn't at least one staff member have been aware they were not open on Friday or at least taken the time to check! …