Winner: Detour, Woolloongabba
Damon Amos is no stranger to shaking things up in the kitchen. The acclaimed chef has constantly pushed boundaries, as evidenced by his time helming Public in The City. Damon’s own venture Detour showcases an inclusiveness not commonly seen in Brisbane, with ominovore and herbivore menus plating up a curious array of dishes. Master-stock salmon with sesame, wakame and black ants, fossilised carrots and gunpowder wagyu are just some of the now-iconic dishes you can sample, alongside a curated selection of wines, cocktails and spirits.
Runner up: Happy Boy, Fortitude Valley
Although Happy Boy had already amassed a loyal following at its original Spring Hill location, Cameron and Jordan Votan really took things up a notch last year when they relocated their heralded Chinese concept to Fortitude Valley. If we could hazard a guess, we’d say that you’re all big fans of the restaurant’s paired-back style, plentiful elbow room, incredible wine selection and accessible menu, which includes the likes of mapo tofu with special spicy sauce, eggplant with roast pork belly and Gong Bao chicken.
Runner up: Cheeky Poké Bar, Newstead
The poké craze shows no signs of slowing down, especially when spots like Cheeky Poké Bar are around to show you how it’s done. The Newstead hotspot has taken a sophisticated approach to the healthy bowl concept, pairing it with a menu of interesting bites such as seafood tacos, miso broth, sashimi tasting plates and Butterbing cookie sandwiches – supplemented by kombucha, probiotic water, wine, beer and cocktails.
Montrachet, Bowen Hills
Typically a fixture on best-of lists, Montrachet took a big gamble last year when it left is established home of Paddington for greener pastures on King Street. The choice paid off big time, with Montrachet cementing itself once more as one of the finest restaurants in town. Head chef Shannon Kellam’s French cuisine is as delicious as ever, with roquefort and Dutch cream potato gnocchi, duck and cognac parfait, and steak frites remaining as all-star menu choices.
Martha Street Kitchen, Camp Hill
Camp Hill is in the midst of a hospitality boom, and one of the key proponents of that expansion is Martha Street Kitchen – the brainchild of Patrick Laws and Jennie Byrnes. Patrons adore the stylish eatery for a variety of reasons, including its laid-back ambience, menu of incredible pizzas, and a selection of biodynamic and minimal intervention wines, pre-batched and bottled negroni and craft beer. Not too shabby for a newcomer!
Shucks Bar, Manly
Let’s be real – any oyster bar that promises the freshest morsels from the sea has our interest. Shucks Bar owner Belinda Ho has positioned her concept mere metres from Manly’s waterfront – prime position to snatch up the best seafood at its peak freshness. Patrons rave about Shucks Bar’s range of cooked oysters, but we can’t forget about its stylish share-plate menu offering up grilled octopus tentacle, Creole-spiced prawns, and kingfish steak.
Lupa Pizza Bar, West End
West End’s Lupa Pizza Bar is unlike most pizza joints, taking patrons on a flavour journey to Rome where they can experience a thinner, crispier and lighter slice. In addition to a range of red and white-base pizzas, owners Valentina Vigni and Andrea Contin also serve up the likes of slow-cooked Italian pork sausage, Flortentine-style T-bones and a selection of Italian lupacchiotti.
King Tea, Paddington
Sitting pretty inside a gorgeous 100-year old space in central Paddington, King Tea started its life as a stylish tapas-style bar and eatery. Since opening, the team has shifted gears and started showcasing a stellar menu of regional Chinese fare, keeping early adopters invested with dishes such as paojiao fish, hoisin barbecue pork ribs, wonton noodle soup, and mushroom pokchoy.
Neighbourhood Pizza, Kenmore
Kenmore has been crying out for a specialty pizza joint for years, and Neighbourhood Pizza’s Jordan Lomas has come through with a concept that blends cool vibes with hot slices. With a effortlessly hip soundtrack of classic hip-hop hits creating ambiance, diners can snack on the like of calamari, meatballs, buffalo mozzarella and garlic bread before tackling pizzas topped with the likes of pork and fennel sausage, mushroom and porcini cream, speck and grilled pineapple, and roasted eggplant and sesame cheese.
Chu the Phat, South Brisbane
Carving out a sizeable space between Fish Lane and Melbourne Street is Chu The Phat – an impressive two-level eatery that takes inspiration from the food stall markets of Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan. From the ground-level bar to the expansive and colourful dining area above, Chu The Phat has managed to get tongues wagging across the board. Boiled pork dumplings, mung bean pancakes, diamond shell clams with pork mince, tea-smoked duck legs, red fried spatchcock and steamed tofu with field mushrooms prove to be crowd pleasers, but as an intrepid foodie yourself you should look to snack on as much as you can.