The past six-to-eight months have marked a busy transitional period for Paul McGivern. Not long after announcing he’d be moving out of the kitchen in favour of a more front-of-house position, Paul and Bailee Dewes sold their hatted East Brisbane restaurant The Wolfe to esteemed chef Josue Lopez. During this same stretch Paul and Bailee were in the early stages of planning their next venture, a suburban restaurant that was both an expression of their roots and love for approachable hospitality. Corella, located on the ground floor of Aria Property Group’s new Woolloongabba development The Drapery, sees the duo improving the quality of suburban restaurant options in the inner south. The location is particularly significant for Paul, whose Indigenous heritage has formed a core part of Corella’s inspiration. The restaurant’s name means ‘a large waterhole’, much like the natural spring that used to occupy the land upon which The Gabba now sits. Such geographical landmarks were meeting points for Brisbane’s various Aboriginal communities, and this community spirit forms as much of Corella’s foundational structure as the concrete supports seen inside the restaurant’s dining room.
Corella’s interior aesthetic is fetching but purposefully uncomplicated. Seating 50, the space boasts banquette booths for groups and high and low tables leading to the bar. The restaurant adheres to a light industrial look, with exposed copper pipes in the ceiling and concrete support pillars complemented by a simple palette of wood, black leather and slate. The masculine tones of Corella’s interior are offset by soft furnishings, textured tableware crafted by Robert Gordon and a rotating selection of Indigenous artwork on Corella’s feature wall. Currently adorned by a colourful piece by Judy Watson, the wall will be given over to a diverse and rotating array of works that draw the eye.
The food and drink
With Paul stepping away from the kitchen, Corella has brought in a familiar face to man the pans. Former member of The Wolfe’s culinary team Callum Gray (London’s The Ninth, Social Eating House) has come on board as Corella’s head chef, and with Paul’s guidance has assembled an ever-evolving menu of eats favouring simplicity and locality. Callum has been given creative license to chop and change the menu on a monthly basis across a selection of appetisers, smalls, large plates, sides and desserts. The menu boasts hearty and clean dishes, exemplified by the tomatoes with almond curd and sorrel granita, pumpkin raviolo with ricotta, pepita and tarragon, John Dory with witlof and saffron sauce, and Warrigal green risotto paired with stracciatella, croutons and olive crumb. Corella’s wine list is more concise than Paul and Bailee’s other venues, stocking only 50 handpicked labels chosen to match the purposefully pared-back nature of the restaurant’s fare and aesthetic. Like the food menu, Corella’s wine selection will be ever changing, with new and interesting varietals slotted in to reflect the fare. As of launch, diners are treated to a curated array of champagne and sparkling wines, light, medium and full-bodied whites and reds, craft beer from Balter and Aether Brewing, as well as a clutch of classic cocktails. Fans of The Wolfe’s BYO-wine Wednesdays rejoice – Corella will also be continuing the tradition every week.
Corella is open now! For opening hours and booking details, find Corella in the Stumble Guide.