Shaking things up after more than 20 years at the top was always going to be a risky manoeuvre, but for e’cco bistro’s Philip Johnson and his partner Mary Randles (Madame Rouge Bar+Bistro) it was a move worth making. After accomplishing big things at its original heritage-listed inner-city location, e’cco bistro has moved to Haven Newstead and will show off its next phase this weekend from Saturday March 10. Every opportunity to enhance the dining experience has been seized, with a brand-new open-plan kitchen installed in addition to a luxurious new interior. The new swish new space – designed by architects David Twohill and Emma James – has been crafted to be timeless, classic and familiar. The new e’cco bistro is a multi-faceted venue, with a main dining room fit to seat 65 and a secluded dining area adding space for another 12, plus a bar and an eight-seater chef’s bench offering prime kitchen theatre opportunities. An upstairs level houses a 35-seat private dining room, equipped with a top-of-the-line audio visual screen and sound system. The interior design offers lush leather seating, American oak joinery, marble pieces and travertine and brick flooring, creating a sophisticated vibe that extends throughout the entire venue.
The food needs to be pretty remarkable for a restaurant to last more than two decades, and by the sounds of things e’cco bistro will still be delivering the goods. Head chef Simon Plamer and his team have more elbow room to move and are responding to the new digs with an overhauled menu that makes coal-grilled meats and vegetables a key feature. Bistro classics have been reinterpreted, using the finest seasonal produce to plate up fare that boasts flavoursome twists that retain familiarity. Carnivores can joyously savour dry-aged wagyu Darling Downs porterhouse steaks, pastrami brisket with mustard greens, Shultz Farm suckling pig porchetta, and duck breast with walnut tarator, while pescatarians and seafood lovers are treated to dishes including coal-grilled whole market fish, poached octopus with fermented chilli, and confit salmon with black lime and watercress. You’ll want to save room for dessert, with the likes of DIY ice-cream sandwiches, strawberry and raspberry cheesecake, chocolate marquise, and rhubarb jazz apple pastilla proving irresistible. The wine list showcases a complementary range of Australian and international winemakers selected by sommelier Mia McIntyre, bolstered by a range of craft beers and signature cocktails.
e’cco bistro will open on Saturday March 10, with semi-alfresco addition The Terrace tapped to open mid-year. Check out the Stumble Guide for booking information.