Big news for lovers of Italian cuisine – popular Gold Coast restaurant Gemelli Italian will be opening its first Brisbane eatery in May this year. The Gemelli team, headed up by owners James, Alec and Paul Carney, has snagged some prime real estate on James Street for the expansion, taking over the sites formerly home to Bucci and Lululemon. The Gemelli portfolio (which includes its flagship Broadbeach restaurant, Gemellini in Nobby Beach and Roy’s by Gemelli in Sorrento) is known for its rustic interior aesthetic and hearty traditional Italian cuisine. While the group is keen to replicate its warm atmosphere and tantalising seasonal menu in full, its James Street locale will boast two distinct settings. The Lululemon side of the venue will house the dine-in restaurant space (where crisp pizzas, silky pasta and heavenly mains reign supreme), while the Bucci half will be transformed into an aperitivo bar, inspired by cosy locales common in Milan and across northern Italy. Here guests will be able to sip on spritzes and Italian wine while snacking on salumi and other moreish bites. The restaurant’s award-winning wine list will also travel north, flush with Italian varieties expertly curated to match with the food. Keep your eyes peeled for more information on this exciting opening closer to mid-year.
Those of you that follow degustation-style fine diner Elska on socials will have seen an exciting announcement pop up on its pages last week. Freja Rasmussen and Nathan Dunnell, owners of the Wilston Village restaurant, revealed to the public that they were in the process of relocating Elska to New Farm. The eatery (which began life in 2017 as the convivial Freja’s Cafe), has been luring in diners with its tasteful amalgamation of modern-Australian ingredients and Nordic-inspired cooking since debuting in February 2020, and now the couple is looking to progress the concept and increase its profile in the fine-dining scene with a new base of operations. In mid -February Elska will reopen on Merthyr Road in the space previously occupied by Allium. The couple will be undertaking a refurbishment of the space early next month, instilling the same warmth as its previous iteration, while also looking to allay some of the trickier quirks that Freja and Nathan had to navigate at the restaurant’s Wilston home. Where previously Elska’s 12-seater alfresco dining space was at the mercy of Brisbane’s temperamental weather patterns, the New Farm site will be accomodating all patrons indoors. Additionally, Nathan is also eager to dissolve some of the barriers and improve the dynamic between diner and chef, with an open kitchen providing greater insight into the Elska cooking process. James Horsfall will be joining the Elska team as sommelier, helping to create some next-level pairings for the restaurant’s sublimely inventive fare. Elska is on track to open its New Farm digs on Thursday February 18, with bookings already open.
Essa Restaurant and Wine Bar
If you were still in holiday mode last week, you may have missed some exciting news that was featured in our Thursday e-newsletter. The juicy scoop revealed that the crew behind celebrated South Brisbane restaurant Gauge will be opening a new eatery and bar this year, with the first details emerging for the team’s new culinary project Essa Restaurant and Wine Bar. Gauge’s executive chef Phil Marchant and owner Jerome Batten have shared some information on the anticipated arrival, which will be opening on Robertson Street in Fortitude Valley some time in the first quarter of 2021. Key members of Gauge’s culinary crew will be helming the Essa kitchen, which will be dispensing raw seafood, oysters, woodfired morsels and charcuterie made in house, with the bar set to offer a sizeable vino selection and cocktail menu. As for the space itself, we’ve been told to expect a moody and intimate atmosphere – we can’t wait to get snug and get stuck into what Essa will be plating up. Rest assured we’ll be covering Essa on The Weekend Edition when it opens, so stay tuned!
Kulcha’d Public Bar
Northern-Indian street food restaurant Kulcha’d has steadily grown since opening in mid-2020. Over the past six months, locals have been flocking to get a taste of the eatery’s crisp and authentic Amritsari-style flatbreads and vegan- and vegetarian-friendly curries. The crew has been putting in work behind the scenes, chipping away at a bar extension and upstairs function space that boosts the venue’s capacity several times over. The new Kulcha’d Public Bar sits at the venue’s rear (but is accessible via a doorway that sits between Brisbane Brewing Co. and Insane Acai Bar) and features a sturdy timber bar accentuated by some eye-catching street-art murals. Thirsty patrons can sip on independent craft beer and cider from the likes of Aether Brewing, All Inn Brewing and Young Henrys, a clutch of South Australian wines, small-batch Australian spirits, and some signature Kulcha’d cocktails like the Kaffir Lime Gimlet, Clarified Mango Lassi Milk Punch, Sloooooooow Gin Sour and Berry Rude. Soon the kitchen will be debuting a revamped breakfast menu, which will be infused with some tasty traditional Indian twists.
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