In May last year, Andre Samra and his daughter Vanessa introduced themselves to West End locals with their pint-sized Lebanese cuisine dispensary, Shawarma King, which operated within the leafy surrounds of The Garden Pantry at West Village. The concept, which sought to give diners “a taste of Beirut”, was always intended to be a short-term thing, as plans were already in the works to evolve the brand into a bricks-and-mortar restaurant and bar featuring as part of West Village’s new retail and dining precinct. Well, that time has finally arrived – Beirut Bazaar will open on the ground floor of the Peters Ice Cream Factory in late March, marking the first time the building has been permanently occupied since the late 1990s. The 75-seat restaurant (which will also boast a breezy alfresco area) will be a go-to spot to savour traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, starting early with coffee and sweet treats and going until late with traditional Lebanese mezze, specialty cocktails and shawarma, which, for the uninitiated, is a dish of marinated lamb, beef or chicken served atop pita with parsley, tomato and legumes. Beirut Bazaar’s offering will also feature specialty dips and breads, traditional savoury pastries, and plenty of vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. In a tantalising meeting of minds, the Beirut Bazaar crew has enlisted the services of the bar team from Nineteen at The Star to craft the cocktail list, which will no doubt feature some ambrosial concoctions. Stay tuned for a closer look at Beirut Bazaar when the venue opens later this month.
Oh Boy, Bok Choy
Amanda and John Scott have wanted to add Vietnamese cuisine to their hospitality portfolio for 24 years. The couple, who own Kedron’s hugely popular cafe Farm House and neighbouring gelateria Miss Sophia’s, are finally getting the chance to add the cuisine to their repertoire with Oh Boy, Bok Choy – the duo’s forthcoming Southeast Asian restaurant concept, which is opening on Stafford Road in the coming months. With the idea sitting so close to their hearts, Amanda and John have ensured all of the right pieces were in place before committing to the project. They’ve assembled a brigade of chefs that boast family ties to Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and Chinese cuisines, with many bringing third-generation recipes to the fore for the restaurant’s melting-pot offering. The menu will feature an assortment of crowd-pleasing and vegetable-heavy dishes that emphasise freshness. Half of the menu will be vegan friendly, with diners free to build upon these plant-based foundations with the likes of crispy duck and pork belly. Oh Boy, Bok Choy’s beverage list will feature tap beers and wine, and will also give considerable attention to non-alcoholic drinks – think plenty of delectable mocktails! The space will boast capacity for 83 guests inside and room for an extra 16 outside, with a design aesthetic favouring a minimalist-yet-fun approach with green accents that draw back to Oh Boy, Bok Choy’s fresh approach. The restaurant is targeting a late-April or early-May launch and will open for lunch and dinner. Keep your eyes on The Weekend Edition for more info!
La Polpetteria pop-up at Locale
Even before the pandemic closed international borders, Commercial Road cafe and providore Locale has been a go-to spot for folks looking to savour a slice of Italy in Brisbane. This month the destination will play host to La Polpetteria, a pop-up focusing solely on polpette, more widely known as meatballs. Inspired by the late-night haunts of Italy, the Locale team is taking the concept of spaghetti and meatballs and expanding upon it, incorporating meat, vegetables and fish for a menu that riffs on the classic salivation-worthy sphere. La Polpetteria will take over Locale every Monday to Thursday between 5:00–8:30 pm until the end of March, serving the likes of fritto misto with Sicilian chickpea fritters, salt cod croquettes, Italian sliders, lobster and pistachio arancini, and homemade gnocchi with beetroot cream and fetta, as well as a wine list featuring bespoke Italian drops. Bookings are essential and can be made with the venue directly via [email protected] or on 07 3102 5898.
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