Remember earlier this year when we hinted at a new venture for renowned chef Ben Williamson? We can finally reveal what that venture is. Its name is 22 Agnes and it’s due to open in August this year. Ben has teamed up with Tyrone Simon and Frank Li (of LONGgTIME and Honto fame) for the project, which takes its name from the address of its character-filled brick warehouse-style building in Fortitude Valley. The site has been vacant for more than ten years and the trio will be drawing on its industrial charm and pleasing flaws to shape the space. Spread over three split levels, 22 Agnes will be divided into three distinct areas – the main dining room, a wine bar and a rooftop bar. On the higher side of the building, the dining area will centre around a completely open rustic-style kitchen, where Ben is looking to move away from focusing on a specific cuisine (as he did at Gerard’s Bistro) but instead build the kitchen exclusively around woodfired cooking. The chef is currently experimenting with burning a variety of woods and native flora, such as peach wood, coffee wood and banksia cones, discovering how they bring out and affect the flavours of each ingredient he is working with. One side of the kitchen will be dedicated to vegetables, featuring an impressive caged chimney in the centre, while the other side will produce meat, seafood and bread prepared in woodfired ovens and over an asado grill. Produce will be sourced directly from local farmers and Ben’s aim is for the kitchen to be as close to zero waste as possible – beneath the restaurant will be a large ageing cool room, allowing the team to buy whole carcasses, and butcher and age them on site. The building’s lower side will feature an intimate wine bar overlooking a glassed-off gin distillery, which will start producing six months after 22 Agnes’ opening, and will eventually move into whisky production, infusing golden drops with smoking techniques similar to that of the food. Finally, the centre of 22 Agnes will feature a New York-style caged elevator, which will take patrons up to an impressive rooftop bar overlooking Fortitude Valley. There’s certainly a lot to look forward to – we’ll keep you posted closer to opening.
Famed Melbourne-born specialty coffee outfit Industry Beans is opening a Brisbane expansion in the not-too-distant future. The highly regarded roaster is in the midst of some big moves, opening a new cafe in Sydney and a jaw-dropping flagship in the heart of Newstead that will have coffee fanatics flipping their lids in excitement. Construction is currently underway at a yet-to-be-revealed warehouse location, where a 144-seat cafe, sizeable roasting operation and a greenhouse filled with coffee trees will be installed. Industry Beans is looking to provide an all-encompassing coffee experience, where sippers will be able to experience every step of the process from bean to brew. Melbourne-based architectural and interior design practice Design Office is shaping the aesthetic of both the Brisbane and Sydney venues, implementing a light and bright design at the Newstead space, with lots of greenery, clean lines and attention to detail that reflects Industry Beans’ considered approach to coffee. Keep an eye out for more information – Industry Beans is expected to open near James Street in late April or early May.
Graceville has long been a haven for brunch-hunting early birds, but once the sun sets night owls are bereft of a place to roost. Good news for Graceville’s nocturnal crowd – that’s all about to change. Botellon is a forthcoming Spanish-inspired wine bar from Maddison Walker, functions coordinator of popular cafe Hunter and Scout. After the departure of neighbouring eatery Honour Espresso, Maddison flirted with the idea of opening a hole-in-the-wall haunt in the now-vacant corner space. It was only after chatting with Hunter and Scout locals that Maddison realised demand for a quality watering hole was high, so her idea quickly turned into action. The pieces are currently being put into place for Botellon’s mid-year opening, including an interior aesthetic of earthy tones, dining inside and street side, a selection of Australian and imported wines, and a menu of tapas-style bites (think whole-baked meats and nibbles perfect for sharing). Botellon is expected to open around June – keep an eye on The Weekend Edition for more details.