Brisbane Quarter’s podium-level dining hub is home to a number of cuisines. Flavour-bomb Thai from Phat Boy, high-end Italian at Persone and yumcha specialists Brisbane Phoenix are firm fixtures of the inner-city dinner scene, but Brisbane Quarter’s lone remaining space – formerly home to Indian fine-diner Heritij – has has always hinted at there being more to come. It’s a covetable site – the final river-fronting tenancy boasting spacious interior and outdoor sections, a lengthy bar and ample room for private functions. It was only a matter of time before someone swooped in and snagged it. Earlier this year, Tony Cheng (owner of Sunnybank staple Hana Zushi Japanese Restaurant) gamely stepped up to take on the space, transforming it over the past few months into Tenya – a restaurant that traverses the gastronomic versatility of modern Japanese cuisine. Refurbishment works have seen the space shift away from the eclectic colour scheme of Heritij towards a classic and earthy aesthetic of timber and stone, accentuated by quintessentially Japanese decorative touches. Tenya’s interior space boasts seating for 120 patrons, stretching from the eye-catching curved bar area across the main dining floor to a set of shielded booths. A 30-seat VIP room features its own private balcony space for exclusive functions, while a 10-seat kaiseki and omakase room near the kitchen will host lavish degustation-style feasts overseen by Tenya’s head chef. The outdoor casual-dining area can hold a further 80 guests, making Tenya one of Brisbane’s largest Japanese restaurants, both in terms of square footage and menu scope, which is equally impressive.
The Tenya dining experience varies depending on what time of day you arrive. Folks moseying in for lunch can choose from a range of hearty donburi and ramen dishes, or settle in for either the ichiju-sansai three-dish-and-one-soup set meal or the five-course ichiju-gosai option – each boasting a grilled main, grilled-salmon gohan and aburi fish fillet soup. At night the full menu becomes available, showcasing a bona fide smorgasbord of modern Japanese delights. Head chef Yang Zhao’s malleable offering starts with kobachi (small bowls of snacks and side dishes) including edamame tossed in smoked sea salt, seared Hokkaido scallops, agedashi tofu and sashimi-and-avocado salad before segueing into a list of crispy tempura morsels like Pacific Bay oysters, soft-shell crab, king prawns, and assorted vegetables. From here, paths can diverge towards a sumptuous sashimi feast (including omakase-level ‘best cut’ platters), a sensational sushi and nigiri banquet or a sizzling series of hot plates like seared A5 Kagoshima wagyu, chargrilled teriyaki maryland, miso-glazed shiitake-mushroom skewers, and grilled eggplant topped with red miso paste. If you can’t choose, you can leave your meal in the capable hands of the chefs, who will assemble a selection of favourites bound to satisfy. Tony has curated a killer beverage list featuring pure-rice sake (ginjo, daiginjo and tokubetsu grades, plus barrel-aged taruzake and yeaster-starter kimoto sake), Japanese whisky, beer and a lengthy list of worldly wines.
Tenya is now open to the public – click here for the restaurant’s operating hours, contact details and menu information.