wood fired bistro
2 Agnes street, Fortitude Valley, Qld. 4006
07 3067 9087
web site: agnesrestaurant.com.au
Lunch: Friday and Saturday
Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday
Closed: Sunday, Monday
vegetarian and gluten free options
fully licensed with full cocktail bar.
Australian and imported wines
$150 for 2 (food only)
This is inspired, creative and satisfying food, and a meal experience well worth waiting for.
No electricity. No gas. Just fire.
Located in an old warehouse with exposed bricks and peeling paint, in a quiet unassuming back street, this is cooking stripped to its primordial elements on a wide variety of local woods fired in a low-set open-plan kitchen. The menu is seasonal and changes regularly with dishes designed to share.
Start with house-made malted sourdough served with smoked cultured butter. The bread is dark, crisp on the outside but soft and warm inside with a treacle-like, smoky flavour – very more-ish. A blue mackerel sandwich is one of the snacks – a tender piece of freshly smoked mackerel with white ‘nduja and pickled garlic between two disks of soft white bread. Scallop doughnuts are scallops with preserved lemon, encased in a soft doughnut topped with green onion cream and Vietnamese mint – an explosion of flavours. Mouth-watering lamb ribs, with a pink centre and an earthy, smoked, charred crust are served with a soft paste of caramelised sesame whey sprinkled with mountain pepper.
The starters and mains are designed to share. Amongst the starters, don’t go past the wood-fired cabbage, with a piquant lacto koji butter topped with dried cured egg yolk. Simply divine.
The mains include a delicate brined roast chicken with harissa, smoked labne and curry leaf – tender and spicy. The dry-aged long-fed angus sirloin is beautifully cooked, charred on the outside and pink in the middle, with a delicate smoky flavour and served with caramelised onion jam. Team these with a variety of wood-fired vegetables.
There is an extensive wine list with some excellent wines by the glass.
It is worth getting there early and having a drink in the downstairs bar or on the rooftop terrace – with great views of the city. And if you can’t get a reservation, you can sample some of the menu at the bar. Definitely worth a detour.