Thursday, 8 November 2012

Bistro One Eleven - the return visit, good as the first?

Not so long ago, at the start of my journey into the world of food blogging, my first attempt at a blog (here) was at a new restaurant that had just opened up a few hundred metres down the street from where I live.  Bistro One Eleven was the new kid on the Eagle Street precinct and had only been open a few days when SC and I wandered through the glass sliding doors into a shiny shiny new establishment.  I had a pretty good time that night, the food was great and SC and I were the centre of attention......  This was mainly because there was only two other tables filled while we were there :)

Fast forward a few months and I was invited along the the media launch of the restaurant with a few other food bloggers and some journalists from some papers and food magazines.  There were some faces I recognised from the E'cco event from the previous week and some new that I would get to know better throughout the night.

Bistro One Eleven is the new passion for creator and owner,  Phillip Johnson,  Before we kicked off the meal for the night, Phillip spoke a little about the idea behind his new dining experience.

Phillip Johnson
"The food menus are simple, it's great raw ingredients prepared well and served without complication.  It's about the food as opposed to how we can alter it"

"I'm still absolutely obsessed with attention to detail, but after that, I try to do the very least with the very best produce"

"The One Eleven concept is based around the idea of relaxed elegance seen in all elements of our clientele's experience, from the modern design of the venue and the simply prepared dishes right through to the no-fuss menu"

After Phillip had given us his view of his new eatery, it was time for the feast to begin.  First out to the table was a selection of charcuterie & oysters.  Plate after plate of food was delivered to the table and by the time the wait staff had stopped there was very little table to be seen!  There was a wide selection of bites brought to the table, including some absolutely stunning blood sausage (black pudding), chicken liver parfait, sardines, wagyu brescola and some lovely oysters in half shells.  It was an eclectic mix of colours and flavours that was stunning to behold.  While all were good, there were two standouts;  the black pudding and rouille & the chicken liver parfait, cornichons, apple and currant chutney.  If I had to pick one as the best, I would have to say the black pudding.

Blood sausage - wagyu bresaola - cured pork loin

Because I have been to One Eleven before, I reluctantly stayed away from my favorite entree on the menu (sand whiting, romesco, orange & watercress) and ended up selecting the wagyu carpaccio, artichoke pesto, buffalo mozzarella & olive.  The wagyu was sliced incredibly thin and laid out on the plate elegantly.  There was a saltiness to the meat that bit just on the end of the tongue, which was balanced nicely when adding the artichoke pesto.  The pesto had a slightly grainy texture and worked well against the really smooth and creamy buffalo mozzarella.  Not a huge fan of olive normally, I was surprised that there was no bitterness that I normally associate with black olives.  Overall, this was a good dish, but I would say that the sand whiting is still my preferred entree.

Wagyu carpaccio

Some more serious contemplating of the menu finally led to a decision on my main; slow cooked trout, leek, sprouts, celeriac puree & champagne veloute.  The first thing that I noticed when this was placed in front of me was the extremely large salmon roe, which were translucent around the outside with a deep red colouring in the centre.  This then led to quite a discussion about how you can farm salmon roe, unbelievable really.  The trout was perfectly cooked had a really subtle yet sweet flavour and the a slightly firm texture yet yielding easily to my knife.  The leek and sprouts gave some excellent contrasting textures and bitterness that helped balance out the sweetness of the celeriac puree and veloute.  It was all pretty good but what really took this to a new dimension was the explosion of the saltiness from the salmon row.  Each roe was a packet of flavour and I enjoyed rolling them around in my mouth before crushing them and letting the taste sensation out.  An excellent dish and a really fine example of how a subtle flavoured fish like trout can be exploited.

Slow cooked trout - the salmon row were amazing

Dessert was tapas style and once again the table filled with delicious and sticky puddings of the highest order.  There was nothing overly flashy about these desserts and none of them would ever grace the front cover of a dessert magazine, however each and every one was delicious in its own right.  My favorite of them all was the passion fruit rice pudding, poached pineapple and iced coconut.  The pudding was unctuous and sweet initially but once you found the surprise pineapple at the bottom, the dessert balanced out to a perfect mix of sweetness and tartness from the pineapple.   This was a real treat and I could have easily had a bucket load of this!

Clockwise - Trio of ice cream - goats cheese parfait - chocolate marquise

The fun thing about tonight was again spending some time talking to others that share a delight in discussing, looking at, ordering and eating food.  Best of all is the sharing of the plates, moving them around the table so we could all get the 'right' shot of the food.  There were some serious food photographers at my table with some pretty serious cameras.  This time I was a little more prepared and had my handy point and shoot, which is great in low light.

Bistro One Eleven is located in one of the newest buildings in Brisbane, reported to have cost over 700 million dollars.  One Eleven is beautifully designed, with an open kitchen that can be seen from most seats in the restaurant (and interestingly can be clearly seen when walking down Eagle Street).  It's very relaxed and has, in my opinion, the most comfortable seats in any restaurant in Brisbane.  Its also great for people watching due to the huge floor to ceiling windows that surround the dining area.

There was a distinct cool vibe in the dining room tonight, maybe it was because the boss was in on this night.... I think it has more to do with a great new restaurant finding its feet in the very competitive Brisbane dining scene, along with a great room that had quite a few more diners in it than my first visit. While it was not yet full, I for one would love to be sitting in the middle of One Eleven on a full house, the vibe would be electric.


An alternative version of the passionfruit rice pudding - almond doughnuts 
Lemon & ricotta cake - passionfruit rice pudding
chicken liver parfait - oysters from coffin bay - sardines

Minute steak with lovely tomato - chicken - lamb

Bistro One Eleven on Urbanspoon


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