Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Euro - as good as its sibling?

I love the fact that there are a couple of restaurants around Brisbane that have a fine dining option but also have a more relaxed diner attached.  Era Bistro has Flight and Cha Cha Char has Organic Char but there is one establishment that has taken it to the next level.

t's not enough that Urbane Restaurant has two chefs hats but its little sibling The Euro also has a chefs hat, which is an amazing feat.  The Euro is less formal than Urbane but then when you think about it, there is not much in Brisbane that matches Urbane.  The Euro feels very European with a chic interior and a celebration of light, texture and colour.  There is a cool bar area between two eating areas (as well as a relaxed lounge section), but you can also eat at the bar once all of the tables are taken.

Interesting colours in the restaurant, which is long and thin

The Euro shares its kitchen with its big brother which is overseen by Argentine-born Alejandro Cancino who is the head Chef of Urbane.  I have written quite a bit about Alejandro in my recent Urbane post, so I won't say too much more here (check out the post for more info).

I was at The Euro with some colleagues from work and some vendor partners and it was our last opportunity to spend some time together before we all go our separate ways for the Christmas break.  We began by getting some share plates that included a Salumi board with pickled peppers, which had numerous cuts of ham, and Calamari fritti, preserved lemon aioli.  The calamari was cooked really well and the crumbs had a little peppery flavour to them.  The aioli was smooth and creamy and partnered nicely with the calamari pieces.

I was completely torn for my entree, there were quite a few items on the menu that I was interested in, but I finally opted for the Octopus with potato and paprika.  Octopus seems to really popular on the menus of Brisbane at the moment and I have been left wondering if there is an octopus 'season', maybe in the warmer months?  Also, I was really curious how this would look as I had a similar sounding dish at Ortiga recently, and was completely taken aback by the beautifully presented plate of food at The Euro.  Expertly cooked octopus tentacles were sliced nice and thick across thinly sliced potato circles with a paprika oil drizzled around the plate.  The octopus had a lovely texture and, mixed with the paprika oil and the pesto paste, was simply delicious with added texture from impossibly thin toast.  This was so very different from my Ortiga octopus and I think it was much nicer as well.

Main was the market fish of the day with tomato, shallot and caperberries with the fish being  John Dory, pan fried to a lovely colour with a delicious saffron sauce.  John Dory is a coastal fish and is a quite firm white fleshed fish that is also a little flakey.  Dory is often described as a buttery and delicate fish that is great for absorbing the flavours its cooked in.  I had two dory fillets, one being perfectly cooked and the other being a little over.  The combination of the dory and the saffron sauce was beautiful and it definitely had a sweet buttery flavour.  It was accompanied by a wide variety of tomatoes cut into different shapes and sizes.  I didn't think the tomatoes added too much to the dish, but there was a lovely salty taste that came from the caperberries.  A few of us had the dory and all agreed it was a fantastic main.

I was the only one of us that decided on dessert and I could not possibly pass on the Apple tarte tatin, vanilla anglaise.  The tarte tatin was the largest I have ever been served and must have been 20 cm in diameter.  The vanilla anglaise was delivered separately in a little jug and was pored around the tarte tatin at the table.  The vanilla and the caramel from the tarte mixed together to form a lovely looking sauce that surrounded the tarte tatin like an ocean around an island.  The tarte tatin was simply delicious and not overly sweet, which can be a problem at times.  The caramel provided a lovely bite as well as the sweetness and the vanilla anglaise provided a bit of a cooling influence over the very hot apple.  The apple was cooked wonderfully with an intense caramalisation which then gave way to the sweet and sour apple flavour.  Overall this was the second best tarte tatin I have ever had and well worth the visit alone.

There was an amazing vibe in the restaurant, which was quite empty when we arrived at midday, but was packed and pumping by the time we finished up.  The wait staff were friendly and efficient, but were a little run off their feet as the crowd built.

Over the years I had heard mixed feedback about the Euro and I have the feeling that in the past its largely been ignored in favour of its more highly rated big brother Urbane.  Given that The Euro is the 'second fiddle' restaurant in the pair, it was an extremely satisfying visit.  I think this could have a lot to do with the influence of Alejandro Cancino but also that it's developing an identity of its own, with the ability to stand alone as a desirable restaurant destination.

I am not sure if The Euro will ever overtake its big brother as the more accomplished restaurant, but I am pretty sure that this is not what The Euro is about.  Where Urbane is a class above, it's almost unaccessible to most, but The Euro has no such pretensions.  The Euro is beautiful food at reasonable prices (for a hatted restaurant) and is a diner that you are more likely to feel comfortable visiting for occasions other than the very special.


Linguini with spanner crab, rocket, parmesan and lemon.  The balance of the linguini was slightly out, with the
lemon flavoured sauce slightly overpowering the delicate crab.  There was a vegetarian version of this for
the vegetarian in the group.  It seemed a little better balanced than the version with the crab!
Grilled prawns with smoked tomato, chilli, bacon and coriander was a lovely looking entree.  The prawns were
perfectly cooked and the dish was well balanced
Free range duck leg with baby beetroot, apple, walnut and horseradish was an amazing looking plate of food.
The duck was perfectly cooked and pink and worked really well with the beetroot and apple
‘Cotoletta’ - crumbed milk-fed veal cutlet with lemon and slaw salad was probably the most disappointing main
of the day.  We all agreed that this could have been produced at any pub in Queensland.  There was nothing special
about it, including the taste. 

For the vegetarian in the group there was a pumpkin ravioli with fetta.  The Euro provides a separate vegetarian
menu so is very vego friendly.  SG really enjoyed this.

The Euro (Urbane) on Urbanspoon

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