Saturday, 4 May 2013

Bistro One Eleven - I just keep coming back

Everybody remembers their firsts;  their first kiss, their first love, their first <ahem>, well, you know what I mean.  As a food blogger, the restaurant of my very first blog also holds a very special place in my heart.  The angst of not really knowing how it would be received or even if it was any good; would people be interesting in what I had to say?  Did it even matter?  After eating out for many, many years and having friends and family tell me I should stop talking and start writing about my passion, I finally put 'pen to paper'.  My very first blog was about Bistro One Eleven and I remember it well and it was their third night open.

Fast forward eight months (has it really only been eight months?) and I am still blogging strong and still loving Bistro One Eleven.  It was my turn to select the venue for our quarterly leadership lunch and there was no other place that entered my consciousness to visit, it was always going to be this wonderful restaurant.  In the months since my last visit, Bistro One Eleven had been recognised as one of the best in the state by winning a coveted Brisbane Times Good Food Guide chefs hat, a just reward for the effort of the Bistro One Eleven team over the last eight months.

Owner Philip Johnson has put it all together; an amazing team; a fantastic location; a great concept and most of all now, a loyal following.  Never resting on his laurels,  Philip is always looking to improve the team and now has a brand new head chef Mathias Anderson, who returns to the fold after spending some time at Alfred & Constance (Mathias used to work at E'cco Bistro).  The philosophy at Bistro One Eleven is simple, take the very best of raw ingredients prepared well and served without complication.  In this respect Bistro One Eleven is a standout.

I love the open spaces and clean layout of Bistro One Eleven and based on the 'oooohs an aaaahs' from the team as we were seated at the table, the rest of the team were also suitably impressed.  One of the things I love most about the restaurant is the decor and in particular the chairs.  I find the chairs at Bistro One Eleven to be the most comfortable restaurant chairs in Brisbane, you can literally sit on them for hours and feel an overwhelming sense of comfort.

The menu at Bistro One Eleven provides lots of options for lunch and dinner and I love the way the courses are described; bites, more than a bite, fish/meat/poultry and something sweet.  The sizes of the 'bites' and 'more than a bites' allow for variation on the old fashioned entrees and mains, you just get the food that looks great.

As usual the menu provided far too many delicious looking options to have at one sitting, so I decided to go for gold with my starter and selected the saffron and pea risotto with seared scallops and guanciale from the 'more than a bite' menu.  This was a winning dish with perfectly cooked risotto in that lovely golden colour that saffron provides.  There were chunks of seared scallop spread throughout the dish with some freshness from the peas and I loved the contrasting texture from the crispy guanciale (Italian bacon usually prepared from a pigs jowl).  I love a great risotto and this was one of the best.  Yum.

The rest of the team had a variety of options as their starters and everyone agreed that the food they had was delicious and creative, without complicating the ingredients or clashing the flavours.  A couple of highlights were the duck liver parfait with celeriac remoulade, pickles and melba toast as well as the confit chicken leg with salted ricotta, tomato and pesto.  A few of the team also had the fig and goat's cheese tart with shaved pear, almonds and thyme honey for different courses and all agreed it was stunning!

I have had some spectacular poultry from Bistro One Eleven in the past and decided that I would see if the current offering of organic chicken breast with romesco, chorizo, fig and endive salad would stack up.  There were some ingredients that I absolutely love in the dish, including chorizo (of course) and the romesco sauce, so I had very high hopes.  Wow is the most appropriate thing to say about this dish, it was sublime.  The flavours were perfectly combined to produce a spectacular dish.  The romesco sauce worked well with the chorizo to provide some sweetness to the slightly bitter endive salad.  The fig added a new layer of complexity to the flavours and they all married together with the succulent chicken with slightly crispy skin.  By the looks of some of the other guests around the table, they aslo enjoyed the chicken as much as I did.

The other dish that I had contemplated getting was the duck breast with eggplant, beetroot and labneh, which a number of the other guests picked on the day.  The dish also looked amazing and while I didn't sample any of the duck myself, the comments from CN and NLJ were that the flavours were fantastic.  CN commented that while he loved the flavours his was a little tough and I could see that the duck was ever so slightly over cooked.  While all of the mains looked fantastic, it was the 200g wagyu minute steak with duck egg, bordelaise and fries that I would get next time.  The boss had selected it and while it looked really interesting, I was most taken aback by how easily her knife cut through the steak, literally like butter!

The serving sizes had all been quite large, so most of the group settled for coffee or tea instead of dessert, but there were a couple of us determined foodies in the group who didn't want to stop just yet.  The dessert menu on previous occasions had a number of items that interested me, but on this occasion I didn't see many that I wanted to sample and settled for the chocolate brownie with cherry ice cream and coconut marshmallow.  As usual at Bistro One Eleven, the dessert looked really appetising and pretty at the same time, with a rich dark brownie contrasting with the cherry ice cream.  The components on the plate were really nice, in particular the ice cream and the coconut marshmallow and the dessert was pretty good.  The main problem for me was that there was not enough chocolate sauce to cover the brownie, so after it was all soaked up, the last part of the brownie was a bit dry for me.  An extra serving of the rich and runny chocolate sauce would have elevated this dessert significantly.

The other dessert option that looked interesting to me was picked up by NC and was the coconut panna cotta with mango jelly and pineapple granita.  NC has an Italian heritage and knows a good panna cotta and this one was great.  It didn't come turned out on a plate but served in a glass, which seems to be the trend at the moment.  There were some lovely and colourful accompaniments which helped enhance the flavours of the subtle coconut panna cotta.

I always get a little nervous when I recommend a restaurant for lunch to others, even though I'm pretty good at it, you want others to see what you see in a restaurant.  In the case of Bistro One Eleven, I wanted the team to see a mature and delicious menu that had something for everyone and I think this was the case.  The comments from the team were that they loved the food and had a wonderful day.

The only minor complaint was the layout of out of the table, which made it difficult for the team to all converse easily.  The layout was a long rectangle and a circle would have been a better option for us, perhaps next time we could request that.  As usual, the service was excellent with knowledgable staff who clearly wanted to be there.  We had a minor (well major) spillage of a coffee at the end of the meal and the wait staff were on to it before the mess could spread.

I have a special affinity for Bistron One Eleven in that we both started our journeys at the same time.  My decision to start blogging coincided with the development and design of the restaurant and building.  My first blog was here and while it was short and sharp, it has developed and evolved and I hope become well loved, just like Bistro One Eleven.  I hope Bistro One Eleven will be a favourite of Brisbanites for some time to come, just as I hope people keep enjoying my blog.


The Duck Liver parfait
The Confit Chicken
The wild rabbit orechiette
The wagyu minute steak
Great setting and the most comfy seats ever
A round table next time would be better
Bistro One Eleven on UrbanspoonBistro One Eleven


  1. That wagyu minute steak looks amazing!!!!

  2. Thanks Dave, it certainly looked amazing, I might have to have that one myself next time I go :)


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