I’ve flitted briefly into Bacchus a handful of times to enjoy a quick drink. Always quick, always sort of feeling under-dressed.
It’s associated with all the glitz and glamour of Brisbane. Gold accents adorn the restaurant and bar. The luxury of a rooftop bar and pool makes you feel like you’re in a private penthouse that only the coolest of the cool hang out. If you’ve ever wondered up the staircase (or the lift) from Grey St on a Friday or Saturday night, you’ll find a well-dressed crowd floating around the rooftop pool and in amongst the dark wooden finishes, gold embroidered couches and sofas, golden sheer curtains and chandeliers of the bar and restaurant indoors.
My boyfriend and I were in need of a pre-theatre dinner (before Slava’s Snowshow!) so we had to be in and out relatively early. With Bacchus just a short walk from QPAC, I can imagine that as more people find out about Bacchus, it’ll become more popular for pre-theatre dining. We consulted with our waiter whether this would give us enough time to have an entree and main or to just have a main who gave us an honest answer that it was about a 10-15 minute walk to QPAC but that it would still be possible to have two courses and arrive on time.
We peruse the menu quickly – but being me, we had already basically decided upon our menu choices beforehand. I settled on their pork cheek – “carbonara” macaroni, parmesan custard, slow cooked hens egg ($22) whilst the boyfriend opted for rabbit – baby leek terrine, roasted hazelnut puree, pickled shemeji mushroom, croutons ($24).
The amuse bouche that night was a shot glass of warm potato and leek soup. A delicious start, especially on a cold winter’s night. This was followed with bread rolls. I was amazed that we were given a choice of white or rosemary and olive! I’ve never had a choice in bread (except on a cruise ship!) and I freaking love bread. Dipped into their house olive oil, I was already enjoying myself before we actually got to our meals!
The pork cheek was tasty, if on the scant side. The true star was the pasta and the carbonara sauce with the parmesan custard. Breaking the oozy sous vide-cooked egg in the pasta was magical. It was my favourite dish of the night. I’d happily eat this again and again. I wish I had more! The rabbit terrine unfortunately looked a little sad compared to my generous and elaborate-looking entree. Still, it didn’t lack in flavour, it was just more refined! The waiter explained that the pickled shemeji mushrooms were from Japan/Korea. It was a surprisingly delicious combination with vinegary mushrooms, subtle nutty hazelnuts and rabbit.
Our mains were Salmon – seared on a bed of saffron and chorizo risotto with chorizo mousse and salsa verde ($36). The boy chose the ballotine of veal with wild mushroom ragout, soft white polenta, veal sauce and sage brown butter ($38). I was super impressed as the generous portion of the mains and really think they were great value. The salmon was perfectly cooked with a thin, crisp skin. The risotto was moreish and the chorizo cream mousse was exciting. This dish was like a paella but taken to the next level. Delicious. The ballotine of veal was a great winter dish with rich, bold-flavoured mushrooms and a super smooth polenta.
The service was impeccable, on point and speedy. The kitchen obviously were told to give us extra priority as we easily finished up an amuse bouche, breads, entree and main within an hour giving us plenty of spare time to walk casually to QPAC for our show. The dishes were each explained to us and the waiters and waitresses actually showed a passion for food when doing so. These really nice touches to go above and beyond putting a dish on the table really make the dinner experience enjoyable. A shout out to our waiter, Zachary, who was really accommodating and providing some of the best service I’ve had in a long time.
Dining details: Wednesday 26th June. 5.45pm pre-theatre dinner for 2.
Verdict: I’ll return to this glitzy place for future pre-theatre dinners when I want to make a night of it. The food was fantastic and great value. I imagine that this restaurant is more suitable for couples on dates. An excellent place to impress and definitely one for a romantic night. They also have an ongoing high tea menu which looks equally satisfying for a girly afternoon.
This restaurant takes the award for: most likely to make you feel like you’re richer than you are.
Tuesday – Saturday, 5.30pm – 9.30pm (dinner service)
Podium level of Rydges Hotel, Cnr Grey & Glenelg Streets, South Bank