E’cco Bistro has come along way since 1995. Recently, E’cco celebrated their 18th birthday. Owner/chef Philip Johnson has brought simple, unpretentious fare to the outskirts of Brisbane city for 18 years.
The menu is simple and featured food that looks not out of place with many of today’s modern menus. Many things which are commonplace these days would’ve been exotic and unknown back in the mid-90s. The venue still maintains many of the same decor from 18 years ago. A true testament that Philip’s ideas and thinking was way ahead of his time. An assortment of round tables and long tables make E’cco well accommodating for a date for two up to large groups. There’s the E’cco bar is also available for private functions.
I was lucky enough to sample many favourites from the original e’cco menu.
We were treated to fresh bread and butter before our entrees came. A simple touch that is always nice. My love for butter is like no other. We each picked a different entrée and in true food-lover style, shared everything. My pick of rice wine marinated scallops with spiced avocado and gazpacho was tantalising. I’ve never eaten raw scallops before, they were slippery, delicate and creamy. Delicious. My other favourite was a flavour combo punch of steamed mussels with saffron, chilli, coriander and ginger. A perfect example of simple but tasty flavours. The grilled quail with tuscan bean stew was a classic European-inspired dish, perfect for winter. The field mushroom was dark, rich and earthy especially with the drizzle of truffle oil (recipe here).
My main was the barramundi with chilli and tomato compote, saffron and zucchini. Crispy skin? Check. Light but flavourful broth/bisque? Spicy, Asian-flavours? Check, check. This one ticked all the right boxes. The other dishes including the slow-cooked duck (not pictured, recipe can be found here), beef eye fillet and roast pork belly looked equally heartwarming.
Followed by four desserts split between three girls. My pick of affogato with almond biscotti for dipping was just what I needed after a long day. The overall favourite dessert had to be the banana tarte tatin which was warm and sticky from the caramelised banana. The rum and raisin ice cream was a perfect accompaniment. The gold-leafed coffee beans scattered over the chocolate tart turned out to be bittersweet cocoa nibs! How cute! Surprising details like this always make dining exciting. The poached pear with spice cake and mascarpone was lighter and more subtle in flavour compared to the other desserts but still tasty on it’s own.
We finished up with a soothing peppermint tea to help digest the feast we just demolished. I walked out with as much grace as one could have whilst carrying around a full-term food baby. My glow was one of complete and utter satisfaction of a fabulous meal.
Happy birthday, E’cco.
Dining details: Wednesday 7th August. 6.30pm dinner for 4. E’cco Bistro’s 18th Birthday dinner.
Verdict: A restaurant that can be successful for as long as 18 years just tells you that E’cco Bistro are doing all the right things. The simple, uncomplicated food speaks for itself without fancy tricks. This is a place you’d want to take your parents or work colleagues. It’s of a high standard but it’s casual enough that you won’t make anyone feel intimated.
This restaurant takes the award for: standing the test of time in Brisbane’s dining scene.
Open 5 days a week
Tuesday – Friday, 12pm to 2.30pm
Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm to late
100 Boundary Street, corner of Adelaide Street, Brisbane
I was an invited guest on behalf of Lucid Media and E’cco Bistro.