It’s Spring here in Brisbane which means restaurants are tempting us with their new Spring menus.The fresh produce is at its best and local chefs are using ingredients in new and tantalising ways. One of our favourite restaurants is Bacchus South Bank which is found on the Pool level at Rydges. We’ve had birthday dinners, date nights and dinner with a group of friends at this stylish restaurant. Rydges feels like a second home to me now as I’m there so often for interviews and theatre after parties. It always has a generous and welcoming feel.
My eldest son has visited recently as he won a night at Rydges, tickets to the opera and a meal at Bacchus at last year’s Melbourne Cup Party. He raved about the lovely Winter menu, so when Kath Rose and the team from Bacchus invited She Society to sample their new Spring menu we knew we were in for a treat.
At Bacchus you can order from a selection of Degustation Menus or a la carte and the Spring Tasting Menu is also available with options for Vegans and Vegetarians. A great initiative! I have one of my sons who is vegan and it is always a bit of a struggle when we go out as a family. Bacchus is more than happy to accommodate any dietary needs.
Walking into Bacchus you are instantly relaxed by the warm chestnut colour palette and luxurious surrounds. We were ushered to a table with one of their special wing backed chairs for me, which I sank into gratefully after a busy day of teaching. My husband has meetings all day on Tuesdays and also visibly relaxed in the ambient surrounds. We looked out over the pool deck to the glittering lights of South Bank and enjoyed watching the meals being brought to the diners around us. One of the entrees was smoked and was a delightful piece of theatre, with the smoke dispersing as the waiter raised the glass cloche.
We were offered a selection of oysters or caviar to start. As I opened the menu I was very tempted by the Vegetarian ‘ Tastes of Spring’ Menu’ but I finally decided to order from the a la carte and I’m so glad I did. We began our meal with a selection of beautifully chosen bread before proceeding to our entrees. My husband ordered a delicious duck ravioli which was served al dente with carrot and consommé. It looked lovely with the addition of a foam with the delicate ravioli nestled inside. I ordered the celeriac from the Discovery Australia section. This can also be found on the Degustation menu. You would swear it was tuna when it arrived at the table, but when I cut into it the beautiful glossy vegetable shone through. Coated in sesame seeds and served with a lemongrass and potato broth this was a surprising and tasty start. After entrée came a delicious and beautifully presented palate cleanser called mojito. The citrusy flavour popped on your tongue.
Our charming hosts could not have been more helpful and service was top notch. They just get it right at Bacchus. Service is exacting but still friendly. My husband agreed, as he perused the extensive award winning wine list which he said is second to none. Wines are the domain of Head Sommelier, Andrew Giblin who can guide you on flavours and styles of wine from around the world. We ordered a bottle of French Chablis which perfectly complimented our entrees and my quail.
My husband can’t go past a lamb dish for Spring and at Bacchus they serve Milly Hill lamb which is raised on the pastures of the New England Tablelands in New South Wales. He was delighted with his perfectly cooked lamb rump served with herb salad, puffed buckwheat, charred leek and a black garlic jus. He said the black garlic jus was one of the best jus he’d ever tasted. In fact all the sauces and consommés were praiseworthy. He couldn’t resist ordering some fat hand cut chips as an accompaniment and he was one satisfied diner.
My main was divine. I ordered the inventive Quail dish with parsnip, wasabi, coffee and mixed seeds. Quail can be finicky with all those little bones. Yet this dish was a treat for the eyes and palate. With the surprisingly delicate coffee flavoured sauce and perfectly deboned quail it was one of the most exciting dishes I’ve eaten lately. Best of all the quail is sourced locally from Coominya in the Brisbane Valley.
A ruby grapefruit sorbet was a lovely palate cleanser before we began perusing the dessert menu. One of the heros for Spring is simply called Strawberry. It is whimsical and fun with the meringue shaped like a mushroom with ivoire valrhona chocolate and a strawberry sorbet. Classic spring flavours which looks like a work of art!
I’ll need to visit again to try the Coconut on the Beach served with lime and butterscotch or perhaps the Apple which boasts Granny Smith Apple, marscapone , caramel and yuzu. You had me at yuzu. Another of my preferred fruits! You can even have a dessert Degustation to satisfy that sweet tooth.
If we’d had some room after our feast we’d try some of the amazing selection of cheese from the Cheese trolley. I spied a Papillon Roquefort, which is my very favourite cheese in the world and also a Shropshire Blue from England. The cheese selection even contains vegan cheese! This is definitely a world class Cheese selection. I was also happy to see that the wagyu on the menu is served with cheese from my friends at Summerland Camels.
Thanks to Head Chef Massimo Speroni for a delightful meal filled with the delectable flavours of Spring. Our dinner offered an explosion of flavours, textures and colour , with great attention to detail. We visited on a Tuesday night and the restaurant was busy, so it would be best to book a table. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy the new and exciting offerings from some of Brisbane’s best restaurants and Bacchus South Bank would be hard to beat.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).