As Queensland’s best restaurant in the 2016 Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants, Gerard’s Bistro has been on my wishlist all year.
Tucked away off Little James Street in Fortitude Valley, there’s a mix of indoor and outdoor seating.
The menu is filled with interesting and innovative dishes based on Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese cuisines.
Before my visit, I’d trawled the reviews and Instagram and come up with a fine short list.
Laham nayyeh, harissa, preserved lime, shallot, pickled cucumber, egg yolk $24
Grilled octopus, carrots cooked in black garlic, coal oil, almonds $26
Bekaa wings, kishk yoghurt, rose $18
Confit southern squid, mussels, hazelnut milk, warrigal greens, kishk $32
Fried cauliflower, tahini, ras el hanout, pomegranate, almond $16
Slow-roasted wagyu brisket for two with seasonal accompaniments $62
Sheep’s yoghurt sorbet, honeycomb, milk and orange blossom $16
Charred eggplant sorbet, tahini crumb, cacao and Arabic coffee $16
Valrhona chocolate ice cream, candied chilli, Aleppo pepper ganache $18
Plant and non-plant dishes are separated and the menu is perfectly designed for sharing.
So I knew I would be challenged because I was dining alone! What to do??
I was immensely jealous of those around me who were choosing from my short list too, but had fellow diners to share with. But I was just glad to finally be here and was determined not to waste this precious opportunity.
Being a great sweet tooth, I toyed with the idea of just maxing out the desserts, but landed on the signature dish Fried cauliflower, tahini, ras el hanout, pomegranate, almond…
…and the intriguing Charred eggplant sorbet, tahini crumb, cacao and Arabic coffee crisp.
The cauliflower was wonderful and great value for just $16. Only lightly fried the cauliflower was fresh and still had a little crunch. The tahini sauce was a perfect match and the pomegranate was a tart burst contrast. But having said that, it is best shared as a full plate for one is not ideal. I think maybe I should have gone with the confit squid, octopus or laham neyyah or indulged that thought to try the Fried lambs brains, quail blood morcilla, warm tahini, dried yoghurt $26 or the Smoked lamb sweetbreads, mushroom and white garlic, almond, buttermilk $23.
The eggplant sorbet did indeed have a charred flavour, as promised and was a little less sweet that I’d expected. But the generous sweet tahini crumb, like a halva, was a lovely accompaniment. The cacao and coffee crisp was also a wonderful addition. Not for everyone I’m sure, but I still remember enjoying it with great fondness and would absolutely need to order it again next time.
And next time – I need to take lots of friends with me!
Breakfast on the weekend would also be awesome – again – next time!
But perhaps the most impressive aspect, besides the food, is the service. It’s impeccable! Dining alone is never easy, but the staff made me feel special and incredibly welcome even though I could only order so little. From the eye contact and smile when I arrived, to the timey attention and concern about my enjoyment and satisfaction. I was immensely impressed by the staff.
PS if you need somewhere great to stay with a pool nearby that you’d feel comfortable walking to Gerard’s Bistro alone, try M&A apartments.