Restaurant review: Atelier Brasserie in Bowen Hills
“THIS is a bit nice,” says my friend as we enter the new Atelier Brasserie on the burgeoning foodie strip of King St in Bowen Hills.
The European-inspired space gleams with polished concrete floors, brass accents and sophisticated furnishings in charcoal and teal tones that could adapt to all occasions, from a professional business meeting to romantic dinner or special catch-up with friends.
The European-inspired space readily translates from business to romance. Pic Mark Cranitch
Bar seating makes it a fitting spot for solo diners, although the lighting is possibly 10 watts too bright.
However in a time when many restaurants are darker than a dodgy back alley and reading a menu requires the light of an iPhone, this might not be such a bad thing.
The brasserie is the first solo project for hospitality veteran Charlotte Barakat, whose family owned the renowned Gino’s in the Brisbane riverside suburb of Hamilton, and is just a spaghetti fling away from her sister’s Italian eatery, Il Verde on King St.
Rather than compete with her sibling’s restaurant, she hopes her venue will complement it, drawing diners for perhaps a cheeky drink or two from the tight but well-rounded wine list, or concise yet appealing cocktail offering, and a small bite before moving down the street to Il Verde.
But as you settle into one of those cosy banquettes — or perhaps a table on the footpath watching passers-by — you’ll find there’s plenty of reason to stay at Atelier.
The succinct menu from accomplished chef Americo Fernandes (ex-Margo, Paddington) is modern European, from king fish ceviche or cod croquettes as an entree to steak frites and duck confit for main.
The tomato gazpacho ($15) is one of those dishes that grows on you a little more with each mouthful.
Poured at the table, the lightly aerated chilled tomato soup floods around a ring of brunoise tomato, cucumber and onion crowned with a perfect quenelle of capsicum sorbet, almost mango-like in its sweetness. It creates a plate that intrigues with its juxtaposition of textures and temperatures.
Moreton Bay bug ravioli. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Moreton Bay bug ravioli ($19) is more conventional, but equally well executed with the delicate parcels of pasta nuzzling creamy parsnip puree, while fried strings of parsnip act like chips to give crunch.
A main of gnocchi ($28) shows a deft hand in the kitchen, with the potato dumplings melting like butter yet kept light and fresh with in-season baby asparagus, and corn kernels. Though a little more sauce wouldn’t go astray.
Those seeking a real flavour punch might opt for stuffed calamari ($35) – tender tubes of squid bloated with a well-seasoned bulgur mix, sitting atop sauteed strings of capsicum and supporting two lightly-battered baby squid.
With portions sufficient, an entree and main is more than enough for most, but those craving a sweet fix could look to desserts such as baklava with Turkish delight sorbet ($15) or a mille-feuille of rhubarb and lavender ($15).
Atelier is just what Barakat was looking to achieve – the smart eatery that could easily become a go-to multiple times a week, or the special occasion venture when you don’t want to break the bank.