Photo by Joshua Mellin
WHERE TO EAT
Shingle Inn City Hall: Shingle Inn City Hall offers up salads, smoothies, and sandwiches. (If you’re feeling fancy, you can also join them for a high tea.) But the real draw here is the building’s crazy history. Originally located at 1936 Edward Street, the establishment was closed and reopened in the Brisbane City Hall in April of 2013, with its original wood paneling, tables, dishware, menus, all transferred with the hopes of recreating the original location as carefully as possible.
LongTime: Brisbane’s premier South Asian restaurant splits the difference between Thai and Western cuisines, often mixing both into the same dish. Pair any one of their curries (both lobster and cauliflower were big hits) with a selection of bar snacks, including bloody mary oysters, spring rolls, and garlic chicken mini burgers. Room for dessert? (Admittedly, this might be a stretch, but that’s why sharing was invented.) Try one of its unique flavor combinations, like the black sesame mousse with coconut caramel or the passion fruit marshmallow with Szechuan pepper pineapple. Make peace now with having to roll out your way out of the dark, artfully lit dining room.
Aria: Take a deep breath, mutter “treat yo self,” and book a table at Aria, a dining experience well worth the price of admission. Located in the Eagle Street Pier, this is a white tablecloth affair with cynicism-banishing views of the harbor. (Translation: You’re going to want to jockey for a seat by the window.) Under the direction of chef Matt Moran, Aria serves small plates comprised of fresh, local ingredients, so the menu will change seasonally but expect complex and flavorful combinations regardless. Brussels sprouts with parsnips, sherry, and garlic flowers; Wagyu bresaola with parmesan cheese and fried bread; and achingly fresh banana and butterscotch soufflé are just some of the things that were offered to yours truly. Wine lovers rejoice, Australia is your country. Not sure what goes with your meal? Aria has an on-staff sommelier to guide you toward the perfect pairing.