Brisbane has always boasted a clutch of fine French restaurants but as more and more imported talent floating around the city, things have gotten positively magnifique.
The Brisbane French restaurant by which all others are measured, Montrachet may have changed owners and location in late 2017 but its menu of seasonal French staples remains intact. The new King Street spot is a winner, carefully transposing the iconic comptoir and auburn leather seats that defined the Paddington original but matching them to a bigger kitchen that allows chef and co-owner Shannon Kellam more room for experimentation. The Montrachet boulangerie is just around the corner if you’re exploring the area in the morning.
1/30 King Street, Bowen Hills; (07) 3367 0030
Boucher is hidden across Walter Taylor Bridge in Graceville, a sleepy enclave 20-minutes from the CBD but the menu is worth travelling for: a line-up of French classic such as orange and soy roasted duck breast, poached crab mousse and a bouillabaisse that’s something of a local legend. The food is accompanied by a brilliant list of French wines so organise a lift home.
365 Honour Avenue, Graceville; (07) 3716 0388
Discovering a dining room like the one at Greenglass, with its high ceiling, metres of wood and original brickwork, is a treat in Brisbane, where knocking down the heritage was once considered a rite of passage for the city. Thankfully, the short, well-priced menu of French-inspired dishes is just as impressive, and a wine list of small Australian producers (working in European styles) is truly exceptional. In the middle of the courts district, this gets full fast on Friday and Saturday nights — call ahead to ensure you get in.
336 George Street, Brisbane; 0403 966 671
La Lune Wine Co
It’s easy to get waylaid before you find La Lune Wine Co at the far end of Fish Lane, such is the flashy rambunctiousness of its nearer neighbours. But star chef Paul McGivern’s wine bar rewards those who seek it out. This small, dimly lit venue with its classy, understated fit-out slings an impressive list of French wines and local drops made in a Gallic style (including more expensive options available by the glass via Coravin), matched to a short menu of charcuterie, cheese and mains.
5/109 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane; (07) 3255 2420
Choquette is about as good as boulangeries get south of Perpignan. If the beguiling fit-out of polished floors and mosaic tiles doesn’t get you, the stacks of pain aux raisins and croissants will. Golden-baked baguettes and loaves of sourdough are the go-to if you’re staying in one of the many Airbnbs in the area; otherwise, grab a coffee and take your haul to nearby New Farm Park, a brilliant waterside greenway.
1/19 Barker Street, New Farm; (07) 3358 6336
Introducing the restaurant where there’s just one item on the menu. Les Bubbles, with its dedication to steak frites, red banquettes and neon, might seem like a reductive redux of a French bistro but its oddball history makes it stand out. The space was formerly a 1980s hotspot for the rampant corruption that defined Queensland’s “moonlight state” years, best captured in the peculiar portraits hanging above the front door. Plus, the fries are bottomless.
144 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley; (07) 3251 6500
85 Miskin St
For years, Brent Farrell peddled a high-end take on his exquisite French cuisine at Brent’s: The Dining Experience. In 2014, the chef-owner recreated the venue as the more relaxed 85 Miskin St, taking the opportunity to let his menu roam more widely. Still, Farrell’s heart remains in France: see the slow-cooked lamb shoulder with burnt eggplant and smoked goats chèvre and crispy skinned pork belly with boudin noir. The restaurant, in an old convenience store at the bottom of a vertiginous backstreet, is the classic Brisbane suburban diner — leave early so you find it in time.
85 Miskin Street, Toowong; (07) 3371 4558
Crust & Company Artisan Baking
You might think you’re approaching a deserted warehouse as you come across a sign reading “The Red Brick Bakery” but creep around the side and you’ll find Crust & Co, a commercial shopfront run by Sebastien Pisasale and Lara Keating (who also own Choquette in New Farm). The prized spelt sourdough loaves sell out quickly on weekends but the flan parisienne or cherry brioche slice will better satisfy your sweet tooth.
140 Edmondstone Street, Wilston; (07) 3162 2468