The team behind Gold Coast restaurant Rick Shores brings its celebrated vibe to inner-city Brisbane with new restaurant Southside.
Southside shouldn’t really exist. Back in early December, when Queensland border restrictions had barely been lifted, a restaurant of this scale – 170 seats across three storeys in an inner-suburban laneway – had no business opening. Five months on, its dinner services are seriously busy.
Decked out with ferns that lend it the feel of an ancient temple looming out of the jungle, Southside sits tall and narrow in South Brisbane’s Fish Lane. Arches and precise brickwork echo the detail architects Richards & Spence applied to The Calile Hotel on James Street but the treatment here is darker, more charismatic.
“Southside is a counterpoint to Rick Shores,” says co-owner David Flynn. The two venues share an open air feel – Southside’s ground floor flows into the garden – and an affinity for pan-Asian cuisine, yet their disparate locations lend each a unique sense of place. “It’s this beautiful green space that swaps the noise of the ocean for the sound and feel of transit,” says Flynn of his latest restaurant. “It has a great inner-city energy.”
The food here is more approachable, too, with chefs Simon Hanmer and Benny Lam leaning towards fast paced dumpling and noodle dishes that suit the buzzy location. From the dim sum menu, chicken wontons are drenched in black vinegar and chilli oil, while pork xiao long bao come spicy. Share plates include Goolwa pippies tossed in XO sauce and a mushroom tofu that hums with chilli. Still, the heroes come from the wok – there’s char kway teow stuffed full of Moreton Bay bug and lap cheong as well as a fragrant masterstock duck tossed with supple housemade noodles. To drink, the wine list places Australian boutique producers such as Smallfry and Latta alongside an impressive selection of old-world drops, while cocktails skew left-of-centre (try a grapefruit-based Southside to start, a plum wine Negroni to finish).
Despite the odds against opening a sprawling eatery in the midst of a pandemic, Southside’s vibrant atmosphere, big-name backers and even bigger flavours ensure it isn’t just existing, it’s thriving.