The wait is almost over. Wednesday, May 5th will see the Ghanem Group open the doors to the new luxurious rooftop bar, Iris, and believe us when we say, no expense has been spared.
The Ghanem Group never fails to excite the dining scene of Brisbane, opening Bisou Bisou in February earlier this year with flawless reviews, diners can expect nothing less from their new rooftop bar, Iris.
Located above the coveted Hotel X on Brunswick Street, this long-awaited venue has been designed to evoke Mediterranean coastline vibes, perfectly enhancing the essence of Queensland’s subtropical weather.
Sound good? Well, it gets even better.
This rooftop venue boasts pool side bungalows (yes, there is a pool!), a luxe, 200-seat restaurant and sprawling birds-eye views of the Brisbane cityscape spanning all the way from Fortitude Valley to the Story Bridge. If you are after something a little more intimate for you and your friends, you can also book their boutique, 14-seat private dining space for those cosy occasions. Just Imagine yourself sipping from a jug of perfectly brewed sangria while the sunset takes all your worries away.
Head Chef Lloyd Evans and Executive Chef, Jake Nicolson, have united to create the perfect menu of Mediterranean inspired dishes. They have partnered with small local artisan producers, farmers, and fisherman to ensure that you are getting only the finest and freshest produce. I had the opportunity to ask Head Chef Lloyd Evans some questions.
What was the inspiration behind this menu?
Iris’ menu is inspired by travelling in the Mediterranean coast from Beirut to Barcelona – leaning on quintessential flavours and spices, enticing guests with refreshing dishes that lend to the warmer Queensland climate. We wanted to bring a piece of Europe to Brisbane, particularly considering we are not able to travel right now.
A lot of heart and soul goes in to creating a menu, what would you like your diners to take away from this menu?
Executive Chef Jake Nicolson and I ultimately set out to craft a menu that connects diners over delicious share-plates in a casual, yet high-quality dining experience. We hope that diners’ tastebuds are transported to adventures in the Greek Islands and Spain for the ultimate authentic Mediterranean dining experience right here in the heart of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
What do you love about this menu?
This menu has been thoughtfully crafted to combine the essence of a European Summer with Queensland’s subtropical lifestyle. I personally love that this menu is completely unique and will inject a new flavour into Brisbane’s vibrant dining scene.
What will be the perfect drink to sip on while eating this menu?
With this cuisine, you cannot go wrong with a delicious jug of Sangria. Our incredible bar team has concocted a wonderful selection of white, red or rose sangria to enjoy. Or if cocktails are more your style, I highly recommend the tropical Pink Pina Colada.
Top 4 highlights (dishes) on this menu?
Drawing from strong connections with small local artisan producers, farmers and fisherman, the Iris rooftop menu features a broad range of dishes ideal for sharing. My top picks would include:
▪ BBQ Pork rib pinchos with macadamia honey glaze, red claw crayfish tails with guanciale & smoked chorizo butter
▪ Red claw crayfish tails with guanciale and smoked chorizo butter
▪ Heritage tomatoes with migas bread, stracciatella and sumac dressing
▪ Dressed crab on grilled baby gem with avocado mojo verde and smoked salmon roe
Overall, what can your diners expect from this menu?
Our diners should expect a gourmet menu and concoction of tantalising beverages that take Brisbane’s rooftop bar and restaurant experience to decadent new heights.
How is this menu different to other menus you have created?
This menu is a fun and colourful mix of authentic Spanish flavours with cuisine based off the Mediterranean coastline. With so many countries to take inspiration from, it has been a real pleasure to take real creative freedom with the design of the menu.
The location of this new venue is unique, did it inspire any of the dishes your created?
Absolutely, with Queensland sub-tropical weather and the rooftop vibes, we are able to create the genuine feel of being on the Mediterranean coast. The Managing Directors wanted an open-air feel to the venue, but obviously had to take into consideration the unpredictable Queensland storms, so installed an incredible retractable roof and blinds – meaning at the click of a button we are back undercover! So rain, hail or shine, our guests can enjoy the Iris experience.
Do you have a favourite dish on the menu? and if so, what is it?
I don’t like to pick favourites! But I do have a soft spot for the Red claw crayfish tails with guanciale and smoked chorizo butter, as we are the first venue in Australia to work with Cherax Park and receive this Red Claw Crayfish.
Top 3 highlights in your career?
1. Working with Executive Chef, Jake Nicolson and Head Chef of Bisou Bisou, Anthony Donaldson, has absolutely been a highlight – not only are they incredibly talented and generous with imparting their knowledge, but they are both genuinely great guys.
2. Working with the Managing Directors, Nehme and Adonis Ghanem – they have played a huge role in my career journey and have given me so many opportunities to grow and learn and I will be forever grateful.
3. I’m not above getting my hands dirty and cutting up onions, I love the grind and am truly happy to get in early and be the last to leave. I am passionate about all kinds of food and cooking styles, so being able to wake up each day and do what I love and am passionate about is a true highlight.
If your travel bug keeps bugging you and you are missing that feeling of jumping on a plane and landing in an exotic location, this new rooftop bar is sure to make you feel like you have magically landed in the middle of the Mediterranean
Open 7 days from 11 am until late, Iris is located at 458 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. To make a booking at the bar, restaurant or private dining space, visit: www.irisrooftop.com.au or [email protected]
Julia is a total food nerd who considers herself a bánh mì and dumpling connoisseur. She enjoys long walks along the beach and frolicking with her dogs on freshly mown grass. When she’s not procrastinating about going to the gym, she can be found planning her next meal, sipping limoncello in a bubble bath