As FoodMeUpScotty, Anthony Clark is is one of Brisbane’s top foodie bloggers extraordinaire.
The recently completed Midtown Apartments in Charlotte Street held a bit of a surprise: a brand spanking new bistro and bar. While not exactly a well kept secret, after attending the opening party I was intrigued enough to get in and check it out.
As Head Chef of 127 Bar & Bistro, Travis Crane is a local Chef who’s cut his teeth under some of Brisbane’s best chefs, including Brent Farrell of Brents Restaurant – now 85 Miskin Street. And after some years as head chef of Graceville’s French bistro Boucher, Travis has put his hand up to take on a new challenge – running a CBD bistro. Travis has put together a creative modern Australian menu that has distinctive French influences.
The 127 Bistro & Bar menu follows the current trend of using small and large plates, with an eye to share dining. The menu focuses on quite reasonably priced small plates to make the menu accessible to most diners. Our meal started with a serve of the duck liver parfait with fig and brioche, presented in a very unique way, with a fresh brioche roll accompanying a tear shaped bowl of soft duck liver parfait. The plate looked incredible and was clearly designed for sharing with the idea of breaking the brioche up and dipping it in the parfait. The rich, sweet and intense flavour of this parfait was wonderful where every mouthful was a delight.
The octopus with almond gazpacho, chorizo and grapes was presented ‘old school’ from a slate plate with a stunning presentation. It was truly art on a plate, with the perfectly cooked octopus tentacles delicately placed around the chorizo and grapes. The combination of the slightly charred octopus with the sweet chorizo was stunning, but the acidity from the grapes and the alternating sweetness from the almond gazpacho took the dish to a whole new level of greatness.
With amazing starters under our belt, we eagerly anticipated the main course. The first was the confit duck with pumpkin puree, roast beets and goats cheese. We were amazed with the immaculate presentation of this dish too; delivered on a custom made black slate with each ingredient perfectly placed in complete harmony. The perfectly confit duck had an earthy and wintery flavour while the flesh just fell off the bone.
Our second main was right off the specials board – and special it was. The wagyu rump with potato rosti, spinach and parmesan puree with mushroom had been guaranteed by our waiter that it would be the best steak ever. Having eaten a few steaks in my time, it seemed a pretty big call. I’m not sure if it was the best steak ever, but it was pretty damn close. The wagyu was cooked perfectly medium rare, beautifully presented with an incredibly silky smooth parmesan and spinach puree that really added to the flavour.
After the superb entrees and mains, we had high expectations for dessert. With a few delicious looking options to choose from, I decided on the coconut parfait, with pineapple, mint and lime, mainly because it sounded so refreshing. In keeping with the sensationally presented meal so far, the dessert looked incredible and very arty. There were some interesting textures on the slate from sponge, sorbet and parfait, pistachio crumb and a biscuit tuile. Together it was completely refreshing, quite tasty and without a doubt, one of the better desserts I’ve had around town.
While our first dessert was pretty, the second was a work of art. The white chocolate cheesecake with strawberry, balsamic and pistachio was a deconstructed marvel. With its lovely visual appeal from striking pink hues to contrasting textures, it was a delight, and it went down beautifully, with intense flavours and interesting textures to keep you intrigued the whole way through the dessert. It was a triumph, and well worth getting into 127 Bar & Bistro just to check out on its own.
It would be easy to walk past the unassuming 127 Bar & Bistro and not know what you could missed out on. The look, the taste and the experience were fantastic and well above my expectations, particularly considering the very reasonably priced entrees and mains. Chef Travis Crane has put together a menu that is ‘right now’, hitting the type of highs one would expect from a much more experienced chef.
Photo Credit: Anthony Clark