|Pork belly accompanied by apple.|
The first time I noticed the term "KFD", I was so slow witted that I did not even think of Kentucky Fried. That was because this is on the menu of the Public, a rather ambient dining and watering hole at the quiet end of George Street , as far away from the Treasury Casino as you can get. Located up an escalator, the Public is on the first floor, exudes suggestions of a private club with just the right level of subdued lighting. I can see groups at tables perhaps seeking refuge from the world after a long day - business colleagues, middle aged mates, huddles of women, couples and families.
Oh yes, back to KFD and this Public version of deep fried and spicy battered duck. Duck dishes are my weakness I admit, but I was distracted then by other interesting offerings in the menu that evening. Spatchcock - yes. Belly pork - a definite YES! Cocktails - oh ya. The drinks list is generous - a potential and actual place for business gatherings.
|Scallops with bacon.|
We started with relaxing drinks, I chose the low glass Malabar Crush, with hints of spices and getting into a comfy zone. The best refresher is perhaps the Cucumber Collins. The strongest offering is possibly the Charred Monk, with a foundation of Dom Benedictine, La Goya sherry and Bowmore's, then tempered with a twist of Jerry Thomas bitters. The Public Nuisance may appear light in spirit, with Elderflower, strawberry, cucumber and sparkling wine, but do not forget there is gin. On an interesting note, there is egg white in A Parting Gift, which is also graced by Amaro Nonino, Bourbon and peached tea.
And you can have your Pina Colada too.....
For food starters, I recommend the south east Asian spinach (Kangkong) served with worms, if it is still available; the Emu Tartare with mustard and the duck egg, runny served on toast and enhanced with truffle.
|The Treasury Building, walkable from the Brisbane River but on the other side from the South Bank. (photo below)|
Entree salads (Photo above)
The cuisine style here can be baffling to pin down. It suggests inspirations from various cooking traditions, some fusion and definitely making use of the best Aussie ingredients.
In conversation with staff, one of them perhaps summed it up best - "a bit of everything, the best of each". Therein to me lies the attractiveness of its menu - it can surprise, it can be relied upon and it can be different.
Five of us at the table were provided generous serves of dishes requested, with even the sides in large portions! I did find the pork crackling rather light coloured but not oily at all.The Cous Cous Chickpea, drizzled with lime, was an appetiser all right. Scallops are best prepared in my view in French, Cantonese and Tasmanian styles - that evening we had scallops served with bacon, which combines the contrasts of delicate seafood tastes with the traditional breakfast crispy crunch.
Staff service is attentive and we soon mellowed into the night. A rather late evening as well. This is a place with no rush though for dinner time - and the set pace by Public makes your evening. The best of sea and turf is exemplified by just one offering from Public - that of Chorizo served with octopus and potato. Isn't it remarkable, I initially thought, of such a combination? The strong bite of a preserved sausage is taken with the rather different texture of the seafood. The potatoes are though, like those served with fish in the European style.
Oh yes, the spatchcock met beyond my expectation.. It came out well cut, with a juicy bite and wholesome outcome on my palate. Apple slices tempered a meaty sensation but then it was garnished with sesame as well. The pork belly appeared with traditional garnishing of cherry and apple, making me feel it was already Christmas night. Both meat dishes struck me as having the right level of succulence, presentation and uplifting enhancing sides.
Making use of seasonal and sustainable sourced ingredients and supplies does show out in the food, apart from the craft and culinary styles practised in the kitchen. Framed coloured drawings of creatures that are on the menu grace the walls like in traditional hunting lodges, but the hipster element still comes through with bare concrete floors, Scandinavian themed timber chairs and tiled walls.
Public Restaurant visited is located at 400 George Street, Brisbane, Queensland, near the corner with Turbot Street.
It was awarded One Chef's Hat in 2016.
Opening hours are from 1130am to 11pm every week day and from 5pm to 11pm on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.
Contact +617 3210 2288
My impressions of Public in Brisbane are:
Ambiance: 4 out of 5
Culinary: 4 out of 5
Staff Engagement: 4 out of 5
X Factor: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5