Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

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Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brisbane Restaurant Award - the Euro

181 Mary Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
ph: 07 3229 3686

Bizvegas, man! It’s all kind of Brizzy, and a bit Vegasy too.

The first leg of my book tour saw me landing in Brisbane, the beautiful city on the Brisbane River after which the town is named – a river which, in consideration of being appreciated by the locals, only occasionally floods and wipes away all infrastructure.

And the bits and pieces left behind scrub up not too shabbily...

The Brisbane River has a bit of a swampy feel, appropriate to the tropics, with mangroves on the shores sheltering mosquitos bearing various fevers, before emptying into Morton Bay which, from the air, looks very silty (which explains why Morton Bay bugs taste so muddy and you have to cook them in a mix of water and vinegar to flush the mud taste out…).

While I visited Brisbane, the weather was fantastically sunny; having come from wrist-slittingly depressing and grey Melbourne. I was sweating bullets as I lugged books from store to store and visited various literary luminaries. Still, the warmth didn’t stop the locals from wearing scarves and overcoats. I couldn’t work out whether they were dressed like that because they thought it was genuinely cold having acclimatised to the tropics (I could have got around in jocks and a t-shirt myself), or if it was because it was notionally winter, and they could all parade the various things in their closets that allowed them to wear layers (i.e “It’s winter time. It’s just like Europe! Now where’s my fur coat?”).

As I sweated from store to store, I promised myself a taste of la dolce vita as a reward for the ‘Death of a Salesman’ lifestyle I was subjecting myself to. A quick internet search on my phone revealed one of the top restaurants in Brisbane to be ‘The Euro’. And my phone was frighteningly accurate.

The Euro is conveniently located nearly next door to a Belgian Beer Hall down by the river in the CBD proper. The building in which it’s situated is a three way venue; also housing a degustation restaurant of a different name next door called “Urbane Restaurant”, and a reception venue in the basement. The décor is exposed brick and the fit out involves funky coloured glass in purple and yellows.

On arrival I was greeted by yet another maitre d’ with a beard. “Tsk, typical”, I thought, but he was quite nice.

As a quick aside (and let’s face it, these articles are really just a series of asides strung together) I know this is going to make me sound like an old fart, but I can’t wait till this Gen Y beard thing is over.

I am also, incidentally, sick of concepts like “hand crafted” (i.e. “It’s a hand crafted beer”) and “heritage” things like fixy bicycles and axes. Look, I get it. You were born after the invention of computers and pine for the good old days when you had to kill your food in a paddock and cook it on a fire you built yourself, but some of us are already that old and it’s not glamorous. Stop having “old school fun with a new age feel” and acting like you’ve invented everything again.

Like facial hair.

Diatribe complete. For now…

There were only two other clients at the Euro while I had lunch, which made for interesting eves-dropping; one was the president of the Queensland cricket board (apparently) and the other was a sports manager up from Melbourne (they were talking about James Hird - his drug taking fiasco - and Richo, the affable AFL sports commentator).

For lunch I enjoyed beer, seared scallops to start, followed by a roasted spatchcock accompanied by a green salad with quinoa (each with matching wines), coffee and a Grand Marnier; about a hundred dollars. Very nice really, though they did use the same purrees to decorate both my dishes (i.e. eggplant puree and pesto). I left a signed book as part of my tip (generous me!), and left feeling thoroughly loved… by me at least.

So, when in town, can I recommend the Euro? I give it six and a half tentacles out of eight and award it the Kit's Cucina Award for best Brisbane restaurant 2014!