We heard about the Southside Bistro (not to be mistaken for the Southside Tea Rooms) when we were at the Soul Bistro in Milton. There had been flyers on the tables announcing the departure of a couple of the staff leaving to open the new place. Having enjoyed the food at Soul Bistro, we kept an eye out for the opening of the Southside Bistro.
We managed to find our way there at the end of the opening week, and although they haven’t been doing much advertising yet, I can vouch for it being a place to head to.
The menu consists mainly of items in the tapas section (in more generous serves than the tiny portions you get at other places, as one of the managers of the place suggested, to cater to the value-consciousness of the area), mantou burgers, and desserts. There is a separate breakfast/brunch menu, and also specials on the board. I can’t quite categorise the food as American or Western. Many of the dishes are fusion food dishes, but not all of them. Most are still items you may be familiar with, but with a twist. For instance, the Mantou burgers (for those who don’t know, a mantou is a fluffy bun, either steamed or steamed and then fried in chinese cuisine), with filling options like double cooked pork belly with tamarind and palm sugar glace, Enlish mustard, and apple and kale slaw. Or the pesto chicken risotto croquettes. Deciding on what to get was difficult, because we wanted to get just about everything on the menu. We eventually settled on:
The coconut prawn beignets. Deep-fried prawns in a coconut batter, with french onion and red pepper tapenade. A light, crispy batter, with perfectly cooked prawns on the inside. The tapenade was quite light, but there was also a tasty mayo drizzled over the top, so there was plenty of flavour.
The slow-cooked lamb belly ribs, flame-grilled and served with shredded kale, fennel, shiraz poached walnuts, and a balsamic reduction. The lamb meat was tender, and I’m sure they added other spices to that sauce as well. It had depth, and was sweet and savoury, with zest.
There was also a special on the board of pan-fried gnocchi with slow-cooked pork, prawn, and spinach. The sauce with it carried the richness of the pork. Once again, the prawns were perfectly cooked, and the pork pulled apart with ease.
I say there is always room for dessert, and definitely that is the case here.
The giant creme brulee with berry compote, vanilla ice cream, and coconut and peanut parcel had a good layer of caramelised sugar to crack through, and the custard underneath was smooth. The coconut and peanut parcel was interesting, like a chinese peanut brittle wrapped in filo pastry. It’s an interesting additional element, although the dish doesn’t strictly need it.
The deep fried green tea ice cream bao is another item you have to try. It was larger than I was expecting when it came out, so leave room. The green tea ice cream in the centre of it tastes of green tea, unlike other places where you get ice cream that just looks green. The bao layer is just the right thickness, not so thick that it is stodgy, and not so thin that it lets the ice cream out. The outer fried layer is actually crunchy, and there is also praline sprinkled on the ice cream to add another crunch element.
The decor is cosy, warm, and casual, with primary tones of brown, black, and grey. We heard from the managers/owners that they made most of it themselves, including building the outdoor seating deck area. It is a nice place to be. My one gripe is that the tables aren’t quite big enough for all the food one wants to order!
The staff (also the owners/managers, Max and Cindy) were great. They were friendly and happy to explain food and ordering options, and told us a bit about the venture.
Altogether, the Southside Bistro is a great little space, with very good food at good prices.
Price point: $9-$31 for items on the tapas list, most around the $13-$16 mark. Burgers $15-$22. Desserts $10-$15.
Value: Very good.
Address: Shop 49, 342 McCullough Street, Sunnybank (across the road from Market Square)
Phone: (07) 3172 5848
Website: Southside Bistro