This place and its new winter menu came to my attention via Instagram. It is certainly a social media avenue that I am discovering, as others have, is much better for piquing interest in food. We do, after all, eat with our eyes first.
I had heard about the place, but as it is primarily a cocktail bar, and, as previously mentioned, I don’t drink, I had paid little attention. Bring food into the picture, however, and it is another matter.
It isn’t the easiest place to find, which seems to be what bars are doing these days. If you get really hungry, you risk being distracted by Churburger. Keep going past Churburger’s outdoor astroturfed seating/eating area though, and you will get to the glass-doored lift that has “Up” painted behind it. On the top floor is where you’ll find it.
It is a very nicely done up area, with tall tables and seats closer to the bar, and couches further out on the balcony. The tall glass windows mean a good view out to the surrounding city, and get you wondering about how Brisbane is progressing. More buildings have come up over the last couple of years, and so have dining options. We were there on a weeknight, but I can imagine people lounging in the couches on the weekend, and the open space meaning that voices peter out rather than echoing inwards creating a din you struggle to hear anything else over.
Most of the menu pages are about drinks, but the food page also has appealing options.
The wild mushroom and taleggio arancini with porcini powder, truffle aoli, and rocket had just that bit of crunch in the outside, and were warm and soft on the inside, with earthy muchroom flavour. I’m not sure we worked out what the tuille crisp that went with it was.
The steak tartare with egg yolk, capers, and sourdough was also very good, with just the right amount of tang in the dressing.
The smoked ocean trout with compressed pickled cucumber, fennel puree, heirloom tomatoes, and sourdough was amazingly tender. The flesh separated with the side of the fork. The fennel puree was delicious. The dish as a whole had delicate flavours that went well together.
The salt and pepper lamb ribs with sesame, kecap manis, shallots, and lime were my favourite dish of the night. Wonderfully sweet and salty flavours with meat that was crispy on the outside and tender close to the bone. If there was space, we would have had a second plate of it.
The crispy pork belly pancake, grilled squid, kimchi, and spicy plum sauce came out with the ingredients laid out on the plate and a separate steamer basket of pancakes so you could assemble the rolls yourself. It was a nice idea, and the pork belly and squid when had on their own were nicely cooked and delicious. When all put together, however, the kimchi and plum sauce were overwhelming and you lost the other flavours.
Up on Constance is a place worth visiting or revisiting, and for more than just the drinks.
Price point: $10 to $18 per shared plate.
Value: Not bad. Even better when they do the one for one on food on Fridays.
Address: 20 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley
Phone: 07 3319 7899
Website: Up On Constance