Gerard’s Bistro is my new favourite place. Tucked in off James Street it is a lovely textured space put together with a mixture of arched wooden battening, cream bricks and Moroccan tiles. The room is divided into different eating areas. There is a formal dining area down one end, a long bar and communal table near the kitchen and outside more casual seating. Whatever your mood, Gerard caters for it. And the food is pretty good as well.
My first visit was on a Sunday night, and the restaurant was quiet. My friends ordered lambs brains crusted in spice with tahini and yoghurt ($18) and the free range quail with honey, lavender, pomegranate and sage ($26) for entree. They both looked pretty good and disappeared without too much pain. For the main, I had the best bit if beef I have had for some time. The wagyu with smoked eggplant, wilted leaves and black cardamom ($34) was not a large serving but all the elements pulled together on the plate. The charcoal wagyu sang to the smoked eggplant and with the wilted leaves, I felt my iron levels soaring. We shared a side of heirloom tomatoes, shanklish (don’t ask …oh OK – it’s a middle eastern sheep’s milk cheese) and onion crisps ($12).
For dessert we shared the blood orange creme catalan ($10) and the pistachio financier, charred quince and halva ice cream ($16). Shared is probably nor the right word. After the first mouthful, I pulled the pistachio cake closer and growled at all comers. I did get my spoon into the blood orange catalan and that was pretty damned good as well.
I have since slipped back to Gerard’s for a quick lunch just to make sure it works for lunch as well as dinner. I ordered the quail with wilted greens and again all the flavours were there. The four little quail legs sat on rice with pomegranate mixed through with citrus zest. I cleaned off the plate in under a minute and was looking for more at the end.
I do like Gerard’s Bistro. The space works for both formal dining and a casual meal. The menu is well thought out and the produce used is of a high quality. But, for me, the servings are on the small side and the prices just high enough for it to be an issue. When the two meet up, Gerard’s will cement its place as my new favourite bistro.
Address: 14/15 James Street, Fortitude Valley
Phone: (07) 3852 3822
Hours: Tues – Sun. Midday to late.