In the industrial backstreets of Brisbane’s Newstead, a little foodie mecca is emerging. Austin St – once previously only known for its car dealerships and mechanics – now boasts three of the city’s most popular eateries.
By day Banh Mi Factory is bustling with queues for what was voted the best banh mi in Queensland in the delicious 100 Best of the Best gongs at the end of last year; while next door is degustation restaurant Rogue Bistro and its warehouse-style, private function space The Refinery.
The latest is Bosco Wine Grill – taking over the front of what was an ugly grey shed and production facility for top bakery Brewbakers and turning it into a strikingly sexy fire-powered culinary pleasure dome.
The dining room at Bosco, Newstead.
Diners enter through dark curtains hanging beneath a roller door, revealing a long, dimly lit room with rows of large heavy tables down one side cosied up by drape partitions and the star attraction – the parilla grill and custom-built open fire oven – down the other. In what is becoming somewhat of a norm these days, there is no gas or electricity used for cooking in the kitchen at Bosco, just the power of flame.
It leads to an enticing European-inspired, share-style menu that doesn’t leave you singed by too much smoke or char, but harnesses it carefully, delivering subtle hints here and there.
Brewbakers still operates out the back of the warehouse and as such, yeasty creations feature aplenty across the culinary line up, such as in the breadcrumbs covering the daily changing croquetas. On our visit, they’re beef and bechamel ($5 each) – the cow more there in flavour than pieces, resulting in pillowy mouthfuls of bovine-infused white sauce.
Chicken liver parfait cannoli at Bosco, Newstead.
Also revealing an explosive liquid centre is the chicken liver parfait cannoli ($5 each), with the crisp Italian pastry shell enveloping rich, salty poultry mousse. Brilliant!
For the vegetarian, perhaps, there are blackened green peppers ($18) arriving as a pile ready to be swiped through sharp pedro ximenez vinegar and sweet artichoke creme.
More of that Brewbakers bread appears – this time their signature sourdough made with a 27-year-old starter – alongside mussels ($28). Removed from their shells and lined up like the King’s guards outside Buckingham Palace in a puddle of cider cream, they are sensational, with the crusty bread there to mop up every last drip of the beurre blanc-like sauce.
Calamari with morcilla and peas at Bosco, Newstead.
Calamari tagliatelle ($28) is another winner – but don’t expect any pasta here. This, instead, is a tangle of tender twirls of spaghetti-shaped squid, entwined with crumbled morcilla sausage and baby peas for balance. From the bigger dishes that include whole roasted coral trout or black angus striploin, we choose the duck ($66), which would come close to being enough on its own if we weren’t so gluttonous.
The NSW-bred game bird arrives pre-sliced atop a puree of chickpea and a sour cherry jus, ready to be wrapped up in yeasted flat bread with its partnering pickled cabbage salad like some kind of delicious East-meets-West yiros.
Steak and fries at Bosco, Newstead.
The dessert list is rather simple with the likes of a crema Catalan and chocolate nemesis torta, so it’s perhaps best to order a selection of cheeses with the vast array hailing from Spain, Italy, France and Australia. Or maybe just opt for another glass of wine from owner Simon Hill’s outstanding list. The hospitality veteran (Bar Alto, New Farm) has been cellaring some notable drops, particularly burgundy, including a $6200 Clos des Grandes Vignes. But there is also a decent range for those without such deep pockets, with bottles starting at just $52; or signature and classic cocktails from $20.
While wood-fired restaurants may be becoming a dime or dozen, to do them well requires immense precision and skill, and Bosco delivers both in spades. Just bring a jacket as the airconditioning, to counteract the heat of the grill and oven, makes the place like an igloo.
BOSCO WINE GRILL
8 Austin St, Newstead
Fri-Sat noon-11.30pm; Sun 11.30am-10pm
Mussels with cider cream
Verdict – Scores out of 5