The Charming Squire | Shop 3, 133 Grey Street, SOUTH BANK QLD 4101

Some of you may recall from a post that I wrote quite a while ago that the other travel bunnie had promised me two international holidays and two domestic holidays a year at the beginning of our relationship. He had certainly kept his promise in that regard, well, that was up until Minibun George was born. Now, it's a little difficult to get a three month baby around. We are still trying to perfect his manners at fine dining restaurants, let alone international flights (and speaking of international flights, Minibun George is due for one, but I'll keep that a secret for now).

So yes, to keep life in BrisVegas interesting, the other travel bunnie and I often find ourselves being very spontaneous. Like last night. We were about to head out for our weekly walk through the City Botanic Gardens, then around South Bank when the other travel bunnie suddenly suggested a quick stopover at the newly opened The Charming Squire. As if I was going to say no to that!

Operated by the Mantle Group, The Charming Squire has no doubt become one of the hottest post work drinking spots around. In fact, the bar was completely packed when we arrived shortly after six o'clock but luckily for us, the restaurant was quiet and we easily got a table without a reservation.

I couldn't help but to love the minimalistic open space of the restaurant; the high ceilings and the wooden and dark leather furnishing are so inviting and release a sense of timeless style. We started off with a lemon lime & bitters ($4.50) and a pint of the in-house brewed pale ale ($7). The restaurant menu is an unpretentious affair of pretty much meat based options, with a few seafood dishes available. I initially was going to order the Garrison's Farm Dorper Lamb ($34 for 250g), but I was told that both the lamb and the beef were unavailable at the time so I had the Berkshire Pork instead with a side of steamed broccolini, almonds, goat's cheese, sumac and duck fat kipfler potatoes, truffle ($34 for 250g with a choice of two sides). As for the other travel bunnie, he ordered the James Squire Beer Battered Fish & Chips ($28).

The wait on the food took quite a while. We were puzzled at the long wait until we realised that the restaurant kitchen also provides food for the bar (which was packed as I have mentioned above). When the other travel bunnie ordered his meal, I had thought that $28 for fish and chips was perhaps a little pricey. But the dish justified the price. The fish and chips were wrapped in a sheet of faux-newspaper, presented on a wooden chopping board was also some garden salad. The beer batter was crunchy with each bite and the cod was cooked so well; its flesh was tender and tasted extremely delicious with the tartare sauce.

The Berkshire Pork on the other hand was quite underwhelming. As the menu suggests, the meats are slow cooked over the wood fired coal pit so I was expecting finger licking goodness, but instead I found the meat to be quite dry and although the dish came with a generous amount of pork crackling, it was too tough to chew and had to be abandoned. And what happened to the almonds that were supposed to accompany the broccolini? I did like the apple sauce on a positive note.

Knowing that I didn't enjoy my food as much as he did, the other travel bunnie ordered a Mantle & Moon coffee crème brûlée ($14) for me. And I luuuuurved it. It arrived in a cappuccino cup with vanilla foam on the top and for a second there I had seriously thought that I was given a cappuccino by mistake. The crème brûlée was rich and creamy, it was beautifully done and I must strongly recommend this dessert.

Look, there were a few teething problems and although the waitstaff were extremely friendly, they still need to familiarise themselves with the menu and the operation of the restaurant a little better. At the end of our meal, the manager came over to ensure that everything went well with our meal and during the conversation, he too admitted that there are a few teething problems that required attention but said that they are working hard to resolve the issues. Regardless of the negatives, we both had a good time and thought that dinner has exceeded our expectations.

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $87.50

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