Decisions, decisions. It is date night (nights, really) and we are staying in foreign territory. We left Brisbane two-and-a-half years ago and have lost touch with the trendy places of where to eat and drink in the River City.
We decided to base ourselves at one of Brisbane’s new hotels, Tryp, in Fortitude Valley. Tryp, part of the Wyndam Hotel chain, is Brisbane’s first art series inspired hotel.
The 65-room hotel oozes New York- hip style with walls covered with murals by Australian street artists Beastman, Rone, Numskull and Fintan Magee.
The building, which sits in Constance Street, was formerly the clubhouse of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, a secret philanthropic society that was founded in Harrogate, Yorkshire in 1822.
Our room for the night, on the first floor, had a brilliant orange door that led into a lovely spacious area with mood lighting. A portrait of Rone’s Jane Doe was the mesmerising focal point.
The bathroom was small but funky with a graffiti-inspired glass basin in tones of red, orange, yellow and black. The carpet had vibrant black and orange stripes that had me thinking of liquorice allsorts.
The mini bar was well stocked and although there was no bottle opener – there was a Vittoria pod coffee machine. Our King room had a real surprise when I opened the automatic blinds to find an internal courtyard with colourful graffiti walls and bright stools.
We didn't have to go far is search of our first dining experience - it was downstairs at the hotel’s restaurant, Chur Burger. Sydney celebrity chef Warren Turnbull, previously of Assiette and District Dinning, is the brains and the talent behind the Chur restaurant brand and it’s proving to be just as successful in Brisbane as it is in Sydney.
We had tried to get in for lunch, but the queue was too long. The menu is low-key and relaxed with a selection of burgers, snacks and mains. I opted for the famed pulled pork burger and slaw which was delicious as was the sweet potato fries – one bowl is never enough.
My husband snapped up the lamb burger with feta and red onion and is still raving about it days later. The street art theme continues in this restaurant and gives the place a very cool vibe.
Turnbull also runs UP, the rooftop bar. It has a great cocktail menu and bar menu offering tapas styled treats such as spiced chickpea fritters with pickled vegetables and honey labne, Asian styled oysters, crispy pork belly and kingfish carpaccio to name a few.
The casual space itself is furnished with ottomans and stools that give off a fun vibe.
On our second night we took a short stroll to James St to have a double dose of Gerard's. Our first stop was Gerard's Bar which was tucked away in a back lane. The bar was buzzing and the charcuterie delicious. It is reminiscent of a bar you would find down a lane in Barcelona.
I had a few drinks with Brisbane wine expert Mike Frost who had found a couple of gems on the uncomplicated wine list. The sound of corks popping, glasses clinking and laughter filled the air around the outside-inside bar area.
Find out about Brisbane's newest night spot - Inchcolm Hotel Opens New Suites
Hungry for more celebrity eats? Jamie's Italian Opens In Brisbane
About an hour later - and quite late by Brisbane standards - we headed across the driveway and sat down at Gerard's Bistro to taste the menu crafted by head chef Ben Williamson.
There were 11 and the waiter without hesitation took control. Once she had established our likes and dislikes she rattled off a suggested shared plate menu which made our task so much easier.
From the bekaa wings, kishk yoghurt and rose; to the suckling pig cooked in buttermilk, parsnip bark, Aleppo kimchi and spiced walnuts everything was superb.
My favourite was the blackmore wagyu tri tip, charred in black cardamo, with egg yolk, onions, licorice and yeast. The taste of the licorice made me think about my room and comfy bed waiting for me back at Tryp.
Tryp certainly packs an artistic punch for 4.5 stars - great service, modern amenities and free Wi-Fi.
What Others Say
Flight Centre asked three other Brisbane foodies to offer some suggestions for a romantic night out in the River City.
Kerry Heaney, editor of Eat, Drink + be Kerry
"The perfect date night needs a frisson of excitement, a dash of the unexpected and lots of moody lighting. Find them all with a romantic stroll along Eagle Street riverside walk to reach Black Bird Bar & Grill’s outdoor terrace with its twinkling Story Bridge views and opulent restaurant.
The vista is just as stunning from Pony Dining’s riverfront balcony but the for the whole dining shebang head to Brisbane’s only three hat restaurant, Esquire.
There’s plenty of time for deep and meaningful glances over a wine-matched degustation at Urbane or Restaurant Two but for sophisticated Frenchy fun head to Prive 249 and finish with a night at the Sofitel ."
Natascha Mirosch, editor at The Queensland Good Food Guide
"At the award-winning The Foraging Quail, a stone’s skip from the pretty rose gardens of New Farm Park, the lighting is soft, service is solicitous and the food-as-art plating may make you swoon just a little.
A come-hither menu, candlelit tables and the soulful French playlist at bijou bistro The Catbird Seat will seduce new romantics and old flames alike.
In the know date night diners will also have Malt on their radar. In the wood-beamed attic of an historic CBD building, Malt’s contemporary menu happily holds hands with old school romance, including a grand piano, crisp linen, and well-spaced candlelit tables."
Ashton Rigg, Flight Centre travel writer
"My ultimate date night spot in Brisbane is Popolo Italian Kitchen and Bar at South Bank's River Quay. River-facing tables, glittering city views and shared dining? That's amore. If you're celebrating an occasion that calls for bubbly, try Public on George Street or keep it casual at Red Hook in Gresham Lane.
If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, the five-course dessert degustation at Bacchus is a must.
More of a do-er than a diner? Settle in for a skit at the Brisbane Powerhouse, take an 'Up Late' wander through the Gallery of Modern Art, or catch a flick at the boutique Blue Room Cinebar in Rosalie."