For my birthday, which I keep saying was this year, however it was now last year, we finally got to experience a restaurant that we had both been dying to visit for a very long time, Urbane.
Urbane’s main man, chef Alejandro Cancino, Argentinian born and European trained, has certainly turned some heads since he arrived to take over the Executive Chef position. He was named Queensland Good Food Guide’s Chef of the Year 2013, and the 2013 Australian Gourmet Traveller Best New Talent Winner. With Alejandro at the helm, and the restaurant’s consistent reputation for having the highest quality food, we knew we were in for a treat.
The menu here is degustation only, and is available in either 5 or 7 courses of both regular and vegetarian types. Chef Alejandro is actually vegan, and regularly holds vegan degustation events at Urbane. We went with 7 courses (of course!), as we were in for the long haul.
We soon discovered that not only were there 7 courses available, but several “snacks from the kitchen” were presented first, much to our delight. An additional 4 courses that we were not aware of was pretty darn exciting.
To start, duck consomme and duck tongue in a Peking sauce. The duck consomme was a ‘chaser’ after eating the crunchy salty tiny piece of tongue, and presented in a test tube.
Small morsels of Mussel on a rye cracker with a layer of jelly, saffron, and a crunchy Pork tail cracker with green mango and chilli were flavour sensations that were alas gone far too quickly.
Snail, carrot: two little snail parcels came out beautifully presented on a tuft of green grass, the perfect summery looking garden. We demolished them in one garlicky swoop.
A pretty plate of fresh oysters with wasabi, and delicate cobia sashimi rolls with a soy gel interior was our final ‘snack’. I am no oyster lover, but will admit when they are presented to me like this I am all over it like nobody’s business. Oyster smoyster! The sashimi was delicate and so fresh it was like eating a bite of flavoursome air.
“Spring”, was our first real course, and was in two parts; one cracker with rolls of finely sliced jamon, and a tomato ‘water’ with the most beautiful heirloom tomatos, skinned and adorned with fresh shredded crab meat. Spring instantly became my favourite season.
More cobia sashimi, in a much more generous quantity, came with the relief we could try this beautiful fresh fish again. It was accompanied by a rye crumb and pureed chives.
The next course was a 60 degree egg yolk finely placed onto a crumble of quinoa, buckwheat and chorizo. A watercress puree and chargrilled leek and ciabatta crustini was the final element on the plate. We mixed the egg into the crumble and it somehow managed to taste a little like salted potato chips! These simple elements on the plate made for one of our favourite dishes of the evening.
Beef short rib, with tiny delicate onion rings and a delicate prism of bone marrow was enveloped by an onion consomme that was poured in at the table. The short rib was fantastic, such a moist packet of meat, to which each mouthful we added a tiny piece of the precious fatty marrow.
Our final savoury course was Lamb, served with a black pudding puree, foam, and purple carrots. It was tough to say which was our favourite out of the two meat courses, but the lamb was absolutely magnificent, cooked to pink, juicy perfection. The puddle of puree was quite strong and best added in small portions to the meat.
A palate cleanser of grapefruit jelly, delicately set into actual citrus skin, was just the ticket at this point to prepare us for dessert.
I love getting two desserts, and the first was most refreshing, Pink lady apple with lemongrass and ginger. The apple was a rectangle of marshmallow, with a lemongrass sorbet, and a fruity ‘soup’.
There was little doubt at the table that the second dessert was a complete winner in our minds, and in fact was my most favourite dish of the evening. Eucalyptus and pain perdu was the description, a eucalyptus sorbet dusted with coconut snow and a vanilla foam, that was served with the most amazingly soft and squishy piece of ‘french toast’ that we could imagine. I could easily have eaten another.
We finished up with a hot and heady concoction of a native fruit infusion, strong Australian fruits were infused and served in a clay teapot at the table. The flavours were enhanced by the visual presentation of the dried fruits in the centre (these were not edible!)
The evening was concluded with a little birthday message and a couple of truffle chocolates to take home for later.
CUrbane 181 Mary Street Brisbane CBD Ph 07 3229 2271 Open Dinner Wed-Sat www.urbanerestaurant.com