In my 36 hour visit to Brisbane, I experienced their highs; gorgeous sunny and blue skies, a warm balmy Autumn night through to their lows; flash flooding and severe thunderstorms. It was all work and little play, but we did manage to sneak a delicious dinner at The Villager Hotel dishing up gastropub styled food. Gastropub food is simply a term coined from England where two pub owners decided to up the playing field of pub food.
The streets of Brisbane were empty (it was Labour Day so it was assumed everyone had already drank the day away) and we were struggling to find something, anything open! The gorgeous high ceiling, dim lighting, exposed brick walls and wooden floors lured us inside.
The chefs at The Villager Hotel haven’t held back and it shows on their menu. For shared entrees, we try their twist on Bacon & Egg and a confit pork belly. An oozing sous vide egg hugs a long piece of jamon, a Spanish type of cured ham – all topped with crispy bread crumbs and truffle mayo. Amazing, amazing textures. The confit pork belly was a little on the tougher side, but crispy indeed – each topped with an sweet orange gel.
Our shared main is a sous vide duck breast on a bed of potato mash and creamed corn. Duck was never my protein of choice, mainly because as a child, I had too many roast ducks that hung from the BBQ shops of Chinatown; that were overcooked, oily and intensely fatty. This was cooked perfectly – succulent and tender with the crispy skin. Mmmm… not to mention, the simplicity of the jus, silky potato mash and sweet creamed corn. Double mmm…
To end, we devour a double dessert delight; my foodie companion’s choice, a passionfruit creme brulee with brandy snap to match her sour preference, and for me, Eton’s Mess. We glee at delight when the creme brulee has a strong solid crack. It’s a mix of sweet and sour with a warm, sugary brandy snap.
Eton’s Mess is an interesting twist, traditionally a mess of meringue, cream and berries. This dish was more of a sophiscated mess; with sour strawberry jellies, sweet strawberries and jam, vanilla bean cream and all topped with meringue sticks. Delish!
It’s a double win when you’re able to sit in a chilled out bar with the option of sous vide duck breast, creme brulee and cocktails instead of wedges with sweet chilli sauce.
The Villager Hotel
185 George St, Brisbane