Coal-fired kitchen brings new cooking techniques and flavour
Brisbane's newest food destination hauls its food over the coals - literally. Burnt Ends Kitchen and Bar at The Barracks, in Petrie Terrace, officially opened its doors to the public on the 1st of September but I was lucky to be present beforehand at its VIP event for a sneaky peek. I was pleasantly surprised to find two distinct dining styles under the one roof.
Firstly, at the end of the bar, there are the Asian-fusion delicacies which take on a fiery twist when cooked over the custom-built fire pit. You can try tasty morsels, called Burnt End Sticks, direct from the fire pit.I sampled the char grilled chicken thighs with sesame mayo and they were sweet and succulent. There are about a dozen sizzling skewer choices including meat, seafood, chicken and vegetables ($5 to $11 for 2). The Bar Snack Menu also offers Bao (wow), charred veggies and the ubiquitous fries ($8 to $13).
Secondly, in the dining room, the fare is Modern Australian, which is cooked over the fire pit or in the charcoal-fuelled oven. TJ Peabody, the proprietor, said, "Our coal-fuelled cooking appliances were custom designed and built right here in Brisbane. They're the largest of their kind in the city." The aromas were amazing, from added hickory-infused wood chips and aromatic herbs such as sage rosemary and thyme. (I feel a song coming on.) The dining room menu includes starters, veggies, mains and From the Fire Pit offerings. The latter are all served with wood-fired vegetables, mustards and house-made sauces. Prices range from $15 for Boerewors sausage to $85 for Wagu scotch fillet. If you want the dry aged butcher's cut, which I saw hanging, you'll have to ask the price.
Coal-fuelled Cooking (image by writer)
To give you an idea of the size of the place, there are almost 200 covers. Whether you choose the high energy bar, the intimate dining area or alfresco in the conservatory-style extension, you are sure to be treated well by the friendly and helpful staff.
We were taken behind the scenes with a tour of the state-of-the-art kitchen with executive chef Gordon MacGregor. As the restaurant is open plan - you will be able to view the kitchen and chefs in action yourself. Chef McGregor said that his kitchen staff have been extensively trained to understand and master the coal-fuelled cooking technique, which is trickier than cooking with gas. Burnt Ends is NKB Group's 4th Brisbane restaurant. You may know (and love) the Group's other popular venues including Nickel in Fortitude Valley, Nativo also at the Barracks and NKB Express at Indooroopilly. NKB was also behind the popular Nantucket restaurant, previously at Indooroopilly.
The wine list (by the glass or bottle) is extensive and the wine fridges and display of reds is impressive. The sommelier was very knowledgeable but I stuck with bubbles. There are also a variety of beers on tap, ciders and cocktails on offer, and I saw some moves with the cocktail shaker that Tom Cruise would be proud of. Those of you who subscribe to my articles will know that I am a keen whisky drinker. I checked out the spirits, for research purposes only of course!. I clocked Ardbeg's very limited special release, Corryvrechan, an Islay single malt, for $25. It is appropriately named after a famous Scottish whirlpool where only foolhardy souls would dare to go!
Cool Copper Bar (image by writer)
The ambience on the VIP night was uber cool. The décor is club-like with green leather chairs and stools with studs, exposed brick and wood panelling. The edgy polished concrete floor and tiles that resembled pressed tin are modern twists which are a nod to its heritage.
Burnt Ends Bar Fire Pit (image by writer)
The restaurant is located in a Heritage Listed Building which was previously the Stables from 1912 to 1942 when it was part of the former Police Barracks. The Police conducted training and operations there, stabled their horses and later it became a motor vehicle depot for the police. It's modern development was completed in 2008 and its striking transformation was highly awarded for urban renewal. Little is left of the former horse stalls, but the majority of the perimeter walls have survived. They are constructed of English bonded brickworks and their beauty has been retained and I was happy to get some lovely photos.
Burnt Ends Entrance (image by writer)
Opening Hours Kitchen
Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday dinner 5.30-10pm Friday and Sunday lunch 12-3pm and dinner 5.30-10pm Bar Tuesday to Sunday 11.30 to late.