Living in Brisbane enjoying food, wine, art, health and life!
Published January 10th 2015
A dining experience that is simply charming
Over the last few years Brisbane's South Bank has come in leaps and bounds with new trendy eateries and bars popping up on every corner. One of the latest additions is The Charming Squire, a James Squire Brewhouse and Restaurant. Clearly this new kid on the block is proving very popular. On a Saturday night the expansive bar area is absolutely packed.
Thankfully our large group had booked a table for dinner in the restaurant which is located at one end of the establishment. It's close enough that you can still hear the live music but far enough away that the noisy brewhouse doesn't become overwhelming. For all its noisy revelry I found the brewhouse to be an excellent space, well decorated and well thought out with the only downside being that the bathrooms are located upstairs. This is particularly inconvenient for those dining in the restaurant as you have to push your way through the crowd before you can even get to an elevator or stairwell. Also unfortunate I felt for those who had booked the upstairs area for a private function, but still had a steady stream of normal patrons trudging by to use the bathrooms.
The restaurant room had somewhat of an unfinished feel about it. I understood the urban minimalist design of the space but felt that there was something about it that just didn't quite fit the image of the establishment as a whole. Similarly the seating arrangements are largely based around rather awkward booth settings. If booking in advance again I would request to sit in either the middle area or outside. Even though we had booked and our table had not been previously occupied, they were not ready for us when we arrived and initially tried to seat our party of nine at a table set for six.
I'm pleased to say that once seated however, the night improved immensely. Our waiter for the evening was friendly and helpful and service was always prompt. The charming squire boasts both an impressive wine and food list and there is sure to be something on there to suit most tastes. As well as the full array of James Squires beers there is also an extensive range of spirits and wines. Wines can be purchased by the glass or bottle and some are even by the carafe which is an excellent option if you are in a large group.
For entree the table shared marinated olives, a sourdough loaf with butter and hazelnut dukkah and their crispy chicken wings in spicy sauce. These were all well presented and tasty. Based on the spectacular chicken wings I think when I next go back I would be sorely tempted to just order an array of offerings from the share menu.
We all opted for mains on this occasion however and I don't think there was a single complaint in our entire group. Our options included crispy skinned chicken, beer battered fish and chips, homemade pork and veal sausages and a 400g rump steak that was cooked to absolute perfection.
I personally went for the pappardelle with goat ragu. The goat was well cooked, seasoned and prepared with the perfect amount of ragu with the pasta. The only downside was the pappardelle which seemed a little dry but still, overall, a very tasty meal. The only other thing I would recommend to diners attending the Charming Squire would be to consider ordering some separate sides. Those indicated with the meals are a little lacking in their quantity and most guests at our table felt that they would have liked more vegetables and a little less meat.
All in all The Charming Squire proved to be a very pleasant dining experience and, as slightly more upmarket meals go, excellent value for money. With good food and wonderful service on offer I would definitely return.