As regular readers will know, my usual food hangouts are hole-in-the-wall joints, often of the Asian persuasion. So I was quite excited to head to South Bank a few weekends ago for lunch at The Jetty, a much more upmarket establishment.
A sister restaurant to The Jetty at Bulimba, The Jetty at South Bank is part of the relatively new strip of eateries next to the Goodwill Bridge. They all have a great riverside location and sleek fitouts, with modern Queensland architecture and lots of outdoor seating.
On a sunny winter's day, The Jetty was doing a roaring trade. Luckily, our group of three had booked, and we were quickly seated at a long table with a great view of the river. A friendly waiter brought menus and we were off to a good start.
The Jetty menu offers modern Australian food, with inspiration drawn from a range of cuisines. Starters include tapas-style offerings (e.g. ciabatta for $7, olives and fetta for $9), and more substantial dishes like tomato and onion tart with chevre salad ($14), potato gnocchi ($16) and pork belly with shitake and bok choy ($18).
Light meals include pancetta pizza ($18), a wagyu beef burger ($21) and nasi goreng with chicken skewers ($19). Mains get more substantial -- and more expensive -- with high-end choices like confit duck leg, lamb shoulder ragout, and grilled spatchcock (all around the $30 mark).
In the end, Friend 1 chose crispy fried squid and Friend 2 chose half-shell scallops, both from the starters menu. I was hungrier, and went for pan-seared salmon from the mains. To keep our tummies happy while we waited, we also ordered the ciabatta to share.
Consulting the drinks menu, I ordered a passionfruit mocktail, while my friends chose to try the house white. Our liquid refreshments appeared quickly. My mocktail was spectacular, but my friends were not so impressed by the white. At $8 a glass, it came from a bottle 'labelled' with the The Jetty's own name, an anonymous cleanskin and not a great drop in their opinion.
While we waited for our food, we chatted and enjoyed the river views. And chatted and enjoyed. And chatted and enjoyed. After 30 minutes or so, our bread finally appeared and was quickly devoured and judged very good. Another 15 minutes and we hailed our waiter to ask for an update on our meals. Slightly flustered by this point due to the large number of customers, he moved quickly to check on our food and it came out soon after.
Everything we ordered was pleasant but not scintillating. Probably the pick of the meals was my main, the seared salmon served atop an unusual potato and fennel cannelloni. Unfortunately, the cannelloni was barely warm, but the flavour and texture were both good. Friend 1's squid dish was competent and generous, Friend 2's scallops were 'níce', but she suspected they were frozen (rather than fresh), and the serve was very small (as is the way with scallops).
We finished our meal by sharing a strawberry and frangipane tart with honey cream ($14), which satisfied our sweet cravings perfectly. It was light and lovely with an unusual combination of flavours and fruit -- perfect for lunch on a sunny day.
We chatted a while longer before paying the bill and then ambling back along the river, enjoying some South Bank people-watching.
Our united verdict on The Jetty was that it offers a great location and nice-enough food and drink, but that the cuisine probably wasn't as good as we would have expected for the prices. Nevertheless, we'd enjoyed ourselves, and it was certainly a change from my usual budget haunts.