After 18 months, the fully renovated Regatta Hotel is finally officially open, including the adjacent Boatshed Restaurant. After the 2011 floods, The Boatshed became a makeshift storage area for the Brisbane hotel, until work began on renovations several months ago.
My partner and I were dying to try it out as soon as the restaurant reopened, having already sampled the delicious fare on offer at the Street Cafe. The Boatshed was always famed for its steaks and relaxed atmosphere before the Brisbane River turned it into a swimming pool and we wanted to be sure it hadn't lost its edge. Unfortunately, it seemed the rest of Brisbane had the same idea and we were turned away by a very apologetic maitre de for lack of a table to sit us at the first time we visited. This only made us more keen to return, however, so we immediately booked a table for the following night.
The next night we were finally in, sitting by the high windows which make up two of the walls in the dining area and already comparing the new restaurant favourably to its predecessor. The glass walls are much better than the roller doors which used to be the 'walls' of the restaurant, providing the same gorgeous view of the river but without the smog and noise from Coronation Drive. Muted lighting, exposed brickwork and earthy tones also create a better ambience than the old wicker chairs, concrete floor and random greenery, though there is less of a 'boatshed' feel.
The service was brilliant; it seems the management have taken recent comments regarding poor service to heart and schooled their staff in the art of pleasing customers. My partner ordered steak (of course - it is The Boatshed specialty) while I opted for a slow-cooked lamb shank. There was also chicken and salmon on the menu for the non-beef eaters and a great kids' menu as well. The steak was even better than it used to be, if a little undercooked, with crispy fat-cut chips and a salad. My lamb wasn't as good as it should have been, sad to say, but I made up for it with an apple and rhubarb crumble that hit the spot perfectly.
The drinks list was quite extensive, with ciders and craft beers as well as the usual wines and ales. I also loved the open fire in front of the clearly visible kitchen so you could watch everything being prepared. All in all, I would rate the new Boatshed a success and recommend you try it for yourself.