Having opened in October, 2012, Bacchus truly radiates that sophisticated-yet-casual Southbank charm. Bacchus is luxurious, modern and chic, but with LA-based interior designer, Tracey Beckmann, behind the look and feel of the place, the result is hardly surprising but very impressive. The dark, polished wood and gleaming gold provide a sort of Parisian feel inside. Step outside, and onto the open poolside to which pops of colour come from cushions and small furnishings. I imagine that this space fills easily with gentlemen wearing Ray-Bans and women draped in colourful kaftans, all enjoying an array of sophisticated share plates, and drinks from the extensive beverages list.

With word of Bacchus’ fine cocktails in mind it was easy to feel overwhelmed by each quality option, so the waiter suggested the Aurum Tea for two - a mix of vodka, Havana Club 3 Anos, cointreau, tequila and passionfruit tea, served with Coca-cola. We were told it’s the Bacchus take on a Long Island Iced Tea, and what a refreshing take it was! The zingy yet subtle chilled passionfruit tea made the Aurum Tea perfect to enjoy as the sun peeked between rolling clouds and we waited for our food, which soon arrived.

On paper, the menu seems full of simple dishes, though they are anything but. Each dish has a solid foundation, with surprising quirks that make them memorable. Take, for example, the grilled chorizo with romesco, a dish that turned my mind’s eye on it’s head. The char-grilled chorizo, accompanied by a quenelle of velvety mashed potato, marries wonderfully with the neatly piped globes of smooth, smokey, flavoursome romesco sauce (of which they provide just enough). 

In speaking of just enough, the meatballs with capers, garlic and parmesan were well balanced. The combination of three strong, salty flavours worked well thanks to the tomato sauce atop those little meatballs. Along with the fries, these meatballs provided an intermission, of sorts, between two total stand-out dishes that represent typical Brisbane dining at it's best; that is innovative and produce-focused meals. 

Our final dish reminded me that good food means that you've enjoyed a dish so much that you wish you'd ordered two of it and you sit back contemplating whether to order another serve. Introducing, the lamb chips with gribiche mayonnaise. They were too intriguing to resist, almost too good to share, and definitely left me wanting more. But, lamb chips? I had to ask too, so let me explain. Lamb chips are sticks of slow-cooked lamb, encased in crispy golden shells which are accompanied by a tangy gribiche mayonnaise. I was briefly reminded of eating fish fingers with tartare sauce as a kid, but it's fair to say that lamb chips are far superior and definitely more age-appropriate. 

Bacchus' innovative yet simple style is reflected throughout each aspect of the restaurant and injected into the menu, and this place is sure to grow more and more comfortable in its ever-developing skin that is Southbank.

Cnr Grey & Glenleg Streets
Southbank, Queensland

Note: Ell & guest were hosted by Bacchus for this experience.