e’cco Bistro

Spend any length of time in Brisbane and you would’ve probably heard of e’cco Bistro. It has been around the last 17 years, earning its reputation for sophistication and quality seasonal bistro fare.

It has been on our ‘to-visit’ list for some time now, but what with our busy (and conflicting) schedules and often not knowing if something will be coming up, the SO and I haven’t been able to sample their wares in all the years we’ve been back in Brisbane. So when I was invited to sample their new menu, my curiosity got the better of me and I could not say ‘no’.

Established in 1995 by acclaimed chef, author and restaurateur Philip Johnson, e’cco Bistro follows Philip’s overarching pilosophy of quality seasonal produce done simply and beautifully.

e’cco Bistro‘s newest menu was developed by New Zealand born head chef Norman Harvey. Norman has done well with this menu and finding a balance between the sweetness of seasonal produce such as mangoes, peaches and padron peppers and summer seafoods, such as scallops, bug tails, and meats.

Lemon thyme butter poached bug tail, saffron mayonnaise, jamon crumbs & fennel salad. AUD$24.50

Green eggs & ham, white asparagus, pine nuts, rocket & vincotto. AUD$24.50

Seared scallops, pea tendril panna cotta, smoked ham emulsion & crispy leeks. AUD$24.50

Hazelnut crumbed veal sweetbreads, sauce soubise, shimeji mushrooms, truffled pecorino & candied hazelnuts. AUD$24.50

Field mushrooms, olive toast, rocket, parmesan, truffle oil & lemon. AUD$24.50

Lamb loin, aubergine parmigiana, padron peppers & crispy artichoke. AUD$42.50

Licorice spiced pork belly, caramelised peach, onion jam & mustard kipfler potato. AUD$42.50

Cape grim eye fillet, bone marrow, field mushroom, broad beans, onion rings & red wine jus. AUD$42.50

Duck breast, grilled mango, duck fat congo potato & red currant jus. AUD$42.50

Spanner crab tortellini, cauliflower puree, caperberries, peas, shallots & speck. AUD$42.50

The dishes from e’cco Bistro‘s new menu are gorgeous on the plate and you cannot help the little gasp when it is set in front of you. I admire the work that went into each dish.

My entrèe might be considered adventurous by some – hazelnut crumbed veal sweetbreads, which were firm and not-quite-creamy texture  to compliment the crispy coating. However, I do have my personal preferences and would’ve liked the pasta on my spanner crab tortellini to be thinner. It was not chewy or doughy by any means, but a more delicate pasta would have complimented the fresh sweet crab flesh like a dream.

And since most of us didn’t have to foresight to order dessert, the chef brought out two of everything to share. My favorite had to be the crema catalana, which was oozy and light on the tongue once your spoon shattered the caramelised sugar glass top. The mint and lime parfait also performed an amazing disappearing act, so I was not able to grab a sample. Judging from the grunts and moans of satisfaction around the table, I should’ve been quicker.

Crema catalana, red wine poached pears and almond praline. AUD$7.50

Mint and lime parfait, strawberry sorbet and lime meringue. AUD$7.50

Cinnamon sugared doughnuts, lemon crème and raspberry jelly. AUD$7.50

Valrhona chocolate delice, honeycomb and caramel ice-cream. AUD$7.50

 

I’m no wino, but I know what I like and don’t like. e’cco Bistro‘s sommelier, Alan Hunter selected this Ragazzi 2011 Pinot Grigio as one of the wine options, and I definitely like it. I have the dreaded Asian alcohol rash that makes the most uncomely appearance, particularly when a wine is chockers with preservatives. After 2 glasses of this Pinot Grigio, I only had slightly rosy cheeks, so that gets a thumbs up from me.

 

Disclaimer: I attended the e’cco Bistro New Menu Launch as an invited guest.