Alfred and Constance is difficult to describe. Trust me, I’ve tried. And I am about to give it another go for you.
Ever been down a rabbit hole of a Wonderland? The kind of place you go and your eyes pop, your brow furrows or your jaw drops? The sort of place you never know what to expect around the next corner? That establishment you come away thinking ‘I’ve got to get my friends down there!’?
That’s Alfred and Constance.
They have a cafe that converts to a dessert bar when the sun goes down (Alfred’s Cafe), a beer garden (The Vanguard Beer Garden), a man’s hunting lodge style bar (The Tunes Bar), a tiki bar upstairs with an rooftop balcony (White Lightning Tiki Bar and the Hemingway Room), a dining room styled like a mad scientist lab with black tiled walls (The Dining Room) and an oven that blows my mind.
Tell me you don’t want to visit a place like that, and I’ll show you a liar.
Are you ready for a peek and to check out the food?
Here we go.
Yes, saddle chairs!!!
This is definitely my favorite room. The Dining Room is intimate, and not at the same time. Sitting ten friends in this nook doesn’t exclude you from the action happening elsewhere in the house – you can hear it, but it surprisingly doesn’t drown out conversations around the table either. It might seem strange to be dining and chatting away while random people walk past to head up to the Tiki Bar, but it’s not disruptive and you kinda get the impression you’re part of the house. I know, it sounds weird, but it works.
Hellooooo roast piggy.
The menu of wood-fire-roasted meats and fresh seasonal salads was designed by Jocelyn Hancock (formerly of Jocelyn’s Provisions, pictured left) and head chef David Lindesay.
Owner Damien Griffith (pictured right) and Jocelyn gave us a little overview of the Alfred and Constance, sharing some of the inspiration and the atmosphere they are trying to create. Jocelyn stressed Alfred and Constance is definitely not fine dining and much more about casual dining and sharing with friends around earthy and robust food with great service.
Alfred and Constance is also home to a wood-fired oven and a Josper Oven. Josper ovens are the hottest indoor barbecues available and apparently there are only two Josper ovens in Australia. Theirs is a Spanish design. I was fascinated that they use pine cones as fire starters. Inside they had chucked in yellow bark logs from the ranges to get the fire going.
These chorizo scotch eggsare the bomb! They came out and filled the room with their warm aroma, the perfect dish to keep you salivating for more. Needless to say, they disappeared quickly.
The grilled squid had to be my favorite dish of the meal. Cooked in the josper oven and served with a liberal squeeze of fresh lemon, these pieces of squid are perfect – springy without being rubbery at all and so fresh. Never mind the mayonnaise – that just masks the salty sea flavours.
Who knew that prunes wrapped in bacon could taste so good? I’m not usually one for prunes (old people food?), but I could be convinced. These sweet and salty devil on horsebacks remind me of those Mad Men days when cheeseballs and cocktail swizzle sticks were the epitome of home entertaining.
Now picture a table of ten people, sitting and talking away like anything.
Then imagine this platter of roast pork being delicately navigated from above onto the table.
Now imagine the momentary silence. Before the burst of gasps and ‘oooooohs’ as the platter makes a landing.
Yah. Oooooooooooh yeah.
I might have missed out, but none of my spoonfuls of the Eton’s Mess came up with any strawberries. Had they gone AWOL?
This is Jessalyn looking guilty about taking a bite of the classic lemon tart (AUD$14) before any of us could take its photo.
The frozen yoghurt soft serve with chai and mango gets my vote for the best dessert of the evening. With the summer heat fast approaching Brisbane, I think this one is going to be really popular.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention. They have eighteen beers and a range of cocktails, and get this! Alcoholic milkshakes.
AAAAaaaaaand… now I’m beginning to sound like a tele-commercial… a kava bowl from the Tiki Bar. The Kava bowl is definitely one to share with several people. Do not, under ANY circumstance, attempt to drink this one alone. That would be unhealthy and very lonely. And you should never be lonely at Alfred and Constance.
Alfred and Constance opens this afternoon (Friday 9 November 2012) for lunch.
Disclaimer: I visited Alfred and Constance as an invited guest.