Essa Restaurant, Fortitude Valley

BRISBANE | Essa Restaurant is the new venue from ex-Gauge head chef and co-owner head chef Phil Marchant. An unassuming street frontage opens up to a long, narrow, moody space. The windows are covered, lights are hidden and turned down low. Dark leather, exposed brick, black timber and green marble completes the look.

Behind the main long bar, the showpiece wood-fired grill built by Melbourne’s ‘The Brick Chef’, is on display for all to see. It announces to diners that they can expect food cooked over fire to play a big part in their meal. And it does.

Essa is home to some of the most exciting dining in Brisbane right now. The food is produce driven and approachable, founded in Marchant’s fine dining training. The menu rotates regularly, but judging by the excellent tasting menu on offer when I visited, you’ll not be leaving here disappointed.

Highlights on my visit included a simple plate of charred shishito peppers, fried chickpea beignets with caramelised scallop cream, and heirloom tomatoes with garlic emulsion and charcuterie with lashings of house made XO sauce.

Of the more substantial plates, hand rolled semolina gnochetti with spanner crab, carrot, and chilli were outstanding, as was the spatchcock quail with brown butter, caper leaves, and salt bush.

For drinks, it’s an impressive wines list, backed up with creative cocktails that compliments the food, and considered craft beers. We let Phil Poussart, formerly sommelier at Fico in Hobart, guide our drink choices, and his recommendations were spot on.

If the full tasting menu isn’t your thing, there’s an a la carte option available. Additionally, there’s a raw bar operating between 4:00pm and 5.30pm, and after 9pm. On that menu you’ll find small plates like oysters, caviar, crudo, tartare, and charcuterie. A great option, then, for either a full meal, or a drink and snacks.

Essa Restaurant

181 Robertson Street
Fortitude Valley
Queensland 4006

Telephone: (07) 3177 1011
E-mail: n/a

Sat, Tue – Thu: 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Fri: 12:00pm to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 11:00pm

Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.


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