Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review: The Boatshed @ The Regatta, Toowong, Qld

My previous long term partner has been living in Japan for a year teaching English, and my recent trip back home to Brisbane was the first chance I had to see him since his return. We decided that a reunion was worthy of an old tradition so we hit up The Boatshed, the upmarket steakhouse at The Regatta in Toowong. This was a venue we went to regularly while we were together and is still a family favourite of his clan.

Despite being located at a very rowdy student pub and on Coronation Drive The Boatshed restaurant itself is quite tranquil, the furniture well positioned so that I can see the river and the trees and not the endless traffic. The restaurant is shielded from the oversized pub next door by a series of railings and hedges that do their job very effectively.

Pepperjack 2008 Shiraz $49

You couldn't let a steak go lonely, this Pepperjack is a lot younger than I like to drink Shiraz but nonetheless is smooth after a few minutes on the table and has evidently been grown for drinking and not cellaring. The Barossa Shiraz has a lot of pepper flavour and strong tannins expected from a wine so young and from this area but not so much they are overpowering. As a table wine it holds up very well and accompanies the beef to perfection.

Potato Cob with Olive Oil and Balsamic $8.50

My ex's tastes run a little on the plain side (though I note they have become a lot more adventurous in recent years) so we forewent the sweet potato dip and I asked for balsamic instead. For unknown reasons they gave me what appeared to be a balsamic dressing concoction rather than pure vinegar so it was pushed asside. The bread itself was lovely as was the olive oil, perhaps attempting not to mess with someone's menu would do me some good on occasion.

6 Oysters Kilpatrick $14.50

I'm not a large fan of shellfish however the ex is and devours these with glee. I do try some of the sauce and bacon out of interest and am pleased with the result. I am also impressed that they bother to bring actual oyster forks, and even then two sets laid out so we can both dine as desired.

Confit Pork Belly with Orange, Beetroot and Rocket Salad $18.50

How can you turn down confit pork belly really? The fat here is creamy and delicious, though I admit some of the middle section needs a little seasoning as the piece is quite thick and evidently not all is evenly basted. The top is crunchy and golden, the flesh sweet and delicious. Counter balanced with the orange and beetroot this is a well put together dish. Casual and rich at the same time.

Dry Aged Beef with Mash and Roasted Vegetables $34.00

Just in case that is a factor for anyone it is worth noting that the dry aged beef can only be ordered on the bone. This is due to the drying process and the way the meat is prepared but despite my dislike of bones I simply adore aged beef and tend to cut the bone out on arrival for maximum pleasure.

I admit the majority of aged beef I've eaten recently is Wagyu and this appears to be the organic Angus that the Boatshed is more famous for. The meat is not as "melt in your mouth" as Wagyu but it is a fine cut of meat cooked well. The vegetables and sauce are not what they once were sadly and I think there's been a change of direction in the kitchen since I lived in Brisbane. Sadly I think the lack of awards since 2007 is a little indicative of this fact and as always I object to the 70s-tastic sprig of curley leaf parsley thrown on as a garnish.

300g Eye Fillet with Mash and Salad $39.50

Again I really don't understand the point of this garnish looking sad and lonely next to the potato but otherwise the meat is cooked to order and deliciously tender. There are a number of other beefs worth trying at The Boatshed and really that's what this restaurant is all about. From Organic Wagyu to John Dee Angus in a variety of styles and feeds the meat is all worth a try.

I do feel as if the restaurant is not the cutting edge steakhouse it once was, the seafood salads and delicious sauces are gone and replaced with high quality but slightly more standard fare. There is always the possibility that years in Sydney have matured my palette somewhat away from the Boatshed and its fare but really, steak is steak and it's hard to confuse. I'd take Meat and Wine Co. over the Boatshed for wine selection and the quality of the aged beef however for atmosphere and service, not to mention wine at Brisbane prices (the same bottle cost $66 at a venue I attended this week in Sydney) The Boatshed is definitely superior.

More importantly of the Brisbane steakhouses it's definitely one of my favourites (Embers on Park Rd is my all time pick for those that are interested), the service is restaurant quality but the atmosphere steak house casual. You can order endless beer and cocktails from the main bar if you so wish however the patrons tend to gravitate more towards the wine list and the whole venue seems geared towards the business casual synonymous with Toowong. Unlike many steakhouses where they seem to believe that the quality of the meat can more than make up for the beer garden decor The Boatshed uses real furniture, decent interior design and good customer service. Not the most refined restaurant in Australia but definitely a pick for those craving a good slab of meat, a strong breeze and a quality tipple while in Brisbane.

The Boatshed @ The Regatta Hotel

Regatta Hotel
543 Coronation Drive
Toowong Qld 4064
Ph: (07) 3871 9595

Fully licenced
Bookings recommended for Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday days

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