Tuesday

It's the hottest dining spot in Brisbane




Debuting in the Brisbane Good Food Guide with a hat just weeks after opening, Otto Ristorante is a Brisbane offshoot from Sydney-based Fink Group sharing a stable with Quay and Bennelong.

With this sort of pedigree, it’s no surprise that the package here is top class. There’s wow factor in the views and fit out, excellent professional service and a finely tuned menu making it a CBD hotspot for savvy dinners.

It's also an opportunity to check out the new 480 Queen Street building which offers multiple food options and a new look at Brisbane's river landscape.




The sleek, modern d├ęcor certainly has some eye-catching features. If you can drag your eyes away from the pink and purple fans that look like an oversized hat that your grandmother or earth sister might wear, there’s always the clever wood screening to peruse and the open kitchen for visual entertainment.





Don’t let any of this take your mind too far away from the important business of deciding what to eat, because that’s not an easy task. The menu is filled with inviting choices including the pink and red delights of snapper crudo with grapefruit, chilli, pomegranates and red vein sorrel or the salty/sweet/textured combo of sardines with fennel, muscatels, pine nuts and crumbs of brioche.


Fried Sardinian globe artichokes
Fried Sardinian globe artichokes

Otto's charcuterie platter has ortadella, San Daniele proscuitto, wagyu bresaola, hand-rolled grisini
Otto's charcuterie platter has mortadella, San Daniele proscuitto, wagyu bresaola, hand-rolled grisini

Tamjima wagyu short rib at Otto
Tajima wagyu short rib at Otto

Otto's butterflied spatchcock with pancetta, potato and char-grilled rosemary.
Otto's butterflied spatchcock with pancetta, potato, and char-grilled rosemary.

Woodside goats curd, pane carasau, truffle honey at Otto
Woodside goats curd, pane carasau, truffle honey

The smoked ham hock carbonara with pecorino, black and white pasta with bugs and cherry tomatoes and braised rabbit gnocchi with gremolata.

It’s pleasing to see some local produce starring on the menu with Noosa Reds tomatoes, Byron Bay Berkshire pork cutlet, and Moreton Bay bugs all getting a place.

For a quick Otto taste, head to Bar Otto for breakfast, lunch or after work for a light menu of focaccias, salads, and soups with the Italian influence showing through in a range of arancini. No reservations required.

If you can’t live without more Otto in your life, there is a solution. Otto has their own line of olive oil (I was told it’s from New South Wales), balsamic and even pasta and sauces that you can take home.

Otto Brisbane

Ed+bK rating: 4/5 stars.
Otto wears its hat well.

Best tip: Lunch or dinner, the premium table is in the pointy end with uninterrupted views over the Story Bridge. Weather dependent, the outdoor terrace is a very acceptable second choice.

Bottom line: entrees $27, pasta $30 or $40, mains $42

Where else: e'cco, Urbane, and Esquire are all within walking distance.

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK dined as a guest of Brisbane Marketing celebrating the launch of Dish, the Brisbane City Council's guide to CBD food.

Otto Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday

Do you want to be a dragon hunter?



My armour is only sunscreen and insect repellent but I'm going dragon hunting.

I've no intention of catching a dragon, my goal is to make sure a dragon doesn't catch me because they eat people you know - it's pretty simple really.




Just call me Khaleesi, I mutter to myself as we walk in steaming heat down a tree-lined bath with crushed white coral crunching under our feet.  (The current Khaleesi is Daenerys Targaryen, known as Mother of Dragons, for non Game of Thrones tragics.)




We are looking for Komodo monitors, known as Komodo dragons.  This is largest living species of lizard growing up to three metres in length and weighing up to 70kg.  They are a member of the monitor lizard family and once lived all across Indonesia and Australia. Their bite is reputed to be vicious and their mouth full of foul bacteria and an anticoagulant. Did I mention they like their meat rare and preferably moving?




Here are the rules for dragon hunting -

1. No smoking  - that's the cigarette kind
2. Stick together- they might just pick off the stragglers, just sayin'!
3. Be quiet - we don't want to let the dragons know we are coming.
4. Make sure you have no blood on you.
5. If chased by a dragon run in a zig zag pattern because they can't.
6. Stay close to the man with the forked stick because that's the best protection you have (an Ed+bK original tip).

We are taking the short walk, about 40 minutes, because of the heat and we are hoping to see dragons at the first water hole. Although there's a daily queue of visitors here, there is some danger as about four years ago a seven year-old local boy was eaten by a dragon.  He made the sad mistake of forgetting to wash his hands after gutting fish.

Luck is on our side and at the muddy water hole we see one dragon and then another and then another.  In the end the grand total is seven dragons.




They look sleepy sitting in the sun and move slowly around, but the drool coming from their mouths talks of other things.  And then there's that long, pale forked tongue flicking in the air and almost touching the ground.

We keep our distance but then one starts walking towards us.  I'm trying to film it while walking backwards but I suddenly have the feeling that maybe dragons can actually move much faster.  Our guide thinks so because he starts pointing the forked stick in front of the dragon and tells me to move back.  He doesn't need to say it twice.


video



When it was time to move on I was reluctant to turn my back on these creatures, partly because I wanted to see more and partly because I just didn't trust them.  The rest of the walk was an uneventful circuit back to the dock and the sailing ship we arrived on.





This was a long day; the trip started at 4am from Labuan Bajo and it took at least four hours sailing time to reach the island.  The day continued after the dragon experience with snorkelling amongst coral and a quick visit to a pink coral beach.

I didn't know that dragon hunting was on my bucket list until I did it.  It was one of my most memorable travel experiences and definitely worth the effort of travelling to the island.  Recommended.

How do you get there?  Fly from Denpasar in Bali to Labuan Bajo in Flores and take the boat from there.  Garuda have a new local airline, Explore, which flies local routes.

We sailed from Labuan Bajo to Komodo Island and back with Plantaran Komodo Phinisi Vessels

For more information on the area visit Flores Tourism








Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled as a guest of Garuda.