A bit of background
First of all if you’ve never heard of Prive 249 you’re definitely not alone. The phrase “Brisbane’s best kept secret” has probably been applied to more restaurants than I could shake a stick at, but in the case of the signature restaurant at the prestigious Sofitel Brisbane Central, it may actually be true!
So why haven’t more people heard about this jewel in Brisbane’s dining scene? Possibly because hotel restaurants have suffered from a reputation of being a bit … well… beige.
They walk the ultimate tightrope of needing to appeal to the wide range of guests that are staying at the hotel, while also trying to carve out a unique identity in their own right.
It’s a tough brief, but Prive 249 rises to the challenge in a way that can only be described as “magnifique”!
And after the magical experience Brook and I had there on our recent date night this is one secret that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. In fact I’d almost go so far as to say it is an essential Brisbane dining experience.
About the food
Launched in 2009 as part of the hotel’s transformation from the old Sheraton into the new Sofitel, Prive 249 offers French inspired Australian cuisine. Chef Josh Okorn has put together a menu of classic dishes which have been given a hefty dose of French flair.
The result is a decidedly sexy menu which has a very date-night feel to it.
We were lucky enough to visit in April when the restaurant was running a special chocolate-themed five course degustation. After reading through the menu were were immediately sold on this option and waited with anticipation for what the evening would bring…
Duck, Orange & Five Spice / Mackerel Red onion and cabbage
Crostini, white chocolate creme fraiche, smoked salmon & dill
Tataki Beef, cocoa caramelised onion, sweet potato and tomato
Lamb, chili Manjari jus, Congo potato
Chocolate lavosh, marshmallow, honey and tonka milkshake
What I loved
Before we even get to the food I need to talk about the service. When you go to a restaurant of this calibre you expect service to be seamless and professional. That’s a given.
But the service we received from David, Prive’s Maitre’d, was so warm and genuine (in addition to the usual qualities) that it really did take the dining experience to the next level. Every course was explained so that we had an insight into the chef’s vision for the dish and understanding of how the chocolate element had been used.
From the food perspective I was quite simply blown away by every dish! Chef Josh Okorn is an absolute magician when it comes to taking diverse elements and marrying them together in a way that is both exciting and satisfying.
Picking a favourite dish was tough as they were all amazing, but if I was pushed I would have to say the lamb and dessert were the standouts. I am still dreaming about the rich chilli-chocolate Manjari jus on the lamb dish – just divine.
What Brook loved
Being a chef himself, Brook has an insiders appreciation for the the level of skill that was evident in every course. He was particularly impressed with the way the chocolate elements were used in each dish, adding an extra dimension without drowning out other flavours.
Brook’s favourite dishes were the Salmon (he really loved the way the white chocolate creme fraiche worked with the sweetness of the salmon) and, surprisingly, the dessert. I say surprisingly because Brook is usually not at all fussed with sweets and will always order cheese if given the opportunity.
So what made this dessert so special? The menu description says marshmallow, however this does not do justice to the heavenly creation that arrived on our plates. David explained that it was actually a Swiss creation called a chiboust – a mixture of marhmallow and Italian meringue. It was out of this world amazing, and is one of the few desserts I’ve ever seen Brook really enjoy.
Why we’ll be back
When it’s been two weeks and you STILL occasionally find yourself day-dreaming about a particular evening you know you’ve found somewhere special. And that’s exactly what Prive 249 is – a place to go when you want to experience something special.
Everything aspect of the restaurant has been thought out in meticulous detail to ensure food, service and ambience combine to create the ultimate date night evening.
One thing I can say for sure is that Brook and I won’t be waiting for a special occasion before we visit Prive 249 again…. we’re quite prepared to make one up if required!
Sofitel Brisbane Central
Ph. 07 3835 3535