A bit of background
If you’re a regular reader you’ll probably have noticed it’s been a while between date nights for The Chef and I. We’ve both been ridiculously busy with our day jobs – he’s been launching new a winter menu at his work and I’ve had projects out the wazoo plus a fair bit of travel.
Add to this the usual kids activities and well… quite frankly we’ve been too stuffed to go out!
So when the opportunity to check out the Pig ‘N’ Whistle Brunswick St came up we were both excited for different reasons.
Him because he loves good pub grub, and me because I’d been intrigued by the fairy-lit facade when passing through Brunswick Street but so far hadn’t had the chance to investigate further.
Either way we were both well and truly in need of an evening out so we grabbed it with both hands.
Now there are those who may be surprised that a Pig ‘N’ Whistle would rank AT ALL on date night criteria. However the Brunswick St venue is a very different animal to it’s counterparts on Eagle Street and in the Queen St Mall as we were delighted to discover…
We decided to check out the gorgeous fairy-lit beer garden first – hey what can I say I’m a sucker for fairy lights! The photo really doesn’t do it justice as unfortunately I only had my iPhone with me – but even so you can still get a sense of just how spectacular it looks.
After a quick chat to the very friendly staff, including a lovely security dude who gave us lots of advice on what the venue had to offer, we discovered that the venue is actually MASSIVE and offers several distinctive spaces that pretty much allow you to suit your mood.
If you’re looking for a hide-away you should check out Garage Bar, a funky little underground bar just off the beer garden which lead out to it’s own secluded outdoor bar area. It’s adjacent to the restaurant, which offers a smart, stripped back a la carte menu that would be at home in any upmarket Brisbane restaurant.
Heading upstairs you’ll find yourself in an outdoor seating area. On your left you’ll find the main bar, which was pretty packed the night we were there and as a consequence pretty noisy too. On your right you’ll see the relatively new Brass Bar, a dedicated cocktail bar which only opened at the beginning of the year.
We immediately loved the relaxed vibe in the outdoor seating area off the main bar so we settled in there and immersed ourselves in the menu…
The only problem you’ll have with this menu is that you are quite literally spoilt for choice. If you’re in the mood for hearty goodness you can go with a British classic like Lincolnshire sausages & mash, or if you’re craving Italian you could go with a traditional hand-stretched pizza. I must admit I was seriously eyeing off the burgers that the guys at the next table had ordered too (until they noticed me staring and gave me a funny look).
After a good 20 minutes of faffing about we decided on…
Mushroom Arancini w/ pesto & parmesan
Crispy Skin Chicken w/ prosciutto crumble, king brown mushroom, burnt carrot puree roasted and root vegetables
Beef Short Ribs w/ sauerkraut, crispy fried onion rings and fried
Our plan was to have the Arancini and Charcuterie for starters then move on to the main course. After only a short wait our food arrived… the only thing we DIDN’T realise was that it was all going to come at once!
In hindsight we probably should have known this would happen as there’s no way the server at the bar could have known there was just the two of us. However probably wouldn’t have hurt if they’d asked whether we wanted it all to come out at once.
Either way we were pretty hungry so we tucked in with gusto!
What The Chef Loved
The Chef has been a bit wary of ordering beef short ribs after a disappointing experience in a very popular American BBQ restaurant a few months ago. But for some reason the Pig ‘N’ Whistle short ribs called to him and on this occasion he was definitely not disappointed!
His verdict? The meat was tender and with good flavour, and the accompanying sauce took it to the next level.
The other thing we were both impressed with was the Charcuterie – it was seriously huge board and overflowing with prosciutto, salami, marinated veges, two dips and loads of bread. For our money it has to be one of the best value starters in Brisbane.
What I Loved
The Crispy Skin Chicken was the perfect example of how to do a winter dish that isn’t too heavy and overwhelming. The chicken was sweet and perfectly cooked, and provided the perfect base for the rich jus and earthy root veges and carrot puree. I loved every mouthful, and thank god The Chef didn’t ask for a bite because I wasn’t in the mood for sharing!
After dinner we popped into Brass Bar so I could taste-test the cocktail menu. The barman made me a first class Rob Roy with a twist – instead of Sweet Vermouth this P’N’W version combined Benedictine with scotch and bitters. A twist of orange and fresh ginger garnish to finish and you have the perfect after dinner cocktail for a whiskey fan like me.
Why we’ll be back
Some venues just have have a certain character or “vibe” (for want of a more specific term) that makes you instantly relax, and the Pig ‘N’ Whistle Brunswick St is one of those venues. As soon as you walk in the door you know you’re going to enjoy your experience – it’s really just a matter of choosing what kind of experience you want.
As far as date nights go we are both keen to head back and try out the restaurant. Based on our experieince with the bar menu we’re pretty sure the a la carte menu will be damn good.
For me personally I’m keen to grab a few girlfriends and set up camp in the Brass Bar for the evening 😉
So next time you’re wondering where to eat (or drink) in the Valley, don’t overlook Pig ‘N’Whistle Brunswick St.
It’s basically and eating & drinking playground for grown ups that MORE than qualifies as one of Brisbane’s best date nights.
Pig ‘N’ Whistle Brunswick Street
446 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
Ph. 3852 6420