Brisbane’s much-loved award-winning e’cco bistro has moved two kilometres from the CBD Fringe to Newstead’s blossoming Gasworks precinct.

It’s same, same but different with the familiar flavours and bistro classics gracing the well-honed menu but amped up by a Brazilian Parilla Wood and Charcoal Grill.

e’cco bistro first opened in 1995 in a converted warehouse at the very top end of Ann Street in the CBD.  It was a cutting-edge design and position which took many by surprise. The restaurant and chef-owner Philip Johnson’s success is legendary with multiple awards, hats and accolades.

When it was time to move, Philip chose Haven in the burgeoning Newstead area opposite the Gasworks development.

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  • Behind the beige curtain
  • What’s on the menu
  • Chefs specials
  • Need to know

Behind the beige curtain at e’cco

When you’ve been in the restaurant business for over 20 years like Philip Johnson, you know what works, and there is ample evidence of this in the new e’cco design.

High ceilings, acoustic panelling, alcoves, plenty of soft seating and sections of carpet make this a restaurant where you can actually hear table conversation without shouting.  Augmented by an easy listening background music, it is a very enjoyable dining experience.  Other restaurateurs, please take note.

Most of the time when you sit at the table right next to the door it’s a real downer.  Not at e’cco where a cleverly designed curtain shrouded entry provides separation from the constant trail of people arriving and departing.  It’s so effective I didn’t even notice what was happening on the other side of the linen curtain most of the time.

There’s a variety of seating options including the bar, kitchen counter, tables and a sunken dining area for 12 which must be pre-booked.  There’s also a private dining room which seats up to 35 guests.

What’s on the e’cco menu

The menu has an impressive selection of dishes cleverly divided into small entrée size plates and vegetables, seafood, meat and desserts. Philip explained that many diners choose one of the bigger mains and match it with some of the vegetable dishes to create their meal.

With choices that include Shultz farm suckling pig porchetta, coal grilled whole market fish and dry-aged Darling Downs Wagu, it’s hard to know where to start.

e’cco Chef’s specials

The chefs tasting menu is a collaboration between Philip and Simon which tweaks old favourites and changes monthly.  It’s an easy way to sample many dishes with a filling but not gluttonous feed.

It starts with a ceviche melded with the flavours of ginger, grapefruit, radish and pink peppercorn.  This is followed by an aromatic smoked eggplant and shiitake mushroom combination topped with red pepper crisps.

Philip credits the smart new Parilla grill for the combination that you dream about of crisp, oily duck breast and pinkly tender flesh.

Our next dish dry aged wagyu comes to the table with seasonal greens.  It’s another memorable moment with pink tender flesh that’s bursting with meaty flavour.

The dessert home run is a deconstructed strawberry and raspberry cheesecake topped with shards of meringue.

Need to know

Another addition to e’cco, an outdoor bar and dining area to be known as The Terrace, will open late in April.  The word is that this casual dining space will have pocket-friendly prices.

Parking is available in a small carpark outside the bistro.  It’s tight, but the turnover is high says Philip thanks to his faster food neighbours.

e’cco has seating times for table types and the number of people which are advised when you book through Open Table.  Parties of 1-3 people (1 hr 45 mins), 4-5 people (2 hours), 6-7 people (2 hr 15 mins), 8 people (2 hr 30 mins). If you are planning on staying longer, do contact the restaurant to request an extended period.

Getting there

Find e’cco bistro at 63 Skyring Terrace, Newstead.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of e’cco bistro