I want to mess with your mind, says chef Eugene Lee as he explains the Restaurant Indriya chef’s table menu set to stun Brisbane dining.
However, there’s not much of an explanation at all because in his next breath Lee says the menu will not be revealed until the end and don’t bother asking questions.
There’s no chance that dish hints will slip out during the meal either. The matched wines are poured with host Haydn Puata carefully avoiding any slips. Even the lighting has been designed to fool the eye with red and blue hues disguising the ingredients.
There was a buzz of excitement as we sat down to sample the 13-course menu. I was certainly curious to see if I could guess what I was eating and hoping that the chef didn’t favour offal. I forgot to mention this when dietary preferences were taken, but others had ensured they were not going to experience anaphylactic shock from eating seafood.
The first dish came out revealing artfully arranged shards of pink chips. At least I thought they were pink. The taste was sweet and earthy, and I had visions of beetroot but more.
I did manage to guess the duck by its layer of unctuous fat and crisp skin, the oyster was easy to spot, and the roasted tamarillo was another good guess. The chargrilled octopus, well it was so tender I thought it was chicken.
Unexpected dining in Brisbane
Located in the modest The Metropolitan hotel in Spring Hill which dates from the 1970s, Restaurant Indriya is one of the most unpredictable and unexpected places to eat in Brisbane. Most of the time it operates as a function centre, but with chef Eugene and his gangster cuisine at the helm, it was never going to be that simple.
Indriya founder and functions director Nita Parmar says for Eugene it is all about being allowed to express his creativity in food. That’s why they decided to offer a limited chef’s table dining experience designed for people searching for a new way to dine.
Part artist, part chef Malaysian born, Lee now calls Brisbane home. He is about rebellion and rejects notions of geographic influences on his food style, preferring the description gangster cuisine instead.
It’s progressive cooking with culinary artistry and craftsmanship that Lee believes takes food to the next level.
Long-time Brisbanites will remember Alexander’s Restaurant at the Metropolitan Hotel. This space, which was an iconic piano bar in the 1950s, has been given an impressive makeover to create a fluid function and dining space.
Highlights include a luminous ceiling showcasing panels of the art of Sandro Botticelli and lounge chairs upholstered with Jean-Paul Gaultier fabrics.
The biggest surprise
There were some cheffy moments where smoke appeared from bottles, but the biggest surprise was when the final chef’s table course arrived – the menu. Yes, the menu was printed on edible paper. The instructions were to spray the paper with butter spray and eat, being careful not to get papercuts!
You will find Restaurant Indriya inside the Metropolitan Hotel at 106 Leichhardt Street, Spring Hill, with entry for the restaurant at 19 Little Edward Street.
The Chef’s Table experience is exclusively for 10 to 12 guests with a 9-course ‘Chef’s Table’ menu for $99 per person. You can add wine pairing for $50 per person or an in house tea pairing for $40 per person.
There are two sittings available each night from Wednesday to Sunday – 6 pm to 8 pm or 8.30 pm to 10.30 pm.
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Disclaimer: Ed+bK dined as a guest of Restaurant Indriya