Jeremy’s Espresso Bistro (Restaurant)
Albert Street, Brisbane CBD
Exploring Brisbane’s vast culinary options can really loosen one’s grip on reality. Scallops topped with beetroot froth, heuvos rancheros and san choi bao coexist happily in adjacent restaurants, even as Brisbane’s ornery traffic rages and our politicians yap contrived hatred at each other. Brisbane life’s humdrum rhythm stutters ever onward, yet novelty is increasingly abundant and accessible in the city’s menus.
Visiting Jeremy’s turns the novelty trend on its head. Having battled a brutal flu this month, I know what it is like to occasionally crave what one might (rather uncomfortably) call ‘white people food’. Familiar, stodgy, rich, comforting white-people-food. Traditional cuisine. Meat ‘n two veg. In this regard, Jeremy’s delivers handsomely, and without the usual frumpiness and cultural cringe that accompanies normal notions of ‘white people food’ (viz greyish broccoli and semi-burnt snags).
Indeed, if meat ‘n two veg could be considered an art, Jeremy’s is the goddamn Rembrandt of traditional dining. Conservative cooking is something to be proud of when you do it this well. The design of the restaurant helps too – smart but slightly rustic, with just enough exposed brick and clever lighting to feel entirely unlike your mum’s dining room. It feels like a classy experience, but not in the stuffy way that some traditional establishments can feel. The quality of the food and wine (and even beer) is high – though you do pay for what you get. For around $120 you can enjoy two courses and a couple of good glasses of wine.
The first time I ate at Jeremy’s I was so surprised (and hungry, and boozed) that I almost entirely forgot to take photos – by the time I’d guzzled my cut of kingfish, I was satiated enough to remember the camera and snap some dazed shots of the decorative garnish. Alas, garnish is not the stuff of reviews. Like an admirer accidentally-on-purpose leaving things at your house to create a reason to visit again, I used this as an excuse to come back sober and non-ravenous to fully document the meal. My photographic eagerness thoroughly annoyed the maitre ‘d; he became stony-faced and laconic but the food made up for it. Check it out.
Six perfect oysters, served fresh on about a kilo of sea salt. Nice touch.
Each of these is a deliciously plump scallop sitting on a mini pancake, topped with salsa. Rich, buttery and comforting. Also conveniently share-able. The salsa was somewhat forgettable, and the lack of lemon lamentable, but a good mouthful all the same.
OK, so it’s probably trite to show images of wine, since it lacks the visual uniqueness that well-presented food can offer. Check out Langdon’s Shiraz anyway – this was an exceedingly rich, full red which bordered on merlot flavours but without excessive sweetness.
The first time I visited Jeremy’s there was a drunk guy in thongs and a baseball cap eating this dish (lamb cutlets) alone. His groans of carnal pleasure convinced me to try it on my second visit. While I couldn’t quite achieve foodgasm myself, the dukkah coating almost got me there, and the near-rare texture of the meat had all kinds of sensuality going on. Highly recommended.
Having sampled the range of meaty offerings at Jeremy’s (including pork belly, confit duck and kingfish) I must admit that this was probably the lowpoint of the mains menu. While of excellent quality, this beef fillet was nowhere near ‘medium rare’ – closer to medium well – and this dish proved to me that beetroot is shit in even the finest of culinary settings. The truffle mash was superb though.
Jeremy’s is my current #1 venue for safe dates, visiting relatives and comfort dining. Next time you’re having a bit of a sook, make a booking (bypassing their ineffective online booking system) and check it out. You will be cheered up.
And with that, all that remains to be said is: