An often overlooked corner of the city – not quite on the river, not quite beside the botanical gardens, and opposite the Port Office Hotel – is where Mr Edward decided to open his Alehouse & Kitchen this week.
However, his judgement is much less questionable than his existence. In addition to his duties as invented venue mascot, Mr Edward seems to be a 19th century man-about-town who enjoys riding his bicycle. In his day, the area near the Port Office was probably the ideal place for a pub.
It’s refreshing to see a new beer-focussed bistro, or indeed alehouse, which hasn’t just dived headfirst into the American fried foods fad. The lunch menu mixes English and French-style dishes, including fish pie and rabbit and pork terrine, with pub classics like steak and chips. The astoundingly on-trend ‘superfood salad’ (what would Mr Edward say?) transcends national and cultural boundaries.
Rather than divide dishes into entrée and main, the prices simply creep up as the eye moves down the menu. Unfortunately, price isn’t the best indicator of meal size, and although the terrine is delicious when paired with candied apple, without bread or crackers it’s more snack than lunch.
Showing his commitment to beer, Mr Edward recommends one of Brisbane brewery Bacchus’s eclectically-flavoured beers for dessert. Even chocolate cravings can be satisfied with a Lamington Dark Ale or a Sex, Drugs & Rocky Road.
Considering the venue is part-owned by Coopers Brewery, who are well represented on the taps, it’s surprising to see such a range of options for the discerning beer drinker. The bar menu focuses predominantly on Australian craft beers with an average price of between $8 and $10 for a schooner. Nail Brewing, Bridge Road Brewers, Feral Brewing, and the local Newstead Brewery, are some of the highlights of the mid-tier line-up.
Despite the alehouse name, there’s much more than one type of beer on offer. In fact, all beer styles are well represented and sourced from quality breweries. Mr Edward doesn’t seem very interested in beers from overseas or beers over $15, which just leaves extra room behind the bar for some more deserving local brews.