E'cco Bistro, Brisbane

Author: Fiona Donnelly
Photography: Courtesy E'cco Bistro

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: E'cco Bistro, Brisbane.

The Brisbane stalwart received a swift makeover last year, and now, with 27-year-old head chef Simon Palmer in the kitchen, it has a new menu to match the shiny Tom Dixon-style copper shades, monochrome palette and backlit mirrors. Octopus tentacle looks as good as it tastes when served with spicy muhammara, a nutty rye crumble, pomegranate seeds and walnut and potato foam. Crisp quail is subtly amped up with allspice, then paired with a vibrant kimchi custard and crowned with ribbons of heirloom carrot, mint, coriander and red chilli. Black-sugar-smoked brisket has its savoury richness tamed by pickles and an earthy radish-top purée. The fresh direction isn't likely to panic the horses (or upset loyal E'cco fans), but it represents the most profound change E'cco has made to its food in the last decade or so. Even pretty pink quenelles of beetroot and white chocolate mousse are politely funked up, a tart cassis gel and syrup of blueberries and marjoram boosting creaminess, while keeping the sweetness of accompanying meringues in check. A big tick, too, for a well-priced ($85) five-course tasting carte - and those separate vegetarian menus.

E'cco Bistro, 100 Boundary St, Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3831 8344. Open lunch Tue-Fri 12pm-3pm; dinner Tue-Sat 5.30pm-12am.

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