Hot Plates: Damon Amos opens Detour, Woolloongabba
Author: Fiona Donnelly
Photography: Nadine Shaw/Detour
12:00AM, Feb 8, 2017
When chef-owner Damon Amos chose Detour as a name for his new Brisbane restaurant he had no idea how apt it would end up being, or how long and circuitous the path to launch-day would be.
It's taken more than a year to carve out Detour's contemporary interiors, housed in painstakingly worked heritage digs on Woolloongabba's Logan Road antique strip.
The results are striking and detailed. A timber plating-up bench sits centrestage, a burnished copper backdrop soaring up behind creating an eye-catching foil for the room's lofty ceilings, vertical slatted timber walls, hardwood flooring, steel girders and craggy brick walls. At night, the interior glows invitingly. It offers a handsome frame for the team's distinctive, sometimes outré share plates, and a wine list showcasing small producers.
Salmon arrives cured and seasoned by gunpowder - actual gunpowder - the fillet dramatically blackened by the combination of charcoal, potassium and magnesium. The explosive mix adds a salty, slightly peppery metallic note to the rosy flesh, which plays well with the chilli-forward coconut green curry cream it's served with. Coriander cress, chives and a sprinkling of citric-flavoured black ants and toasty rice puffs add further layers of flavour and texture.
Emu tartare arrives on a crisp oversized cracker. Sprigs of dill top the hand-cut emu flank, rich splotches of pasteurised yolk and charry-edged sweet banana shallots, the whole thing dressed with smoked habanero seasoning and caramelised shallot oil. It's also one of the few dishes on the menu that contains gluten, part of a general inclination (which includes half the menu being free of animal products) towards keeping offerings friendly to a broad array of dietary requirements.
Pink fir potatoes are elevated to luxury fare, cooked in seawater, then blinged up with saffron strands, garlic, and a scattering of flash-fried sea lettuce. Dessert follows the same surprise-and-delight drill. A nutty vegan meringue, made from chickpea cooking-water and cashew syrup, is poached in liquid nitrogen and paired with almond cream, basil snow, basil leaves and basil seeds.
It may have taken the long way round to get here but Detour is definitely a trip worth taking.
Detour, 11 Logan Rd, Woolloongabba, Qld, (07) 3217 4880, detourrestaurant.com.au