PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Just around the corner from the Brunswick and Annie Street nexus of some of Brisbane's most popular eateries is one of the better-kept European secrets of the Brisbane dining scene. Run by the capable hands of Beau Downs and Oliver Markart, The Continental Cafe calls itself "New Farm's favourite dining room" and embodies that statement in the most familial sense of the word. With a warm colour scheme and traditional wooden furniture, surrounded by prints of famous oils by the old masters, you could be sitting in an old maison in the Spanish hills or provincial France. The ad hoc floor plan adds to the effect with converted retail space lending itself to cosy private spaces, perfect for small groups or romantic interludes.
Led by chef Downs, the congenial open kitchen creates a simple, unfussy classic cuisine that is so fashionable right now – but this dining room has been serving it for years. Taking advantage of the locally produced ingredients, the restaurant runs a constantly changing specials board; the menu itself is primarily influenced by Italian, Spanish and French flavours with the odd Pacific flourish to keep you on your toes. Highlights include an osso bucco served on saffron risotto with citrus gremolata and a risotto aux fruits de mer which is positively bursting with fresh, locally caught seafood. It would be wrong to not mention the extensive desserts menu which offers no less than 13 different sweets from cinnamon-roasted poached pears to an apple beignet (French doughnut). With an amazing space free from pretense or snootiness, and a menu that makes the most of amazing produce, The Continental Cafe will speak volumes for your taste – both literally and aesthetically.