Gastropubs (or gastronomy pubs) have been making their mark on the Brisbane beer and dining scene in the last few years alongside the rise of the craft beer scene. The term gastropub refers to bars serving high-end versions of pub-style food and beer. The Villager in the CBD is one of the first self-proclaimed gastropubs that I recall opening but since then several others have joined, including some old Brisbane stalwarts which have become one as part of a makeover. Statler & Waldorf joined the gastropub crew just over a year ago along Caxton St, which is slowly changing from a street of seedy bars and strip joints to the location of some of Brisbane’s best bars (Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall) and restaurants (Black Hide Steakhouse). Named after the two old grumps from The Muppets (and the hotels in New York), it already had my interest piqued but after a post-soccer dinner one evening I was a fast fan.
In mid-November, I got an email announcing that Statler & Waldorf were doing weekend breakfast and with talk of items like lavender crumpets and so immediately teed up a breakfast date with Y – also a fan of both S&W and crumpets. We rocked up early at 7:30am on a Sunday morning and were rather chuffed to get a park almost directly outside. Parking in Caxton St can be a pain but perhaps that’s more of a later-in-the-day issue. There were only a few other diners in the pub when we arrived so we had our pick of seats and chose to dine al fresco at one of the large tables on the sidewalk. We were brought menus and water immediately by our friendly waiter and he also took our coffee orders which was fortunate as Y had not slept well due to some rowdy housemates. Y ordered a soy cappuccino and I ordered my standard long black with milk on the side.
The menus were simply a piece of paper attached to a wooden board with rubber bands, which I really loved. No flicking between pages and easy to navigate! The menu states that seasonal produce which is local and ethically sourced where possible is used and that they use in-house baked bread or else source it from Chouquette in New Farm. All of the items listed on the menu sounded amazing and Y and I had a seriously tough time deciding! I love unusual menus and this one was up there as one of the more innovative ones I’ve seen in Brisbane. In the end we decided to share the Coconut Bircher Muesli with vanilla bean, verjuice poached stone fruit & pepitas ($12) and the House Cured Salmon with Dill Croquette with watercress & a poached egg ($16.50). All of the items are reasonably priced with the salmon being the most expensive item.
|Love the adorable milk jug|
Our coffees were quick to arrive and were accompanied by vintage spoons and raw sugar in a mini milk bottle. My milk arrived in the cutest mini glass jug I’ve ever seen. The coffee was good and strong without being bitter. Y was equally happy with her soy cap, although would have been pleased with anything containing caffeine at that point!
Our meals arrived sometime later and I loved the presentation. The muesli arrived in a wooden bowl on a thick wood board engraved with the Statler & Waldorf emblem with large pieces of poached peach and chopped almonds and pepitas scattered on top. The salmon dish was plated prettily on a cornflour blue plate as large pieces of the salmon and crispy fried croquettes atop watercress and a few vibrant slices of chioggia (candy striped beetroot) with a soft poached egg on top. The salmon was more cooked than I expected from cured salmon but I assume it was cured and then baked or smoked. We were also given a few bottles of chilli sauce to go with our dishes (primarily the salmon I assume!) but we thought it’s probably more suited to some of the other breakfast items. Nice to have the option though!
|Colourful presentation of dishes|
After being given an additional plate to share, we set about splitting up the salmon dish which was a bit tricky with the perfectly poached runny yolk but we managed. The salmon flaked easily and was super tender and moist. The potato and dill croquettes were hot and creamy on the inside with a lovely crunchy exterior. It was a delicious dish and the flavours and textures really worked well altogether.
|House cured salmon and dill croquette with watercress & a poached egg ($16.50)|
The muesli was a generous serve and thick with a pure soaked oat base. It was creamy and had a texture similar to porridge but still having a good bite to it. It was only slightly sweet which suited both of us although the poached fruit and honey drizzle added to it. I’m not sure what flavour the verjuice added but the poached peach was lovely and added a nice fruity flavour to it and the seeds and nuts gave the dish a crunchy element. I don’t recall the vanilla bean flavour but that’s not to say it wasn’t there amongst the rest of the flavours!
|Coconut Bircher Muesli with vanilla bean, verjuice poached stone fruit and pepitas ($12)|
We really loved our breakfasts at Statler & Waldorf and both agreed we had to return soon so try some of the other items. In particular, for me, the Chickpea Crepe with coriander, grains, sweet potato, yoghurt and a fried egg ($12) – I saw someone else having it and it looked fantastic! The service was great and our waiters were friendly and helpful. In the light of day, Caxton St is quite a pleasant spot to have as a view but it’s nice to also have the inside table options as well. And they have fresh coconuts on the menu which I only spotted at the end! I continue to be impressed by Statler & Waldorf and it’s good to see so many great options around the area.
|Sidewalk dining area|
|Interesting menu – note you can always add bacon for $3|