Como Up There With Brisbane’s Best Restaurants

Brisbane's best restaurants. The presentation of all dishes at Como Restaurant is meticulous.
The presentation of all dishes at Como Restaurant is meticulous.

Since it opened late last year, Como Restaurant has proved to be right up there with Brisbane’s best restaurants, thanks to its stylish take on Italian dining. Located in Melbourne Street, South Brisbane, Como is under the command of Isaia Dal Fiume, who was previously chef de cuisine at Bacchus, a restaurant I have always thought very highly of.

Como has an uber-cool fit-out, beginning with the Vespa parked outside the front entrance. The first thing you see on entering is the glamorous bar in the centre of the room. Clad in marble, the bar is surrounded by a trio of curved booths each seating two (great for a private tête-à-tête) as well as bigger booths and cushy banquette seating.

Locally made furniture and ceramic art works are complemented by grey curtains, timber floors and pops of burgundy, creating a warm and moody ambience that enables the restaurant to transition easily from day to evening.

Brisbane's best restaurants. The Vespa out the front: a very Italian welcome.
The Vespa out the front: a very Italian welcome.

We were warmly welcomed by manager Luca who got us off to a great start with a refreshing Como spritz – a mix of lemon verbena spirit, apricot brandy, Montenegro syrup, and citrus, notes that speak of Italy but are just at home in sunny Brisbane.

There’s a huge list of spritzes, negronis and sgroppinos to choose from, along with a comprehensive wine list that traverses the globe, from Australia and Italy, to France, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, and the United States. Along with some decadent dessert cocktails, there’s a great selection of non-alcoholic drinks (quaintly called temperance cocktails).

Take a seat at the glamorous bar for aperitivo.
Take a seat at the glamorous bar for aperitivo.

The chef draws on influences from regions throughout Italy, including Como, some of them humble family recipes that have been passed down through generations. All are presented with delicacy and finesse and a focus on showcasing quality seasonal ingredients.

We started with appetizers inspired by some the chef created for Michelin-star restaurants he worked at in Italy, beginning with fried polenta topped with Urban Valley mushrooms from just up the road in Fortitude Valley – you can’t get more local than that!

Also stunning were the Crab qukes – baby cucumber sliced in half lengthways, topped with Shark Bay (WA) sand crab, chives and avocado mousse.

Beetroot tartare is as pretty as a picture.
Beetroot tartare is as pretty as a picture.

I adored the beetroot tartare, a pretty-as-a-picture disc of beetroot cubes with macadamia and mustard. Next came champagne lobster spaghetti, a heavenly dish of spaghetti with chardonnay, lemon, champagne lobster and bottarga. Beautiful in its simplicity, this is fast becoming a signature dish.

We shared a main of perfectly cooked duck breast from Anatra Game Farm (NSW), garnished with sumac, nasturtium and baby carrots. And finally the dessert: an eye-catching concoction of raspberry sorbet with rhubarb, lilly pilly gin, hazelnut crumble and a ball of fairy floss, all presented on an oversized pink ceramic bowl that appears like a flattened balloon.

Brisbane's best restaurants. Spaghetti with chardonnay, lemon, champagne lobster and bottarga. Divine.
Spaghetti with chardonnay, lemon, champagne lobster and bottarga. Divine.

The presentation of all the dishes was meticulous. Some of the ceramic pieces the dishes were served on were works of art in themselves. Como slices its cured meats to order, and it apparently does cracking pizzas, although we didn’t try these.

Como has a private dining room that can accommodate up to 14 people, who can choose from the à la carte menu or collaborate with the chef for a bespoke dining experience.

Brisbane's best restaurants
Raspberry sorbet and fairy floss dessert, on an eye-catching ceramic piece.

It’s heartening to see such an elevated standard of Italian dining in Brisbane, especially at such a difficult time for the hospitality industry. It’s also great to see such a fine restaurant within walking distance of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). We can highly recommend this as a place to enjoy a pre- or post-performance meal.

Do yourself a favour and support this wonderful restaurant. Como deserves to be on your list of restaurants not to be missed in Brisbane.

If you go:

Como Restaurant
119 Melbourne St
South Brisbane Qld 4101
Tel: +61 (0)7 3217 2848

Food Wine Travel dined as guests of Como Restaurant.

Images © Food Wine Travel where indicated. The beetroot tartare photo was supplied by the restaurant and is used with permission.

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