The mood is French but the outlook is quintessentially Brisbane at Privé249, the fine dining restaurant at the Sofitel Hotel where floor to ceiling windows frame magnificent views of the Central Station Clock Tower and Anzac Square. James Gallagher recently took over the reins as chef de cuisine.
We had an opportunity to taste some of his dishes during a lunch hosted by the Australian Society of Travel Writers on Friday. Earlier in the week, Privé249 received a coveted chef’s hat in The Brisbane Times Good Food Guide, as it has done in all four editions of the guide.
Gallagher comes to the Sofitel from Alchemy restaurant, where he was senior sous chef. Originally from England, he previously worked at Fortnum & Mason’s ‘The Gallery’ in London and in the ‘Innovation’ kitchen of Deloitte’s corporate headquarters in London. Inspired by the seasons with a passionate focus on sustainable local produce, Gallagher promises clean, sophisticated food but says diners can also expect the unexpected.
At Friday’s lunch, we enjoyed a single slice of Wagyu rump served with red wine jus, caramelised onion puree, shallots and a tiny bit of bone marrow. Dessert was a large disc of chocolate ganache, little dollops of Nutella mousse, a scoop of Frangelico icecream and hazelnut croquant (brittle) scattered over the plate. Audible sighs from the chocolate addicts in the room.
Gallagher will hold his first public event on July 17 with a Hat’s Off Dinner as part of Brisbane Good Food Month. It includes Tanqueray cocktail on arrival followed by four French-inspired courses paired with wine, accompanied by a Queensland Symphony Orchestra performance. Tickets are $125.
Other Good Food Month events coming up include a High Tea in the 30th floor Club Lounge, $55pp, from July 11 to 17; and Food Writing 101 on July 11 for wannabe food critics, $149, which includes morning tea and lunch, along with some of Gallagher’s dishes for you to critique. Food writer Barbara Sweeney and gastronomy academic Dr Roger Haden from Le Cordon Bleu will lead this culinary romp through the world of cookbooks and food writing.
Bookings for Food Writing 101: www.brisbane.goodfoodmonth.com
Other bookings direct to the Sofitel: +61 7 3835 3535
249 Turbot Street,
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
+61 7 3835 3535