Thursday, 10 November 2016

Nickel Kitchen & Bar - Review

Once upon a time there was a seedy inner suburb of Brisbane called Fortitude Valley.  It was named after a ship that turned up in 1849 full of hopeful migrants from Britain.  The Valley as it is known by locals was until recently full of ladies of the night, corrupt cops, criminals of all sorts and other tawdry types.  Some years ago, the government of the day (I'm talking the 80s folks) decided to clean up the corruption, which led to places like the Valley being cleaned up over time too.  

Now it is full of bright and beautiful young things going about their business in the tiniest of shorts and the highest of heels from nightclub to nightclub on any given night of the week. Sometimes it's hard to remember these half-naked young things are not the afore-mentioned ladies of the night.  Just kidding - maybe.  

shiny chandelier made of upturned glasses

These days it is full of trendy bars, clubs and restaurants, pulsing with action. One of our many nieces decided she would like to have her birthday dinner down here, so Nickel Kitchen & Bar it was. (Just a quick aside: Brissie folk seem to always say we are going down to the Valley, no matter where we are coming from).  

looking into the bar area   

Nickel Kitchen has a 1920s, Art Deco vibe.  It is quite dark inside; with dark panelling and that glassy chandelier above us.  There is plenty of room on our table, and lots of space around us.  The staff are all happy little campers, and our French? waiter is very helpful. What else could I start with but a glass of champagne?  

Cloudy Bay Pelorus Brut $13   

Okay this was lovely but pretty expensive considering the tiny size of the glass.  I guess it was meant to be evoking the feel of the 20s. Mr P. had his usual ginger beer, while the others indulged in cider and wine.  The niece had an Aperol Spritz which was $18. Crumbs, cocktails are not cheap, are they?

the amuse-bouche - sorry I forget what it was:) but delish I can tell you    

These were little tartlets, perhaps of mushroom?  A delicious mouthful anyway.

spanner crab cakes with Old Bay aioli $22   

Silly me, I had no idea this entrée was so huge.  That little wire basket just went on and on!  This was a lovely starter; full of crab, a soft filling, with a crisp coating.  The aioli was intense, smoky and delicious.  Really this was enough for me for the whole night. Not that it stopped me having a main, you silly people.

1/2 doz. oysters Kilpatrick $18 

The niece enjoyed the oysters for her entrée.  These were good value and tasty too by all accounts. 

sizzling Bay prawns with chilli and garlic $22

The nephew had the prawns for starters.  No complaints from his corner.  They sizzled, and they had a lot of flavour with the garlicky sauce.

French onion soup $16 

Mr P. had the soup for his entrée.  It had one huge slice of bread across the top of the bowl which he said was quite difficult to manoeuvre.  What do you do with it?  Cut it with your spoon? Shovel it into your mouth in one go?  Apart from that slight inconvenience, he said it was thick and very tasty.  I think he was a bit surprised as to the thickness of the soup, but he still really enjoyed the oniony goodness.

wild mushroom tagliatelle $35 

Hubby and the niece's friend chose this dish.  It seems a wee bit expensive to me for what it was.  Basically you can't get anything much cheaper than a bit of pasta, so I am not sure why this was such a high price.  The wild mushrooms I guess?  Yes sure, and the bit of truffle/oil?  They both really liked it, so that's what counts. Plenty of mushroom flavour, and that slow-cooked runny egg on top to set it off.  Oh yes and the parmesan. Not that you can see it, so maybe it was part of the sauce.

herb crusted rack of lamb $45

This didn't look pretty from my angle; all a bit caveman-like to me. The report on the lamb was that it was very pink and tender. It came with a candied cherry tomato which had everyone intrigued and curious as to what it was.  It apparently tasted like a fresh chutney.  These went down a treat with the nephew. 

grilled Moreton Bay bugs w/- garlic rice and wilted spinach $45

Sis-in-law had this dish, partly due to the fact that it is gluten-free. (she genuinely can't eat wheat etc, not like those pseudo-coeliacs). As outer spacey alien as they look, they tasted delicious.  The green and herby sauce on top added to the pleasure.

Barossa Valley chicken Kiev $36

Oddly my plate was pretty in pink, unlike everyone else's which were white.  No idea why, but I felt really special :=).  Not as happy with my chicken.  It was okay, but I wasn't over the moon.  I could detect no garlic butter in this dish at all.  One of the joys for me of this dish should be lots of buttery, garlicky juices.  The chicken was tender in its weird little rolls; the veggies were so hard I nearly shot them off the plate trying to cut them. Sorry to say but this dish was sadly underwhelming.

confit duck leg à l'orange $38  (awful night shot-sorry!)  

This dish was had as an entrée and a main ($22 for the entrée).  It was by all accounts delicious.  It came with fennel and asparagus, and a baby carrot by the look of it. Funny how restaurants can give you tiny vegetables, and tell you they are heirloom so you pay heaps more.


We had brought in a birthday cake to the restaurant, and were charged cakeage of $6.50 each.  Fair enough; I realise they have to serve it and clean up after, but it did seem a teensy bit steep.  I would love to try some of the desserts on their menu: chocolate whisky tart with blood orange sorbet sounds sublime, and the bombe alaska is brilliant apparently.

The restaurant is on the ground floor of a multi-storey building, with big glass panels looking into the foyer with the lifts.  A bit strangely I felt, they had pulled the curtains open and tied them back so we were looking into a bright space with lots of people coming and going all night.  Perhaps it is meant to be the entertainment?

Oh, I forgot to mention the toilets.  Sis-in-law said she was personally escorted to the Ladies!  Lucky her; they didn't escort us both the next time.  Funny thing is, there are no locks on the doors of the cubicles.  Do they fear they will have to drag people out kicking and screaming?  Or what?!  Just a reminder that you can get discounted parking nearby either by booking online or using a promo code.

Ground Floor, 757 Ann St.,
Fortitude Valley 4006
Ph: 07 3252 5100

Nickel Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


  1. My onion soup with its bread was extremely delicious but with that slab of bread eating was difficult. Maybe it needs to be on the side?

  2. I'm yet to check this out. I didn't know that the Valley was named after a ship. Fun facts!

  3. How strange that there are no locks for cubicles. I wonder why!? I would not feel comfortable!


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