We first went to Ecco almost a year ago now for an occasion that was special at the time (obviously) but has since become known as “the night we went to Ecco”.
It was without a doubt, the most perfect night out at a Restaurant either of us had ever experienced. Being a hospitality snob, I can be picky (internally) – but don’t get me wrong, I’m not a whinger or a scene-maker. I just quietly note all the things that they could have done differently to make it a better experience. But Ecco hit every nail on the head, even the nails I didn’t know were there until BAM!, down it went.
The whole evening was seamless from a service point of view – the door was opened for us, they knew who we were, water was poured as soon as we were seated and our drinks materialised within minutes of us ordering them. Our flamboyantly gay waiter was charming and finely tread the line between personable and professional while genuinely interacting with us throughout our meals.
My husband still talks about the soup. He’s a picky bugger sometimes and wasn’t in the mood for quail, scallops or mushrooms so he defaulted to the Cauliflower and Caramelised Garlic Soup which sounded “noice” but I couldn’t go past the Portabello Mushrooms on Olive Toast which I had heard beforehand, was one of the Restaurant’s signature dishes. When the meals arrived, I was too busy devouring my outstanding starter – it was everything it should have been. Delicious earthy mushrooms atop chargrilled olive sourdough, super fresh and peppery rocket dressed with the most divine lemon infused olive oil – I was in heaven and savouring every mouthful.
Oblivious in my happiness, I managed to draw breath between bites to glance over at hubby, protectively guarding my plate like a prison inmate only to see him gripping his deep soup bowl like a man drowning and licking his lips with his eyes closed.
I swear to God, the man was purring!
The soup (in a very generous quantity) was like a velvet reduction of the most fabulous, intense and perfectly seasoned cauliflower gratin I have ever had. Hubby admitted to me later, as he neared the last spoonful, that he was considering how he could create a scene big enough that he could lick his bowl clean without being treated like a circus freak!
So the starters were obviously winners, Ecco was moving to the top of our favourite Restaurant list and then our Mains came out. Again, hubby didn’t fancy anything on the menu but was completely bowled over by the Chef’s Special – Grade 9 Wagyu Rump, Slow Roasted with Truffle Mash and Broccollini. It sounded nice, but I’m married to a Butcher – I can have steak whenever I want. I went for the Duck, and neither of our choices disappointed.
My duck was fantastic with a Capital F. Creamy and Crispy in all the right places, it would have been finger-lick’in good if it wasn’t so tender it fell apart just looking at my knife. There was no need for fingers.
It was the best version of Duck I have ever had. But hubby’s steak – well that broke all the rules. It was single handedly the most rich, intensely flavoured piece of meat I had ever tasted and it was perfectly balanced by the mashed potatoes. He struggled to finish it, even after sharing several bites with me, and said he wanted to cry when he saw the waiter carrying it to the kitchen unfinished.
I have since bought the Ecco cookbook in an effort to recreate some of these dishes, but after a couple of failures, I have resigned myself to simply picking up the bill the next time we go. Ecco is a jewel among Brisbane, and if I can give you some advice: Book early, wear elasticised pants and be prepared to be wowed.
Verdict: Amazing, unpretentious, fabulous quality food worthy of a celebration or any time you have a spare $200 (per couple) lying around.
My recommendations: Anything on the Chef’s Special Board, Portobello Mushrooms on Olive Toast.