You’ve landed a promotion, struck a deal, or reached a landmark and you want to celebrate with something truly special. But a regular dinner’s not going to cut it. If you need to go big (read: HUGE) you need to step it up with a degustation.
Degustation dining is the absolute peak of eating out. Nothing conjures the same luxurious, almost Roman opulence like a meal that comes in seven stages. And if you really want to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies, get the matching wines.
Warning: lots of teeny tiny meals adds up to a heckin' feed. It might sound like lowkey tapas but it is so not tapas. If you don’t come prepared (ie. starving) you might die in the attempt to fit it all in. For a night of bacchanalian excess, treat yourself and your table to a culinary experience with one of Brisbane’s finest degustations.
Once only available on Wednesdays, Rogue’s six-course dego is now on offer every night of the week. The best part is, the menu still changes every single month, so every time you go back, you'll have a whole new line up of dishes to sample. The October iteration of Rogue’s dego includes forest mushroom agnolotti with creamy mushroom sauce, Waguy beef brisket and strawberries and cream gelato with salted meringue.
Joy Restaurant is making serious waves in Brisbane’s dining scene. One of the few places on this list that doesn’t offer a la carte, at Joy you just have to turn up and have faith in their ability to wow. Their nine-course degustation menu always uses the freshest seasonal ingredients and explores every forgotten quarter of the flavour realm. Be warned: seats at Joy are strictly limited to just 10 pax, and they book out unbelievably fast. Bookings are open months in advance but if you can’t think that far ahead, keep tabs on their socials for any cancellations.
Pasta lovers, you're going to want to know about this feast. Casa Nostra dish up a six-course—wait for it—pasta degustation. Yep, six courses of nothing but pasta, and there's even a pasta dessert. You'll eat your way through Moreton Bay bug ravioli in truffle butter sauce, quail ragu and a sweet strawberry and ricotta lasagne, just to name a few of the dishes. Is there such a thing as too much pasta? We say hell no.
Deer Duck Bistro
Located on Milton Road, Deer Duck Bistro is an asset to the west side dining scene. Their menu usually favours traditional European flavours, but they also like to throw in a few curveballs, and this season's line up is a cracker—think a trio of pork flavours with smoked pork belly char siu, pulled smoked pork shoulder and pork cheek; pumpkin gnocchi in mushroom ragout; and green apple parfait for dessert. Best of all, they offer degustations at three different levels: First is a lightning-quick five course whiparound (perfect if you’re new to degustations), then there’s a slightly longer seven-course feast for the seasoned diner, and finally their stonking nine courses for the serious gourmand.
C'est Bon Restaurant
It doesn't get fancier than French food—except when there's eight courses of it, each one more inspired than the last. Available every Friday and Saturday evening, C'est Bon's chef's tasting menu is one for the bucket list, featuring either five or eight courses that hero French cuisine and local ingredients. Of course you'll want to go for the eight course version, preferable with the matched wines, which will end in you rolling out the door in a very un-fancy like manner by the end.
A swanky suburban spot from the creators of Freja Cafe, Elska is all about Australian produce prepped using Nordic cooking techniques—think pickled, salted, dried and smoked. Over 15 courses (yep, 15) you'll be wowed by delicate dishes like asparagus adorned in macadamia cream and edible flowers, wallaby ‘snags’ with Kakadu plum ketchup and butternut pumpkin two ways with creamed corn—or whatever other seasonal flavours have taken the head chefs fancy that month.
85 Miskin Street
This suburban restaurant is the culinary playground of head chef Brent Farrell, who's been putting together incredible degustations in a hidden Queenslander for over a decade. Ever creative and always delicious 85 Miskin Street's long degos play fast and loose with all kinds of dining conventions and you'll definitely want to get the matched wines.
Technically classed as a ‘banquet’, Honto’s contribution to multi-course dining is all designed to share. That means the entire dinner, including large plates, appetisers, side dishes and dessert, has all been thoughtfully curated for you, leaving you only to sit back and enjoy it. Some notable standouts include the salmon tartare chip with wasabi mayo, charred pork neck with ume tare and labne, and a toasted rice cake with coconut and puffed rice for dessert.
Restaurant Dan Arnold
The ultra modern, super sleek brainchild of Dan Arnold himself, Restaurant Dan Arnold only trades in tasting menus. Arnold spent seven years learning the fine art of French cuisine before returning to Australia, and now offers three strands of degustation dining united by a single objective to highlight local Australian produce (ingredients are sourced from small producers and local farms). Despite the scrupulous attention to detail, the restaurant itself has a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
Discover the Japanese version of a degustation at TakashiYa, where head chef Takashi Nami will prepare and serve around 11 courses of sashimi, sushi and more as a part of their omakase experience. Meaning "I'll leave it up to you," this cultural experience is as much about the fun of watching the chefs create the dishes as it is eating them. Order some sake to really complete the experience.
If you love to indulge, check out Brisbane's best bottomless brunches.
Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Smith, Deer Duck Bistro