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 pan-seared scallops with kaffir lime potato foam, coal grilled oyster mushrooms and salted meringue with pandan cream and strawberries and cream gelato.
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.
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 duck tacos with blueberry and guacamole, mushroom cappuccino with rosemary foam and parmesan cookies and rum panna cotta 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.
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 12 courses 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 lobster katsu sando and the slow cooked beef short rib with a soy and ginger glaze.
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
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Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Smith, Deer Duck Bistro