So you guys may have noticed Tim Gurner’s humungous $600 million FV development in Fortitude Valley (it’s kind of hard to miss). But this June, something pretty exciting is moving in downstairs: Foresters.
This is the first foodie project inside FV—a fine-dining take on Australian pub grub from the Signature Hospitality Group.
“The inspiration for the space really started with the heritage,” says Signature CEO James Sinclair. “We’ve retained the façade, which was built in 1889. This was the old Foresters’ Hall. In 1910, it became one of the first cinemas in Australia, so it’s got a long entertainment history.”
Now sticklers might say that plonking a $600 million spaceship on top of Foresters’ Hall is playing pretty fast and loose with the word ‘preservation’, but the team have tried to keep as much of the old structure as possible. The shop front with the big arches is still there, and those arches carry through to the new back bar. Recycled red bricks are everywhere, and the guys even managed to salvage the old turn-of-the-century pressed-metal ceiling tiles.
“We’ve been planning this for about 18 months,” Sinclair says. “We started from the hospitality viewpoint. We want to really elevate that whole gastro pub scene and try something new.”
So what can you expect from Foresters? Well the menu will be white tablecloths meet Australiana. Think house-made damper (brewed with local ale), topped with crispy chicken skin and sage butter (stop it). Or maybe the new 1kg yardstick T-Bone with pepperberry chips and vegemite butter.
“There’s a few items throughout the menu that will have that Australia twist,” Sinclair says. “We’re using lemon myrtle on our calamari. And as much as possible, we’re sourcing everything from local Brisbane producers.”
We haven’t even got to the best bit yet. Downstairs you’ll have the big Foresters restaurant and back bar, but upstairs (six storeys up, to be precise) there’s going to be a 250sqm rooftop bar, called Altitude. Expect a smaller, bar-snack menu up there, plus cocktails and craft beers. Gurner wants it to be the ‘Ivy of Brisbane’.
Where: FV, Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
When: Foresters will open in mid-June
More good news: thousands of fire sculptures are coming to Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Giddy-up.
Image credit: Gurner