Habitat West End Opens
I love a good beard.
Proof: D had very strict rules not to shave for at least a week prior to our wedding. I would have preferred longer, but he complained of itchiness. I guess not making him go any longer was my wedding present to him.
So what do beards have to do with Brisbane’s most popular new restaurant, Habitat? Absolutely everything. Co-owner Malcolm Watts has a lush dark mane on his face, and executive chef Luke Tye has quite an impressive growth happening himself. But it doesn’t stop there.
What the beard stands for – rugged manliness – is seen everywhere at Habitat. The decor features rich wood, with a mixture of both rustic furniture and more sleek fixtures. The food is hearty – think steak, kangaroo, and prawns. The prices are no-nonsense, good value.
It seems everyone else loves a good bit of beard too. On the Thursday night we were invited to dine, the place was packed – after being open for not even two weeks! Watts and business partner Scott Higginbotham (a rugby legend, I’m told – see, another shot of testosterone!) also own brekkie favourite the Moose & Gibson. Habitat will do breakfast too – in fact, Tye said that they will basically be serving food from 7am to midnight, seven days a week. Tye also told us about their passion for using local food, and being a part of the community. He talked of future plans where diners will be told where they can find the market vendor who sells the very fish, or meat, they’re eating – so they can go visit the vendor themselves next time and re-create the dish. Very cool.
We started with entrees – D had the Freshly shucked oysters with blood orange tea jelly, and loved the sweet and salty contrast.
I chose the Wagyu beef skirt with pepperberry sauce and bush tomato dumpling:
That’s a massive serve for an entree! Nice one, Habitat. The steak was super tender and I loved the crunchy little dumplings.
For mains, I went with the Handmade gnocchi with roast garlic, parsley, preserved lemon and Jerusalem artichoke:
Again, a very generous serve. From memory I think this dish is about $19 – excellent value! The gnocchi were gorgeous, fluffy little things, but I would have liked a little stronger flavour contrast on top – maybe even a sharp blue cheese?
D had the Wagyu beef tongue and beef cheek slow cooked in Habitat masterstock with rocket, quinoa and blue cheese salad with grilled lemon:
Tye had said that this was one of Habitat’s most popular dishes. It was our first time trying tongue, and I was surprised at how rich it was. However, the texture really isn’t for me (it’s not how you’d imagine tongue to be, but it’s just….I dunno. Not my bag).
Now, I was starting to feel a bit man-d out, what with all of this meat, wood, and beard. But luckily there are many soft touches at Habitat – take their dessert menu. WOW. Our table got to sample all of them, which included the Warm valrhona chocolate cake with apple chips milk chocolate and ginger mousse and raspberry coulis (my fave):
And the Vanilla panna cotta, fairy floss, pistachio crisps and orange syrup (also lovely, and I’m not normally a panna cotta fan!).
I mentioned earlier that I was impressed with Habitat’s value for money. Well, I just about fell off my chair when I peeked at their drinks list. A glass of wine for $7?! Yes, folks, it’s true: you CAN go to a gorgeous restaurant and have a glass of wine for less than $10. Amazing.
Even beard-haters will enjoy the excellent prices and good quality dishes that Habitat is serving up. And if you’re a beard lover? Well. You might just need a couple of those $7 glasses of wine to calm and contain yourself.
Cafe and Restaurant
187 Melbourne St, West End
We dined for free at Habitat. Thank you! All opinions are our own.