James Street Food and Wine Trail Returns to Fortitude Valley

Get ready for a mouthwatering experience as the James Street Food and Wine Trail makes its highly anticipated return to Fortitude Valley.

From Saturday, 27 July, to Sunday, 28 July, 2024, this culinary extravaganza is sure to delight food and wine enthusiasts. Brisbane’s lively precinct is set to undergo a remarkable transformation, becoming a hub of culinary delights that showcase the very best of local cuisine and beverages.

Year after year, the event captivates Fortitude Valley, attracting a multitude of people with its distinctive combination of culinary delights and captivating performances. On a designated day, the stretch of road from Arthur Street to McLachlan Street will be transformed into a vibrant outdoor dining area, temporarily closed off to traffic. The upcoming event is set to be more dynamic and engaging, despite being shorter than previous years.

The upcoming Market Day in 2024 will boast an impressive 39 stalls, surpassing all previous records in its 12-year history. This unprecedented number of stalls will serve as a testament to the vibrant and varied culinary landscape that Brisbane has to offer.

With an expected turnout of over 25,000 people, Market Day is set to become one of the most significant gatherings in recent history. The 7500-square-metre space will be filled as attendees flock to the event.

Hellenika is a star attraction for those with a penchant for Greek cuisine. Food enthusiasts will be drawn to the irresistible dishes at sAme sAme, while ESSA’s venue creates a unique atmosphere. The lively ambience at Cru Bar and the indulgent treats from Gelato Messina is sure to please a wide range of tastes. The event aims to showcase the reasons why James Street has become a popular spot for food enthusiasts in Brisbane.

The weekend will begin with a lavish four-course champagne lunch at ESSA, followed by lively celebrations at the newly renovated Cru Bar, and a delectable Middle Eastern-inspired dinner at ēmmē. The Calile’s Lobby Bar is set to host an aperitivo hour, further enhancing the weekend’s appeal. This weekend, Jocelyn’s Provisions will be showcasing a selection of delectable sweet treats, while Gelato Messina will tantalise taste buds with their exclusive, limited-edition desserts.

Market Day: The Main Attraction

Spanning an impressive 300 metres, this vibrant event will turn the street into a captivating alfresco dining area. Attendees can look forward to not only indulging in delicious food but also enjoying live music and captivating performances. At this upcoming event, attendees will have the chance to discover some exciting new additions to the local scene. 

Among them are ēmmē, Agnes Bakery, James & Antler, and Sushi Room. Notably, Sushi Room will be showcasing their skills with a live tuna carving demonstration. Attendees are advised to come with an empty stomach and a strong appetite, as they will be treated to a wide variety of mouthwatering culinary delights.

Fortitude Valley is set to transform into a vibrant epicentre of culinary excellence with the unveiling of the James Street Food and Wine Trail. Attendees can expect an extraordinary affair this year, as Brisbane’s finest culinary delights merge seamlessly with the vibrant energy of the city. No matter if you’re a resident or a tourist, this is a weekend that should not be overlooked.

Published Date 01-July-2024

New French Restaurant Petite Opens in Fortitude Valley

The Happy Boy team has expanded their East Street culinary empire with the opening of Petite, a French restaurant that promises to bring a touch of Gallic flair to Fortitude Valley.

Located on the corner of East Street and Ann Street, Petite is the latest venture from brothers Cameron and Jordan Votan. The restaurant occupies a prime spot, offering diners views of the bustling Ann Street and the start of James Street through its open-glass windows.

The spacious venue can accommodate approximately 115 guests, with 75 seats on the ground floor and an additional 40 on the mezzanine level, which is available for private functions.

Photo Credit: Instagram / @petitebris

Jordan Votan’s minimalist design features steel and concrete, balanced by leather booths, walnut furniture, and statement chandeliers imported from Como, Italy. The centrepiece is a low-set open kitchen, led by former Mini chef Aubrey Courtel.

Photo Credit: Instagram / @petitebris
Photo Credit: Instagram / @petitebris

Cameron Votan emphasized the kitchen’s design, noting, “We spent a lot of time designing the kitchen. The extraction system, which is like a ventilated ceiling, is a really high-tech piece of equipment. And everything in the kitchen is electric. We’re not trying to char everything, it’s about accuracy and delicacy.”

Photo Credit: Instagram / @petitebris

The menu, though concise, offers a range of French classics. Diners can expect dishes such as steak tartare, onion tarte tartin, and Wagyu bavette with café de Paris butter. A standout feature is the commitment to soufflés, with both savory and sweet options available to bookend meals.

Photo Credit: Instagram / @petitebris

“We’ve actually built the kitchen around that,” Cameron explained. “You can’t open an oven while a soufflé is cooking, so there’s a whole soufflé section. We put in two separate ovens for that purpose, because soufflés are such an amazing part of French cuisine.”

The wine list is equally impressive, featuring 20 French wines available by the glass. The use of Coravin technology allows patrons to sample rare wines from cult French producers without committing to a full bottle. For those with specific preferences, staff can also retrieve bottles from the adjacent Snack Man’s extensive wine wall.

Petite Fortitude Valley is open Tuesday to Thursday from 5:30 PM to 10 PM, Friday from midday to 10 PM, and Saturday from 5:30 PM to 10 PM. The restaurant does not accept phone reservations, but more information can be found on their website or Instagram page.

Published 14-June-2024

Fatcow on James St: Steak and Seafood Restaurant Makes a Comeback

Heads up! Fatcow is making a comeback, this time in Fortitude Valley, reopening as Fatcow on James St.

Read: Meet ēmmē: The Soon-To-Be Culinary and Artistic Delight in James Street

This new iteration of Fatcow Steak & Lobster, formerly located at Eagle Street Pier, will bring diners over to a swanky new spot in the Valley, where a fresh take on steakhouse dining awaits.

Fatcow on James St is the brainchild of restaurateur Michael Tassis. With a portfolio that includes establishments like Rich & Rare and Yamas Greek + Drink, Tassis aims to shake up the Valley dining scene with this revival.

Photo credit: Fatcow on James St/Facebook

At the heart of Fatcow’s comeback lies a meticulously crafted menu that pays homage to the finest cuts of meat and the freshest seafood. Guests can expect an array of carefully curated options, including the much-anticipated, truly decadent, gold-wrapped 400-gram, rib fillet steak-and-lobster combo.

Fatcow’s famous golden steak (Photo credit: Fatcow on James St/Facebook)

But the offerings don’t stop there. From wagyu tasting boards featuring three distinct varieties to an indulgent selection of mains ranging from wagyu burgers to lamb shoulder, Fatcow’s menu leaves no culinary stone unturned when it comes to staging this comeback to the Brisbane dining scene.

Fresh seafood takes centre stage, with Brisbane’s only live oyster tank ensuring unparalleled freshness and quality.

For those with a sweet tooth, Fatcow’s dessert menu includes scrumptious chocolate tarts, lime sorbet, and basque cheesecake. An extensive wine list with over 300 labels provides curated pairings that complement every dish on offer.

Photo credit: Fatcow on James St/Facebook

With Caio Rosetto, the mastermind behind the original eatery, back at the helm, expectations run high on the restaurant delivering exemplary service and attention to detail.

Read: How Brooki Bakehouse Fortitude Valley Became an Insta-Sensation and Earned an International Following

Fatcow on James St opens at 10 James Street, Fortitude Valley, on Wednesday, May 8, welcoming guests daily from 11:30 a.m. until late. Visit their website for more details.

Published 7-May-2024 

Meet ēmmē: The Soon-To-Be Culinary and Artistic Delight in James Street

Branded as a day-to-night dinner, ēmmē, found in the ever-elegant and food-centered James Street is set to offer its innovative culinary haven infused with fashion and arts in the early April of 2024. 

Unlike other competitors in the high-end streets in Fortitude Valley, the bright orange establishment, replacing Spoon Deli, naturally captures the attention of locals in the area.

Alkot Studio and Tonic Projects are the well-respected design and construction companies behind the establishment of ēmmē. Covered with Italian stone, the establishment will have a total of 44 indoors seating spaces with an additional of 38 seats in the al fresco area. 

The restaurant’s aesthetics perfectly complement its main concept of showcasing unique fashion, arts and food of the locals. Some of the fashion brands that ēmmē has already collaborated with are Milu and Calexico. They are also planning to host art and fashion shows in the future. 

At ēmmē’s, fashion and arts are not the only things to express artistry and creativity with. The kitchen is also a great way to do it. 

The Middle Eastern-Mediterranean inspired menu is the passion project of the kitchen’s head chef, Thomas Tze Lian, who has been cooking Mediterranean food almost all his career. 

However, Mr Lian doesn’t want to limit the place’s offering solely on these, the said cuisine can also go beyond a bit of Jordanian, Persian, Tunisian and Asian depending on the season. 

For drinks, a 50-bottle list is what ēmmē’s has to offer. Mr Lian is guided by Cutting Wine’s Marin Mamata in curating for his menu. 

He also revealed his spontaneity, because unlike normal restaurants, his dishes will not go by a name. 

One thing is for sure, ēmmē’s seasonal menus, mostly cooked through wood-fire, will be made through locally produced ingredients, from Middle Eastern-Mediterranean inspired breakfast, Wagyu dishes and mouth-watering seafood choices for dinner. 

Locals can experience ēmmē’s when they open or visit ēmmē’s official Instagram page for updates. 

Published 15-April-2024

Gerard’s Reopens on James Street with New Look and Menu

After months of eager anticipation, Gerard’s has finally reopened. Dropping “Bistro” from its name, Gerard’s is ushering in a new era while still honouring its legacy as one of the dining institutions along James Street.

Read: Gerard’s Bistro Appoints New Executive Chef, Will Introduce New Menu and Revamped Look Soon

After closing for renovations from June to November 2023, the newly refreshed Gerard’s offers some exciting changes while still remaining the beloved neighbourhood gem loyal patrons have cherished for years.

Although diners can still expect the intimate ambiance and gracious service they are recognised for, the dining room has been stunningly transformed to transport guests to the exotic lands of the Mediterranean.

The dining room walls pay homage to ancient ruins of the Levant, Ottoman Empire, and Roman civilisations, bathed in deep red hues reminiscent of the rich, terra cotta soils found in that region.

Chef Jimmy Richardson (Photo credit: Gerard’s/Facebook)

Leading the kitchen is new Executive Chef Jimmy Richardson, whose impressive resume includes senior roles at acclaimed restaurants like Shangri-La Sydney’s Altitude, The Bridge Room, Café Paci, and Sydney’s Park Hyatt.

Photo credit: J T/Google Maps

Standout new menu items include The Barbari bread, adorned with reduced whey and oregano, accompanied by smoked labneh. The Bateman’s Bay rock oysters, kissed by erk soos vinegar, provide a refreshing delight. Carnivores will rejoice at the Lebanese cured pork belly, a masterpiece of complex spices and melt-in-your-mouth richness.

Photo credit: J T/Google Maps

Gerard’s has always been known for their curated selection of local wines, but they have now expanded their offerings to include international varietals as well, with an emphasis on Mediterranean styles that pair beautifully with Chef Richardson’s dishes.

Read: Award-Winning Chef Martin Boetz Presents Short Grain Restaurant in Fortitude Valley

It’s not so much the start of an entirely new era, but perhaps the opening of an exciting new chapter for this beloved neighbourhood gem. Gerard’s is now accepting reservations via their website, so book your table soon to be one of the first to experience the revived restaurant’s singular charm and celebrated cuisine.

Published 24-November-2023

Shop, Feast, and Dance the Season Away on James Street

From holiday shopping nights to DJ sets to five-course feasts, Fortitude Valley’s James Street has something for everyone. Get out your calendar and save the date for three buzzworthy events coming up this November and December.

Read: Newly Renovated GPO Building Now Home to Tama Restaurant and The Gatsby Lounge Bar

Get Gifting on James Street

Photo credit: jamesst.com.au

Forget the usual Christmas gift socks and join Living Edge on James Street on Thursday, November 23 to fill up your holiday stocking with stylish homewares. Their VIP Shopping Night from 4:00 –8:00 p.m. will feature festive sips, special offers, and surprises on hot items like the Nuage vase, Eames elephant decor, and FLOS Bellhop lamp. As Living Edge says, everyone’s a VIP in their book so no RSVP is needed to enjoy the fun.


Photo credit: jamesst.com.au

LEV X LOS equals a mighty fine time when two top DJ talents team up on Saturday, November 25. Levi Birks, who spun tracks at previous James Street events like Up Late and the Food & Wine Trail, joins forces with Dan Mumbles, formerly of Gerard’s Bar, for a night of sips and sounds at LOS from 6:30–11:30 p.m. Bring your friends and dancing shoes — no RSVP needed!

Friday Feasts 

Photo credit: jamesst.com.au

The Green will bring back their popular Dark Green Dinner Series just in time for summer with new globally-inspired tasting menus each Friday starting December 1. Head Chef Dan Anderson’s opening five-course Lebanese-themed menu on December 1 boasts babaganoush, mechoui spiced lamb shoulder, and more. Feast your eyes on the full menu and book your tickets for what will surely be a delicious summer ahead.

Read: Brooki Bakehouse Fortitude Valley Gains Instant Recognition Thanks to TikTok

Whether you’re looking to cross some names off your gift list, dance the night away, or tantalise your taste buds, James Street has something for all interests and tastes as Brisbane swings into the summer spirit. So be sure to calendar or bookmark these three buzzed-about events and keep an eye out for more celebrations headed to the James Street neighbourhood.

Published 21-November-2023

Appeal Over Approved Commercial Building On James Street

A Brisbane firm has lodged an appeal to the Planning and Environment Court to refuse planning permission for a previously approved six-storey commercial building on James Street in Fortitude Valley.

Read: New Year, New Name as Evita Fortitude Valley Becomes ‘Rumba’

Citing various issues, Jezreel Pty Ltd and Matthew Sorbello has filed a notice of appeal against Brisbane City Council’s approval of developer Forme One Pty Ltd’s plans for a six-storey building at 75-85 James St in Fortitude Valley.

Plans for the building include a food and drink outlet, shop, office, and bar. BCC granted approval for the building in November 2022.

Artist’s impression for proposed development at 75-85 James St, Fortitude Valley (Photo credit: Richards & Spence/Brisbane City Council) 

Mr Sorbello filed the appeal on 13 December, citing grounds that include the alleged;y inappropriate height and scale for its locality, and the loss of existing on-street car parking spaces in Harcourt Street.

“The proposed development, by the provision of a bar, seven retail tenancies and seven office tenancis is inconsistent with New Farm Plan overall outcome, which seeks to ensure that the James and Arthur streets sub-precinct remains a secondary neihgbourhood centre,” the appeal reads.

Mr Sorbello’s family is known for running businesses throughout Brisbane, including the Merthyr Village Shopping Centre in New Farm.

Photo credit: Richards & Spence/Brisbane City Council

Among their claims is that the bar, which would operate between 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. is inconsistent with community expectations for the locality.

During the public notification period, the DA received a total of 19 submissions from residents, most of which are objecting to the proposed development. 

Aside from the demolition of blocks of units along James St, the development would also entail knocking down three pre-1911 character buildings, a decision that locals believe would have an impact on the existing local character of the area.

Read: $7-Million Revamp of GPO Hotel to Introduce New Fine Dining Venue in Early 2023

Further updates regarding the notice of appeal for 75-85 James Street, Fortitude Valley can be checked via Council’s website, with the application number A005834091.

Agnes Bakery in Fortitude Valley is Brisbane’s New Favourite

Have you been to Agnes Bakery? This new bakery on James St in Fortitude Valley isn’t hard to find. Just look for the queue of people waiting to get in, Wednesdays to Sundays. When people line up for their brekky even before the store opens, that’s when you know you’re on to something good.

Agnes Bakery, which started welcoming customers in late October 2021, takes pride in making everything in-house from scratch so that every batch of baked treats is served warm and fresh daily.

From the crusty loaves of sourdough bread, perfectly burnt yet creamy Basque cheesecakes, comforting choux buns, and delightful kouign-amanns, every bite of goodies that come from the bakery’s wood-fired oven leave a satisfying taste that lingers…no wonder many customers come back for more!

Photo Credit: AgnesBakery/Facebook
Photo Credit: AgnesBakery/Facebook

Curiously, however, the bakery wasn’t in the plan for the owners. Experienced hospitality operators Ben Williamson, Ty Simon, and Frank Li — who run popular Brisbane restaurants like Same Same, Honto, and Bianca — initially set their sights on opening a restaurant (also called Agnes).

However, things changed when the hospitality industry took a big hit during the pandemic. Not to be discouraged, the operators decided to shift gears and use their Agnes Restaurant spot as a pop-up bakery, opened during limited hours only, in August 2020 until the pandemic panic subsided. Amidst social distancing guidelines, customers lined up for the limited offering which has prompted the owners to consider expanding their business plan to include the bakery. 

“One of the concepts we have started to explore more is how the use of fire applies to working with ancient and sustainably grown grains, and how it can add to the complexity of flavours in sourdough and pastries, both sweet and savoury,” the owner said. “On top of this, we wanted to provide people with the opportunity to enjoy some of the wares we serve at Agnes restaurant, within a casual setting.” 

As things fell into place, the former Agnes Bakery pandemic pop-up became a stand-alone, permanent site and not merely an extension of Agnes Restaurant, with 14 bakers in the kitchen and 10 staff at the frontline. The group also formulated an enhanced menu filled with more appetising choices. 

Apart from the pop-up favourites, Agnes Bakery also offers smoked potato braid, heaps of danishes (potato/rosemary, apple crumble, and blueberry/citrus, among other flavours), as well as a rotating mix of cake slices, flans, cookies, and savoury muffins and pizzettes. Soon, the bakery will also introduce a lunch range featuring ciabatta sandwiches. 

Photo Credit: AgnesBakery/Facebook

For those on the clock, the bakery has a convenient coffee window for quick orders.

Photo Credit: Joseph Cosico/Google Maps

Agnes Bakery opens Wednesday to Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Follow their Facebook page for updates. 

“Everything is excellent and can’t wait till they add some more condiments and things. They make stuff you don’t really see in Australia (like pithivier) which is fun as well.”

Ben E

“OMG!  This beautiful bakery is an absolute gem!  I called in at the end of their 1st day (my interest was sparked as I drove past in the morning and there was a 100-meter line-up of peeps down James St).  This place must have something going for it.  I was not disappointed.  The young, cheerful girl who greeted me was very knowledgeable on the delights available.  I purchased a blackberry and blueberry and passion fruit with melted marshmallow Kouign-amann.  Supercalifragilisticepialidocious is an apt word for my experience of this pastry delight.  From the crispy outer layers of glazed pastry to the inner taste bud tingling cream patisserie, I was completely lost in indulgent heaven.”

Samantha Hutchison

New Foodie and Plant Lover Paradise The Green to Open on James Street

In mid-2020, Green Space opened a pop-up shop on James St which quickly became a hit with both plant lovers and foodies. Now opening at a permanent location on the same street, The Green will include a Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant conceptualised by an internationally acclaimed designer, with two-time Chef Hat winner Warren Turnbull in the kitchen, plus elements such as an event space and a flower bar!

“Our new location, simply called The Green, will include an even bigger selection of pots, plants and homewares as well as a Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant, event space and flower bar,” the owners, Angela Sclavos and Christina Habchi, announced in January 2021

The fitout for The Green, found on 27 James St, has been coming together thanks to the vision of internationally acclaimed designer Borhan Ghofrani, who wants the new space to be more than just a restaurant. 

Photo Credit: Supplied

Mr Ghofrani based his designs on the owners’ Lebanese roots and envisions that when visitors step into the new store, they will feel like they are in another world. 

“This space will be a surprise to the senses,” the designer said. “Imagine the stunning red hues of the emblematic Cedar wood of Lebanon intertwined with the alluring plant life that locals have come to love about Green Space, but on a much larger scale.”

The Green will feel right at home on James Street’s lifestyle precinct next to establishments like Endota Spa, Alexa Nice, Pottery Barn and Gerard’s Bistro. It will take over the shop formerly occupied by Akira, the fashion label. 

Photo Credit: Supplied

“Crafting a space like The Green from the ground up involves a level of reverse engineering. It is a laborious process to deliver design elements engrossed in heritage and history, but it matters, and we are thrilled to unveil the end result to patrons very soon,” Mr Ghofrani said.

Meanwhile, two-time Chef Hat winner Warren Turnbull will serve as the Head Chef at The Green’s kitchen, who will create authentic Lebanese dishes, such as bubbly flatbreads, sweet honey-soaked cheese and crispy homemade falafels, to complement and work cohesively with the restaurant’s design. Mr Ghofrani said that he can’t wait for their guests to have an unforgettable dining experience.

Photo Credit: Supplied

“Without design unity across all components including sights, smells, sounds and tastes, a venue is soulless and lacks the fundamental pillars of a sustainable business due to a lacklustre patron experience,” he said.

Follow The Green’s Instagram account for updates on the opening date this July 2021, the menu, and their store hours. 

Luxury Skincare Brand Rationale Moves to James Street

Rationale, a leading Australian luxury skincare brand, has moved to a bigger flagship store from Ann Street to James Street in Fortitude Valley. The new space has more treatment rooms to provide a variety of dermatological services to its patrons.

As new store opens, Rationale also introduces its expanded Essential Six Collections. As with the previous sets, these collections offer a personalised product line-up for different and ever-changing skincare needs. 

Named for the “six pillars of lifelong skin vivacity and luminosity,” the Essential Six Collections comprises colour-coded cleansers, moisturisers and serums that bring the following benefits:

BRILLIANCEThe Brilliance Collection is the finishing facet of your morning.
CLARITYThe Clarity Collection offers a nightly ritual for skin refinement and radiance; equilibrium is elegantly restored, crystal clarity is cultivated.
INTEGRITYThe Integrity Collection offers inspired creations for the evening, designed to strengthen skin’s most precious, yet elusive, qualities.
RENEWALThe Renewal Collection ushers skin through a most profound journey of overnight rejuvenation and repair.
RESILIENCEThe Resilience Collection restores skin’s inherent fortitude, enhances clarity and reanimates luminosity with a suite of nurturing and protective formulations.  
VITALITYThe Vitality Collection simultaneously delivers superlative skin rejuvenation and intensive antioxidant nourishment. 
Photo Credit: Rationale/Facebook

Richard Parker launched Rationale in 1992 using Australian botanicals as the main ingredients. Before establishing its own retail stores, Rationale was only available at dermatology offices and skincare clinics. 

His creations have given rise to a cult following among beauty bloggers, celebrities and make-up artists. The beauty brand has an online shop as well.