Nestled comfortably in the well respected ‘antique quarter’ of Woolloongabba lays Birdcage, a new pan Asian restaurant recently reincarnated from the former Bistro Bistro. Sitting in an 1890 heritage building brings high expectations; happily BirdCage delivers on all levels.
On entry, unique touches include two big Buddha’s gazing over the front door, sky blue feature lamps, ornate candles trapped in white birdcages and a soft tinge of red resonating throughout the long dining room.
With the deft hand on the floor from owner Darryl Marsden, who has spent his time managing hotels in Bali, Japan and Fiji, service runs reasonably smooth.
Sharing was recommended so we opted for three entrees as many took our interest.
The first entree of oxtail braised in star anise and lemongrass, with Chinese green onion pancakes and chili jam ($16) was fragrant and moreish. The ‘melt in your mouth’ meat sat in a rich, thick sauce. The roti-style pancakes, creating the much needed crisp and flaky texture. However, the jam, which was more like a sambal, was not as tasty and spicy as my Malaysian Nan’s.
Salmon tartare with green onion, young ginger, soy, sesame oil and chili ($17) was cleanly presented showcasing the perfect cubes of fresh raw fish. Simple flavours, good combinations and a decent amount of technique highlighted this dish.
The last entrée of Eggnets filled with oyster mushrooms, bean sprouts, snow peas and daikon ($14) were satisfying, both for my arteries and taste buds. The different vegetables perfectly complemented each other showing the chefs knowledge of flavours. The accompanying ginger dipping sauce wasn’t bad, though lacked any punch.
Main was the duck breast on red Thai curry with caramelised pineapple, apple eggplant and roasted shallots ($32). The perfect pink breast sat atop the comforting thick sauce with the large pieces of vegetable and fruits scattered throughout adding some crunch. The shape of the dish was not in my favour, presenting a challenge when trying to divide the bigger than bite size duck slices as they sat in the depths of the bowl.
For dessert, I opted for the banana fritters with salted coconut caramel and vanilla ice-cream ($15). It was a generous serving, maybe because they knew we were sharing? The melted ladyfinger bananas were covered in a beautiful crisp batter alternating with the luscious ice cream. The rich caramel sauce, a welcome addition and perfect match.
BirdCage displays a good selection from the enormous range of Asian cuisines. The options present nicely and with the ambience create an enjoyable experience.
I’m glad this new bird has not flown the coop and encourage a visit to the latest addition of the ‘antique quarter.’