Kit is a writer, raconteur and inveterate user of vague & pretentious words.
Published April 2nd 2012
It has been said – by Melburnians and Sydneysiders, admittedly – that Brisbane lacks genuinely classy restaurants. I'm sure most of us have had the disappointing experience of being charged an unjustifiable amount for a lacklustre meal, just because it was accompanied by river views. You certainly won't have that experience at Malt – and not only because it has no river views.
From outside, Malt Bar & Dining is a quiet, unassuming doorway in an old brick building on Market Street, just up the road from Eagle Street Pier. Go through that door, up the stairs to Malt's restaurant floor and you'll find yourself in one of Brisbane's coolest attics. The pointed ceiling, criss-crossed by wooden beams, sits atop walls of brickwork, while a brick archway neatly splits the dining area. On your way to the tables, you pass a small bar on the left (the main bar is downstairs) and a grand piano on the right, which from Wednesday to Saturday is put to good use by Malt's jazz and classical pianists. Personally, I could sustain myself on the atmosphere alone, but the food is even better.
The entrées are mostly seafood, including King Prawns with Chorizo Aioli and delicious Malt Oysters Kilpatrick. Luckily for those less interested in seafood, the mains are more balanced, with the highlight being the Roast Wagyu Sirloin & Beef Cheek Pastie. There is also a range of vegetarian options, including Forest Mushroom Risotto. Except for the vegetarian meals, the mains are priced between $30 and $45, which is certainly not cheap, but definitely worth it. The staff are all friendly, charming and very helpful. They seem to have tried everything on the menu – how I envy them.
Overall, what stands out about Malt is that it's classy without being intimidating, superior without being snobbish. The food isn't prepared by anyone from MasterChef and you're not likely to be sitting near any celebrities, but you will find some of the finest quality meals and best service in Brisbane. In fact, I think I'll apply to be a waiter there now.
Malt is open from 5:30pm to midnight on Saturday and from 11:30am to midnight Monday to Friday.