Grasshopper Kitchen is injecting much life into the retail strip on Vernon Terrace. The interior space utilises the building’s history as a wool store with its part distressed walls, made it part quirky with hessian bag lamp coverings and thrown in a bit of chic with a sleek fitout. This fusion of many design elements extend into the East-meets-West menu.
Grasshopper was the venue for the second Brisbane’s food bloggers’ dinner organised by Gastronomy Gal and Melanger Baking, and what an enjoyable night it was. Todd Rumble, proprietor of the wine bar, Claret House played host and gave an informative and entertaining wine commentary on the night. Six interesting wines were matched with six courses. Australian wines from the Tamar Valley, Margaret River and Orange were featured, Argentinian and French made the rest of the tasting. The six courses were a tasting menu for their autumn set so we all got a taste preview.
Japanese scallop with duck ma hor, prosciutto with daikon and wasabi puree
Dishes were presented delicately and beautifully – highlights being the slow braised beef cheek in a Vietnamese-style stock with a chilli polenta cake and baby vegetables. The cheek was rich and gelatinous, its flesh melting away from our forks. The scallops presented with sliver of prosciutto and a version of a Thai-style duck ma hor (or also known as galloping horse) was another highlight. The scallop was plump and sweet contrasting nicely with the salty prosciutto; the minced duck with peanuts was spicy and sweet at the same time with I think, minced pineapple on top. The daikon and wasabi puree tasted deceptively like cauliflower – it was very good with a bit of kick.
Beef cheek slow braised for six hours in Vietnamese-style aromatic stock with coriander chilli polenta cake and baby turnip & carrot
Having had a degustation menu here, it will be interesting to see what their normal a la carte menu is like. We didn’t just indulgently enjoy ourselves, the proceeds of our dinner went to Sydney’s Red Lantern restaurateur, Luke Nguyen and Suzanna Boyd’s Little Lantern Foundation, a non profit project for disadvantaged and underprivileged Vietnamese. Grasshopper’s talented head chef Minh Le shares a very similar refugee story to Luke Nguyen, arriving in Australia in 1979. The people who call for an end to accepting boat people should remember that refugees and migrants who come to Australia deserve a chance. Imagine an Australia without Cheong Liew, Frank Camorra, Tetsuya Wakuda, Kylie Kwong, Luke Nguyen, Janni Kyritsis, or George Calombaris (heaven forbid!). What a poor culinary abyss we’d be without them.
Claret House, by the way, is conveniently located next door to Grasshopper if you decide you want to amble along and have a taste of some niche wines.