The old saying ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’ certainly applies to the newly refurbished Mercure Restaurant and Bar at North Quay. While the hotel’s exterior is nothing special, inside you will find one of the best value hotel restaurants in Brisbane. I did my high school work experience at the Mercure Brisbane in the 80s, back when it was one of the best places to stay in town. Walking into the newly refurbished restaurant, I am reminded of those heady days once again. Sure, the vibe is more casual now and those classic 80s dishes such as chicken kiev are long gone, but the new restaurant has a strut that is worthy of Madonna. As any aging diva will tell you, it’s amazing what ‘a little work’ can do for a girl’s confidence.
The interior of the restaurant is now bright and colourful and both the restaurant and bar areas have been opened up to take advantage of the river views. If you are looking for an affordable spot to watch RiverFire, this restaurant is ideal, especially if you treat yourself to a room upstairs so there is no need to drive home. I was impressed with the overhauled menu which now a completely new look: Small Bites, Big Bites, A Bit on the Side and Dessert. I sampled a number of items from the Small Bites menu during my visit.
My favourite was the brushcetta which was almost a meal in itself. I would have liked a little more heat in the san choi bao filling but understand that other diners might not share my enthusiasm for chilli. One of the keen young staff would have undoubtedly rushed off to fetch a side dish of the hot stuff if I had asked. Most Small Bites are priced between $9.50 and $12.50. Big Bites range from $18.50 to $28.50 for rack of lamb which must surely be one of the cheapest meals of its kind in town. Desserts such as white and dark chocolate baci pyramid with Persian fairy floss are equally tempting at just $12 each. As Molly Meldrum was fond of saying, ‘Do yourself a favour’ and drop in for a meal.
Disclosure: The writer paid for her meal at the Mercure Restaurant and Bar.
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