Verve Restaurant And Cider House
Verve Restaurant and Cider House, a lively New York-style basement bar and restaurant is Brisbane’s very own Cheers bar. It also holds the mantle of being Brisbane’s very first underground bar and the city’s only dedicated cider house.
Since this review Verve Restaurant has moved to a new home on Level 1 of Hotel Orient in the Brisbane CBD and awaits a new write-up.
Since last century theatre folk, students, musicians and the odd rock star have taken refuge downstairs in the ambient brick cellar with walls papered with arts posters and made it their home away from home. Here Brisbane songstress Katie Noonan has sung her bar order, the bass guitarist from Guns’n’Roses popped in for a duck salad and countless friendships have been forged at the bar. For Verve Café and Cider Bar is the kind of old skool unselfconsciously-cool-without-even-trying venue that they’re not making any more, which is why it has endured throughout the years while other neighbourhood venues have come and gone.
Aside from the warm friendly atmosphere (owner Shane greets regular customers by name and others like long lost friends as they walk through the door) Verve is about the only place in Brisbane’s CBD where you can get a real home-cooked meal from the Italian kitchen. Lunch or dinner here is a treat, like going to someone’s Mediterranean Mum’s place who is a great cook.
Thin-crust pizzas come with generous toppings, while pasta – think Pescatore, Pork Belly, Meat Balls or Scallop Linguine, Brandy Tortellini, Lasagne or Goat’s Cheese and Chicken Gnocchi – is delicious and will leave you plenty of change from $25; so will the Risotto, which comes in flavours like Vodka and Artichoke, Eggplant and Olive, Sandcrab and Snapper and the must-try signature dish – Pork Belly Risotto.
Otherwise there’s great and hearty daily specials on offer, such as Pan-Seared Snapper or Pork and Fennel Sausages. Meanwhile the salads – with toppings like stuffed mushrooms, calamari and salmon cakes - are a meal in their own right and add-on extras for any meal include potato and parmesan mash Baby Beer chips and vegetables.
There’s no obligation to eat a meal here – Verve is all about accommodating everyone, so punters are welcome to pop in and spend the evening at the bar or just order a drink and a tasty starter such as Bruschetta, Croquettes of the Day, Chilli Cheese or Garlic pan or Trip of Dips.
And if in a group of 8 or more heading upstairs to the theatre or needing to be somewhere in a hurry, an express banquet of Entrees and two Mains is available for just $29.90pp*
The bar, found tucked away down the far end, has a bit of an English pub vibe with its low ceilings and beams, and is where groups of strangers become friends by the end of the night. On offer here are Australia’s largest selection of ciders under one roof, on tap and bottled with ever-changing specials, as well as boutique beers and a select wine list.
Need to know - For those who need an introduction to the world of cider, there’s the option of a 4 cider tasting (which on Thursday night is complimentary with the purchase of a meal) and Verve also offers Cider Flight Dinners where ciders are matched with the menu. Bookings are recommended.
Nice to know - Takeaway orders are also available.
Verve Restaurant Bar
560 Queen St