Les Bubbles is the happening steakhouse brasserie reincarnation of one of the Fitzgerald enquiry’s most notorious Fortitude Valley venues, Bubbles Bath House.
The former brothel/casino has been transformed by Brisbane hospitality supremo Damien Griffiths into one of Brisbane’s must visit places, a buzzy high-ceilinged dining room featuring curved red leather booths, dominated by a kitchen bar along one side and overlooked by a whole wall of portraits of the gang behind it all: Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Minister for Everything Russ Hinze, and disgraced Police Commissioner Terry Lewis amongst the stars, and celebrities (think David Bowie and Gene Simmons) who graced Brisbane in that period.
Tongue-in-cheek touches add to the atmosphere - the exposed brick wall behind the bar has a flashing pink neon sign reminding patrons that this is no longer a brothel, waitresses are scantily clad as French maids and a framed portrait of Damien Griffiths in chef’s hat overlooks the door on exit, framed by the sign Thank You for Coming. And music piped through the brasserie is a fitting throwback to the 70s-80s, setting the scene with disco, West Coast and Glam Rock and the like.
Meantime a set of stairs to one side leads downstairs to the tiled Bubbles Bathhouse Bar (where the main action used to happen), complete with mirror ball, spa and the motto, ‘Anything Goes’.
Back upstairs in steakhouse territory, the menu solely consists of Green Salad entrée and house bread, main of Steak (Grass-fed, free range premium beef, no less) and a bottomless serve of Frites with choice of retro sauce (Café de Paris, Bearnaise or Green Peppercorn and Cognac) and a bottomless serve of Frites. Meanwhile a handful of desserts paying tribute to the era include Bombe Alaska, Crème Caramel, Chocolate Mousse or Raspberry or Chocolate Souffle.
Food is served on gold rimmed plates embossed with the Les Bubbles insignia and wine in Les Bubbles glasses. As well as carafes of house wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Grenache) diners can choose from a succinct menu of Vin Blanc, Rose or Rouge as well as a more generous serve of Bubbles, including Veuve Cliquot and Dom Perignon.
Beers on tap include James Squire Orchard Crush, 150 Lashes Pale Ale and Heineken, while must try cocktails are aptly named Hush Money, Calm Before the Storm and Cheeky French Maid.
Need to know – The steakhouse brasserie part of the building was infamously described in parliament by Police minister Russ Hinze as the ‘Casino that Didn’t Exist’, while downstairs was the famous massage parlour/bath-house, both of which constituted the HQ of Geraldo Bellino’s many enterprises.
142 Wickham St