483 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
As a major forward planner, I'm ashamed to admit I made a huge mistake in choosing a date to escape to Cairns. The long weekend at the end of September seemed ideal so I made the flight and accomodation bookings only to then realize OMG I was missing Kat's birthday. Crapola. Lousy best friend of the year award goes to me.
In a scramble to make ammends, I offered to take her out the weekend beforehand on a night of food, drink and dancing. After all, the Chinese like to celebrate birthdays in advance. Poor excuse, I know but I did what I could.
We ended up having a blast of a night. Starting with dinner and cocktails at Lady Lamington. Ending with multiple clubs (rediculous amount spent on cumulative cover charge), bad music and joy.
I found out about Lady Lamington on Urbanspoon almost through its notoriety. It was listed on the Talk of the Town list for ages but the ratings were constantly around the 50% mark. As far as reviews go, that can hardly be considered good. They were being heavily discussed but it seemed that the discussion was predominantly negative. Still, I was intrigued.
I was walking along Brunswick Street with Marc on our way to Anise one night when we noticed this cool rooftop cocktail lounge next to an old church building. When I later discovered that was Lady Lamington, I thought heck, I want to see what all the fuss (good or bad) was about. Besides, most of the reviews were about their breakfast offerings and I wanted to go at night. That's an entirely different kettle of fish. Worth the risk, perhaps?
I tried to make a booking, only to be told they don't accept bookings of less than 10 people. I stressed that it was for my best friend's birthday and was directed to e-mail the functions coordinator who happily accomodated us. It turns out that a booking wasn't necessary at all because they were rather quiet the whole time we were there.
I'd read that the decor and styling at Lady Lamington is top notch and I wasn't disappointed. We stayed mostly in the downstairs bar area but also briefly checked out the rooftop. Both spaces have undeniable charm. The roof was a bit chilly that night but during the warmer months, I can see this being a very relaxed location for early evening drinks.
The bar space itself was like something out of an interior decorating magazine. It was gorgeous in a quirky Alice in Wonderland way and very, very feminine. I saw a group of 3 guys come in to order drinks and thought they looked completely out of place. They ended up heading to the rooftop.
Kat and I loved the atmosphere. As I mentioned, it was quiet but I like that earlier on in the night, especialy during dinner, because it allows us to chat without constantly yelling/repeating. There was a row of cute bar stools lining a window, which would have been great for street-watching.
For a cocktail lounge, there is a decent array of food available. We went with their 'Make your own selection' deal. There were 3 columns of food on the menu, going from small/entree-sized, to medium, to large. With the deal, you pay $32 and choose 1 from each column.
We went with the bruschetta, spring rolls and octopus. Once we saw that Lady Lamington had cocktail jugs, we HAD to order one of those too.
Jug of Lady Paradise - with white rum, watermelon syrup, lychee, watermelon, pineapple juice and lemonade
I went up to order at the bar and the girl, who seemed new, had trouble typing everything in. Once it was completed, the EFTPOS machine stopped working so we went to a different counter. All cool. After a bit of a wait, the maitre d' came over to express sympathy that we hadn't received our drinks yet, apologized on behalf of the barstaff and went to chase them up.
Cheers to my gorgeous Kat!
We got our cocktail jug not long after that. It was the Lady Paradise and had a strong midori flavor even though there's no mention of midori in the mix. It might be the chunks of real melon alluding to that. In any case, it was nice and refreshing and dangerously easy to drink.
As our food started arriving, we got chatting with the maitre d'. I'd picked her as the owner of the place (nicknaming her Lady Lamington in my head) but it turns out she was just filling in for her friend, who was the actual owner. I think her friend is really lucky to have her! She made our whole experience all the more enjoyable because she was so personable and chatty without crossing the line of being overbearing or annoying. Props to her.
Lady Lamington octopus - freemantle octopus, chorizo, almond and artichoke
The octopus came first. It was cooked well in that it wasn't rubbery or chewy at all. The serving size was small though. I had expected larger since it came from the third colum. The chorizo and artichoke were good accompaniments. Kat mentioned that she didn't normally like artichoke but liked it here.
Vegetarian spring rolls - with plum sauce
Our spring rolls were piping hot when they got to us. I burnt my mouth yet persisted because freshly deep-fried food is impossible to wait for. Kat liked this dish best. I thought they were good but nothing special. They were good in the way that they could have been generic supermarket spring rolls but cooked well.
Bruschetta - with buffalo mozarella and tomato and basil salsa
The bruschetta was of the top-it-yourself variety. Kat liked that we had control over how much of the mozarella or salsa we wanted on our bread.
Bite shot of topped bruschetta
I thought the toppings were quite good but the bread wasn't crunchy enough. My idea of bruschetta is crunchy, not chewy. The toppings are already on the soft side so there needs to be some textural variety.
Lady Lamington is a lovely spot for drinks and catching up with girlfriends. The decor is fabulous and the rooftop bar is a must-visit over summer. I didn't think the food was as terrible as some other reviews made it out to be but I definitely think this place is better as a cocktail lounge. If you have high expectations for the food, you're going to be let down.