Sunday, 8 March 2009

Exchange Hotel

I used to eat lunch at the Exchange Hotel on a fairly regular basis, because I could get something relatively tasty for about $10-$15. Recently though the hotel has been closed while some fairly significant renovation work has been done.

I went back for lunch recently, to check out the renovations. The hotel certainly looks a lot better. It's much more modern looking, but thankfully some serious thought has gone into the renovations, unlike a lot of pub "modernisations" that have taken place around town. We sat in a dining area on the ground floor that was open to Charlotte street.

The menu is pretty compact, and certainly much shorter than it used to be. Under the heading Light Meals, you have options such as oysters ($18/6 or $33/dozen), an asparagus gruyere tart on a fig, rocket and Spanish onion salad ($15), salad of the house ($13), a steak sandwich ($15) or an oven baked Turkish bread with Italian meat, marinated "vege" and goat's cheese ($15).

Mains include fish and chips ($26 - grilled, crumbed or battered), sand crab omelette ($19), Tableland lamb on roast lemon potatoes with chorizo & saffron creme ($24) and a potato and sage pizza with pear, apple and blue cheese ($17). There are also a few steaks, if it's red meat you're after, ranging from $25 for the 200g petite eye to $36 for the 400g rib on the bone.

As it turned out, we all ordered the grilled fish and home made chips. The fish was very good. If I had to guess, I'd say it was snapper. It had been perfectly cooked, and was still lovely and tender. The chips were good too. However the fish and chips were also served with a little side salad, that I found very odd. It consisted of lettuce, tomato, olives and mandarin segments, amongst other things. I had one mouthful of mandarin and an olive, and it really wasn't a very enjoyable taste combination. It seemed to all of us to be a bit of a "lets throw whatever we've got in the kitchen" salad. As a result, all three of us enjoyed the great fish and chips, but left the side salad pretty much untouched.

If you're looking for something a bit less formal, there's also a tapas menu, which covers snacks like fried chorizo with marinated peppers ($12), Turkish bread with assorted dips ($14 - no mention of what the actual dips are) and fried olives ($12).

The Exchange Hotel now has a compact, but decent wine list. We ended up working our way through a few bottles of white wine over lunch. I was really impressed with the wine service. On both occasions the wine was served to us in a silver bucket, filled with ice and water. There was also good stemware, which is increasingly harder to find these days. Top marks for the wine service at the Exchange - someone has obviously put some serious effort into it.

After our enjoyable lunch, we headed up to the rooftop bar. Although it was a bit steamy up there, it was an interesting view of the city. It would be a great place to have a few drinks at night. There a few TV screens dotted around the bar, so you can keep in touch with any sport which might be happening at the time.

Based on the good lunch I had, the Exchange is a solid option for a quick CBD lunch. I'll certainly be heading back to try out a few more options from the menu. And if you're not there for lunch, order a few snacks from the tapas menu, head up to the rooftop bar and work your way through a couple of bottles of wine - it's the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon.

The Exchange Hotel
131 Edward Street
Brisbane 4000
P - 07 3229 3522
W -

1 comment:

food bling, Brisbane said...

I've been back here a few times since this post to taste a bit more off the menu. The sand crab omelette with Asian flavours & sticky crab jus ($19) is a tasty, lighter meal. But be warned, it comes with some fresh crab, so it can be a bit messy by the time you've cracked it all open.

The Tableland lamb on roast lemon potatoes with chorizo & saffron creme ($24) was excellent, and probably even better than the fish & chips. The lamb was medium rare and it was a big serving. It's one of the best pub meals I've had for ages.

Although I can't eat them, I've seen a few friends devour the steak sandwiches, which are great value at $15. They actually have proper, decent pieces of fillet steak on the sandwich, not the millimetre thin bits that normally end up on your run of the mill steak sandwiches.