I love going to the Powerhouse, whether it is to buy fresh food at the Jan Power Markets on a Saturday, having a drink by the river, listening to live music or watching the many shows they have on offer. This weekend I added another great activity at the Powerhouse – dinner at Bar Alto.
We had tickets to watch Eddie Perfect’s show at 8.30 on Friday night so thought that dinner might be in order (clearly no one was going to cook between work and the start of the show!). So we headed to Bar Alto at around 6.30.
As it was quite early, we got seated straight away and promptly passed on menus, water and asked when our show started – at which point we said 8.30, clearly in good time to have a comfortable meal. The staff must have not calculated the time we had available properly as the meal was way too rushed for my liking. I am all for good service, however, with mains over $30, I would have liked to enjoy the whole experience for a little longer than half an hour and therefore had to make an effort to stretch the meal to an hour.
Service aside, the menu offers a varied Italian choice from pastas to meat based options such as pork belly, braised beef cheeks and rabbit. I settled for the papardelle with goat ragu which is apparently one of their signature dishes whilst my dining companion had the agnioletti (ravioli).
The size of the papardelle (pictured) was quite generous (I was struggling to finish the plate), with some good chunks of goat meat and al dente pasta (many restaurants serve soggy pasta so I was glad that this dish was cooked properly). However, there was way too much sauce on the plate, to the extent that I could have mopped it up with a piece of bread.
The ravioli were stuffed with braised oxtail and served in a wild mushroom and chestnut broth. The ravioli were well sized (not the tiny ones), tasty and again, cooked properly, however the plate could have done with a couple more. For dessert we settled on sharing a Sfogliatelle Napoletane, which was a small flaky pastry containing ricotta and served with orange ice cream. Overall good, but I couldn’t help thinking that we made the wrong choice as some of the alternatives sounded better. Learning for next time.
The staff can make or break the experience one has in any restaurant. Pleasant staff can easily make up for average food but rarely the other way around.
Overall my feeling of Bar Alto is quite mixed. The cost of the main is quite high (considering it was only a plate of pasta) and service far from ideal. However, the ambiance and unique venue, particularly the river views, if you are lucky enough to sit outside, balance it off.
Brisbane Powerhouse, 119 Lamington St, New Farm