Ortiga Brisbane

Stephanie Madison stops by for a bite at one of Brisbane's newest restaurants with restaurateur Simon Hill at the helm and design by Donovan Hill Architects

02 Sep 2010

After 12 years
at the helm of Brisbane’s award winning Isis Brasserie in Fortitude Valley
acclaimed restaurateur Simon Hill last year turned his attentions to
resurrecting the site and launching his latest offering, the Spanish-influenced
Ortiga.

Opening in December last year Ortiga, which is set in a heritage-listed
1908 building in Brunswick street on the cusp of the Fortitude Valley dining
and entertainment precinct, owes its design to Brisbane’s Donovan Hill
Architects
headed by Timothy Hill, Greg Lamb and Michael Hogg.

Since its metamorphosis the space has been relegated to an interweaving
of historical traits such as character-laden bare brick walls and heavy, rustic
timber beams with contemporary elements and international flavours including
dolomite tables and embroidered curtain styling reminiscent of Spanish and
Portugese domesticity.

 

Photography: Jon Linkins

 

 

Photography: Jon Linkins

 

It was owner Simon Hill’s vision to create an informal, rustic tapas bar
setting on a upper level while dedicating the ground floor to a fine dining
experience minus the pretension and “starch”.

 “All of the things I love
about fine dining – stem ware, linen, service – does not have to mean a stuffy
experience where the only sound you hear is the clinking of cutlery and other
people’s hushed conversations,” Hill says.

Donovan Hill project designer Greg Lamb says it is this differentiation
between the upstairs bar and lower level that was core to the conceptual
process while colour was factored in to achieve the distinction.

“Colours in the bar are light and extroverted. Moving downstairs the
role of the patron changes from participant to audience, the darkness of the
restaurant floors and walls recede to below white table cloths and the cacophony
of the kitchen,” Lamb says.

“Particular attention has been given to the experiential journey of the
patron, rather than focussing on feature elements. Materials, furniture and
light fittings have been selected from a simple palette which, when combined,
create an effect which is not too ‘designer’ yet inviting, lively and
appropriate for its locale.”

 

Photography: Jon Linkins


 

The venue’s lower level accommodates a trio of spaces with a compact
front bar, casual tables for smaller groups and raised platform for larger groups
or private functions and a workable interrelationship between the open kitchen
and dining zone.

“The approachability of the tables coupled with the illuminated brick
wall behind the kitchen amplifies the dramatic effect of a dining area and kitchen
in such close proximity,” Lamb says.

Ortiga retails its own small goods range and has already won acclaim
with Australian Gourmet Traveller
magazine recently awarding it the Wine List of the Year Award – Queensland,
giving it a 2-star rating and naming it Australia’s best new restaurant and
number 1 among Brisbane’s top 10 eating spots.

Following his tutelage at quality establishments across the globe from
London to Barcelona, Ortiga chef Pablo Tordesillas infuses the menu with his
love of traditional Spanish fare and international accents.

 

All photographs by Jon Linkins jonlinkins.com

 

Ortiga

Open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday. Group bookings for lunch by
appointment only.
Bar open from 4pm; restaurant from 6pm.

+61 7 3852 1155
446 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
ortiga.com.au

 

Donovan Hill Architects
+61 7 3831 3255
112 Bowen Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane.
donovanhill.com.au