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Les Bubbles, Brisbane

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Les Bubbles, Brisbane.

Red leather booths, black and white tiles underfoot, Laguiole knives and monogrammed plates on the brass-trimmed tables - so Frenchy, so chic, so far. But Damian Griffiths' new Brisbane offering not only nails the Paris steakhouse aesthetic, it adds a quirky local edge. A glance around this former massage parlour - a pivotal site in an inquiry into police corruption in the 1980s - reveals the venture is as much about having a laugh as it is about Gallic fare. Red neon above the bar informs diners the space is no longer operating as a brothel, while tongue-in-cheek oils include portraits of former Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, jailed former police commissioner Terry Lewis, and one of Griffiths as Escoffier. If that doesn't put you off your dinner, choosing is easy. There are no entrées and just one main course, a nicely charry, juicy grass-fed entrecôte with a bottomless serve of frites and your pick from a trio of (rather clunky) retro sauces: Café de Paris, green peppercorn and Cognac, or Béarnaise. Add a leaf salad with radish and walnut, baguettes and French butter and it's a stonking deal at $29.90. The reasonably priced wine list sidesteps the mundane, with a sprinkling of French offerings plus bottles from Little Wick, Griffths' new urban winery.

Les Bubbles, 144 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3251 6555

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