Brisbane's fine-dining scene will be minus a star in 2017. David Pugh, one of Queensland's best known chef-restaurateurs, calls last drinks at Restaurant Two on Christmas Eve.
"We're not going out on top, but we are going out on our own terms," says Pugh. "We have never wavered in our dedication to excellence, and I want to leave on a note where the restaurant is still something that my family and I can look back on fondly and can be proud of."
Pugh turns 60 next year and says it was time to take stock and decide if he wanted to do another five years of six-day weeks toiling in the kitchen. A veteran of the Brisbane scene, having traded at Two for 18 years, he says business in the CBD has been choppy since the 2011 Brisbane floods.
"I see the future as good, but turbulent," he says. "This year we've had days where we've had the biggest number of bookings ever - and others with hardly any at all. The industry is definitely feeling the pinch."
Bookings for weddings and functions at Restaurant Two have been transferred to alternate venues. Pugh is already doing some food consultancy and looking forward to spending more time with his wife and family.
He's optimistic Restaurant Two, which has been quietly on the market since January 2015, will finally find a buyer in the coming weeks.
"I have a gut feeling someone will buy it. Once you say you're moving out it helps them make a decision quicker," he says. A couple of interstate buyers have made overtures.
Restaurant Two will trade until Christmas Eve.
Restaurant Two, 2 Edward St, Brisbane City, QLD,(07) 3210 0600, restaurant2.com.au.