By David Bentley

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Photographs By Justine Walpole
Chef Timmy Kemp is Brisbane’s fusion food legend. Asked to describe her food in a few words, I’d call it classic European enhanced by Asian herbs. Balance is the key. Her food is sometimes hot, always refreshing, and never boring. From the early 1980s, Timmy led Brisbane’s fusion food revolution.

Thai-born, but French-trained, she has toiled in the kitchens of Baguette, Cha Cha Char and Harveys. But she has presided over her own establishment since 2004. The location of Timmy’s Restaurant, beside the South Bank Parklands’ duck pond, is tranquillity itself. The bistro-style table settings are simple and classy with quality cutlery and crisp table linen.

After a few years, Timmy’s place at South Bank exudes a reassuring sense of permanency – as does the park itself, with surrounding plantings green and luxuriant after recent rains.

Surveying the lunch menu, my wife and I found ourselves at odds over who would order the entree of scallops and salmon mille feuille with leek and horseradish cream ($17). By some miracle, I prevailed. The scallops blended harmoniously with the salmon. Beneath the seafood lay a cool, summery salad spiced with Asian herbs, and on top was a tasty sliver of pastry. My wife opted for teriyaki beef wrapped around asparagus and served with wakami, black beans and mirin ($17).

Paperthin slices of tender beef were wrapped, nori-style, around asparagus shoots and enhanced by Japanese accompaniments. Neither of us was disappointed. For main courses, we chose light meals (all $25). My wife’s sticky barbecue pork with seared scallops and green mango salad blended tastes and textures that went from sticky to crunchy, sweet to salty and cool to hot.

My warm duck salad with shallot pancake and soy chilli lime dressing delivered a Mardi Gras of exuberant fl avours. Mains include fi let mignon ($35) and lamb shanks ($33); sides include steamed rice ($2) and steamed greens ($9).

To finish, my wife ordered an affogato ($12.50), served as separate components, permitting her to separately savour the ice cream, espresso and Frangelico. It was, she opined, delicious. I had a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream with chocolate sauce and almond biscotti ($5), a simple yet pleasing dessert. Other tempters included baked coconut custard with mango cheek and black sticky rice ($12.50).

The wine list comprises mainly Australian entries, starting at $36 for an ’07 Capel Vale verdelho. The most expensive option is a bottle of NV Louis Roederer champagne ($120). Wines by the glass range from $7 to $13.50. Over all, Timmy’s is a relaxed, well positioned bistro, operated by one of Brisbane’s most respected chefs.