|'Fire of the Desert' - one of the dishes that will be on offer at Opal|
Highly acclaimed Brisbane chef Josue ‘Josh’ Lopez has unveiled the name and details of his first signature restaurant ahead of its much-anticipated opening in early August – Opal will be the restaurant at the new flagship Emporium Hotel South Bank, which is set to open on July 1, 2018.
Born in El Salvador and raised in Brisbane, Josh will lead a dedicated team in creating the menu and flavor proposition for the Opal restaurant, rooftop and piano bars, Belle Époque Patisserie, in-suite dining, and conferencing and events. The food is described as “modern Australian” and Opal’s offerings will fuse art with taste, celebrating native ingredients through innovative cooking and making use of local, seasonal, and indigenous ingredients.
|Executive Chef of Opal, Josue 'Josh' Lopez|
It was Josh’s artistic approach to food that saw him lead the GOMA Restaurant to become a prestigious two-hat award-winner in his recently-concluded five-year tenure as their Executive Chef. Prior to that, Josh worked as head chef at the iconic Brisbane restaurants Moda and Two Small Rooms, and in 2011 spent three months working under René Redzepi at Copenhagen’s noma, which has repeatedly been named the best restaurant in the world.
Opal will cater for lunches of business and leisure, with express degustation and full dining experiences, as well as being open for dinner on select nights of the week and available for exclusive bookings.
|The 'Father and Son' dish designed by Josh Lopez|
Lopez said that deciding on a name for the restaurant was a collaborative process with the founders and owners of the Emporium Hotel, Tony and Francine John, who also guided the Emporium Hotel in Fortitude Valley to be Australia’s most awarded boutique luxury hotel.
“We really wanted a name that portrays the beauty and richness of our country and, after many ideas were tabled, we decided the name of our national gemstone offered the preciousness and uniqueness we were searching for,” Lopez said. He added that the multifaceted and uniqueness of opals were properties he hopes to provide in the dining experience.
|Minnjeribah dish will celebrate the ecology of the Moreton Bay region|
Anthony John Group Managing Director and Emporium Hotels founder Tony John said that the restaurant’s focus would be on providing a contemporary and innovative dining experience that combines Josh’s original, celebrated cuisine with Emporium Hotel’s exceptional service. Dish previews include: seafood-centric Minnjeribah, focusing on the Moreton Bay ecology; the ‘Fire of the Desert’, a physical interpretation of opals; and a beef dish, ‘Father and Son’, that will “bring together two unique elements of age and plate them in two differing styles to enhance both”.
South Bank has a lot to look forward to!