Iris, Ghanem Group’s (Donna Chang, Boom Boom Room Izakaya, Blackbird) rooftop bar and 200-seat restaurant is situated atop Hotel X in the Valley. Sitting on the high side of the Brunswick Street Mall, a couple of blocks back from Howard Smith Wharves, its open-air outlook is one of a kind, the apartment blocks of the Valley giving way to the Story Bridge crossing in front of the stacked highrises of the CBD.
It’s eye-catching inside, also. Encompassing a restaurant space, private dining room and a pool area, Design studio Space Cubed has delivered a venue intended to capture the feel of the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Beirut. Stone and tiled walls, marble tables and rich fabrics give way to parquetry floors, olive trees and hanging wisteria.
For food, Ghanem Group exec chef Jake Nicolson and head chef Lloyd Evans have produced a mix of tapas, flatbreads and bigger share plates. You might start with cumin spiced fish tacos with cabbage and fennel slaw, or serrano jamon and manchego croquettes, before shifting on to grilled gem lettuce with dressed spanner crab and avocado mojo verde, spicy lamb and chorizo albondigas (meatballs) with coriander and mint yoghurt, and Wagyu pichana (rump cap) served with a chimichurri rojo.
For drinks, there’s a classic-leaning cocktail list, a sangria menu, and a tight 80-bottle wine list that mixes Australian drops with vino from Spain, France, Italy and Greece.