Laughter reverberates off the exposed bricks, weaving with the clinks of silverware, softly muffling the sounds of the busy kitchen at Nota. Anticipation dances on the faces of diners as they soak up the atmosphere and await their first experience of Nota, which has opened in the premises previously occupied by Montrachet. “It’s kind of surreal,” says co-owner/operator of the Paddington eatery, Kevin Docherty. “There has been so much paperwork and so many stressful, sleepless nights, but we are finally here,” he beams.
In early March, Brisbane restaurateurs Sebastiaan de Kort and Kevin Docherty opened the doors to their new establishment promising an honest approach to fine dining. “Our philosophy is we want to have something that is of quality, that is approachable and affordable,” said de Kort.
Nota, meaning familiar, is exactly that. From the moment they set foot in the door, guests are welcomed with sincerity and warmth. With 20 years experience between them, de Kort and Docherty are determined to make their guests feel right at home. “I always used to help mum cook,” recalls Docherty. After being offered work experience at E’cco Bistro, Docherty discovered his passion for food and he swapped the classroom for the kitchen. De Kort remembers a similar start in the industry. There is a palpable passion in the pair’s approach to ensuring sublime dining for their guests, assisted by experience and expertise.
Looking over the menu, we decided on the feast — the chefs selection for the table. The buzz of the kitchen murmurs away in the distance as the sound of cocktail shakers and warmth of conversation fills the room. “I start to yell and scream and clap and cheer everyone on. It’s great, it’s really fun,” says de Kort of the vibrant atmosphere in his establishment.
It is only moments before we are introduced to our first range of taste sensations. Puffed rice crisps topped with smoked sesame cheese and semi-dried tomato, tempura fish sandwich and warm house baked bread, to tie it all together. One course in and we are salivating at the thought of the next. “That’s how food should be,” said Docherty. “You eat it and then you want it more.” That is exactly what happened for us.
The second course arrives treating us with white fish, broccolini with toasted almonds and a hearty warm lamb salad. Mastering the art of using kale for something other than a green smoothie, the lamb salad boasts flavour and simplicity. The sourcing of produce is something Nota aims to keep ever evolving, with the exception and notable mention of Brisbane Valley Quail. “He delivers fresh every week and it is just the most phenomenal product,” says de Kort. As a finale, we are treated to a warm house crumble topped with vanilla Anglaise abundantly satiating the space saved for dessert.
With every dish teeming with flavour, Docherty and de Kort are certainly keeping it real in their approach to fine dining. A Nota experience is one that, as the name suggests, entices you to come back for more.
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