Philip Johnson, one of Australia’s most celebrated chefs and the owner of e’cco bistro, shares his favourite things to do in Brisbane.

Archerfield speed karts

Those that really know me know I’m a bit of a rev head and I love anything to do with cars or fast moving vehicles. From time to time, I make my way over to Archerfield speed karts. In my younger years, I used to compete in kart racing at a state level and was quite good at it, in fact. These days, it’s more of a social outing for me.

Alto at Brisbane Powerhouse

A restaurant that has stood the test of time and quality. It is without a doubt my favourite place to eat at. It’s close to the river, has a great vibe and perfect for pre or after show dinner. The food is absolutely fantastic. It’s contemporary Italian and has been very consistent with the standard of dishes and it’s also good value for money. I’d have to say it is one of the most underrated Italian restaurants in town. Sajith Vengateri, the head chef at Alto, has worked in five-star hotels and resorts throughout his career and has always cooked Italian food, which is why it’s just so good. I would highly recommend the pork spare ribs with slaw and hand cut chips!

The Bowery Bar

We’re becoming more and more spoilt in Brisbane these days with exciting new venues popping up, but one of the classics that my partner and I love is the Bowery Bar. It’s the kind of bar you could sit at for hours with friends or on a date… or even on your own! Conversation flows as easily as the cocktails here. The Bowery is really comfortable in its own skin. It’s individual. The cocktail list is full of classics as well as a few signature cocktails of their own. It definitely is a bonus that it’s in a bustling part of the Valley, which makes bar hopping easy; sometimes a bit too easy!

Slaughter Falls at Mt Coot-tha

It’s a 30 minute hike up the mountain, but don’t let the name scare you — the views are stunning! It’s a great day out for the family and also has a walking track for the little ones. You can check out the lagoon, the Aboriginal art trail or go for a picnic in the grounds. Once you reach the top, you get an amazing view of Brisbane across the city and into the suburbs and you can even see how the Brisbane River winds through the city and the outskirts. It’s a great lesson in Brisbane geography and a good bit of exercise.


GOMA has always been one of those places that excite me. They are always at the forefront of exhibitions which I think is great for Brisbane. They host some really fun up-late events. The restaurant there is also fantastic and it’s got a good vibe. Architecturally, I love the place. It’s beautifully designed and very modern. After a visit to GOMA, I like to wander down to Southbank where there’s an array of food options, music and markets. We’ll usually finish up with a sunset cocktail at Stokehouse with views of the Brisbane River.

e’cco bistro, which just launched a new menu, is located at 100 Boundary St, Brisbane.

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