Co-owner Cam O’Brien and his team have converted a run-down store in a heritage-listed Brisbane building into a little piece of Rome
“The space at the Moreton Rubber building—right across the road from the Gabba—had been used as an antiques and restoration store, and was in pretty bad shape when we [Cam with co-owners Dan Clark and Emmanuel Sakellarakis] first took possession in early 2008. There was a massive amount of work just getting the interior prepped and safe before we could even start the fit-out.
“Some of the original features suited our vision perfectly, which was to open a traditional Roman-style enoteca. The brick walls had a wonderful textured feel that added a real gravitas to the room. We also kept some of the original lead lighting as it seemed to fit the space so perfectly.
“Everything else in the restaurant is new. The floorboards were in pretty bad shape, so we replaced some sections. I used the plans that the architects [of Ryder Hampton design company] had drawn up as a starting point. The fit-out was deliberately restrained so as to keep it simple and allow the bones of the building to shine. It took about five months until we opened our doors in September 2008.
“The high ceilings give a real sense of space while the walls are adorned with mirrors and vintage posters. Down one side of the room is a series of booths consisting of dark timber tables and seats. The backrests of the benches are clad in a red textured fabric that adds a vibrant splash of colour.
“The other side of the room has a dark brown marble bar running along its length. A traditional enoteca would usually consist of just a bar with a limited amount of seating. It’s a place to have a glass of vino, a bite to eat and the option to purchase wine to take away. We have taken that concept and modernised it by incorporating a full restaurant as well as a boutique wine store. The store is really popular. Our customers appreciate the opportunity to purchase wines they have discovered in the restaurant. It’s also possible to dine in the wine store. There’s two walls of shelving, so the tables are in the middle of the room.
“At the restaurant, there’s also a small but popular outdoor dining area. We have a cellar downstairs that doubles as a function room. It can seat up to 32 guests around a long table. It’s a dark and atmospheric room—
almost like being in the catacombs with its bare stone walls.
“The entire fit-out was from scratch. We designed it so it works functionally for all staff. We’ve kept the restaurant uncluttered and simple so it’s easy for waitstaff to move through the space, and there has been a bit of tweaking over the past three years to make it work perfectly. We didn’t want anything too fussy filling the room. Under one roof we have incorporated a restaurant, wine bar, store and cellar. Our interior is warm with Italian sophistication.”
Morton Rubber Building
10-12 Logan Rd
T: (07) 3392 4315