The Chameleon. Lurking in the urban jungle, undetected, unknown, blending into the ever changing landscape, sampling everything from fine dining to reviewing take away joints, this lizard loves food possibly a little bit too much.

Verve Restaurant Bar Cider House

Overall score: 90/100

Verve Restaurant Bar Cider House on Urbanspoon

Verve Restaurant Bar and Cider House has the unfortunate label of being the highest rated Brisbane CBD restaurant on urbanspoon and hence, expectations were very high for The Chameleon when a glimpse of a chance to dine presented itself one day.

The Verve is located a very short walk from Queen Street Mall and hence it's central CBD location means it's within easy reach of anyone visiting. Quite unlike many restaurants in Queensland, the Verve has the romantic 'down in the cellar' feel as you walk through the darkly lit staircase and descend into the pit. For The Chameleon, this was akin to coming home to his beloved holiday home in a hole, which instantly created a mood of warmth and security. The red theme which welcomes visitors creates just the right amount of dark mood, as the paint was neither too bright  nor too dark, you can tell someone put some thought and effort into this decor. 

The Chameleon was greeted by a very friendly hostess and was shown to an appropriate table; it was as if she read The Chameleon's mind to remain hidden and chose the table accordingly. 

To be honest, the atmosphere was quite good. A large group was also dining this evening and it filled the room with a fair amount of cheerful laughter and the clinking and clanking of cutlery. As much as all this jolly spirit added to the mood, at times, it also became a bit over bearing. The room 'echoed' and bellowed with the sounds, almost like some sort of out of tune orchestra practicing for the recital, but someone turned up the amps. This was only a minor niggly distraction however, and overall, the Chameleon could see one of his business dinners taking place here in the future. 

Verve excelled here. While the menu was extensive and offered plenty of variety, the waitress recommended the blue cheese risotto which, upon reaching the table, was presented simply but effectively. The ring of red sauce around the edge was a nice touch and the package in front of the Chameleon said "Go on now, dig in!" The multi-leveled flavours on the palate showed the craftsmanship of the dish, although The Chameleon did note that it was very salty overall. Luckily, the hostess also recommended a nice glass of dry wine which balanced out the saltiness, but The Chameleon  was somewhat disappointed. Salt, being a flavour enhancer, needs to be used sparingly in the kitchen, and then to taste by the diner; a meal should never present salty. Overall, bar the above, this risotto was exceptional. 

The overall price was very reasonable, in fact, tending on 'cheap food' level. The staff alone made the experience, tending to The Chameleon's needs and whims in a flash, with repeated visits to the table to see how the meal was, if he needed anything, and at one point, The Chameleon was thinking they may even ask him if he wanted a massage. This service was on par with the best he has received in Australia.  

The Verve Restaurant and Cider House is a very well executed dining experience, with a mood and ambiance that deserves a visit alone, augmented by outstanding service. The food was very very tasty, but the unfortunate over use of the salt detracted from the experience. Does it deserve the highest urbanspoon score for the Brisbane CBD? Yes, yes it does. 90/100 

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