Tess Rigby moved from her country town in Western Australia to West End in July 2016 to fulfil a 12-year dream of opening a bar and restaurant.
Duo, situated at 2/27 Browning Street, Duo, situated at 2/27 Browning Street, has a petite courtyard lined with fairy lights leading to a black and white mini Queenslander. As its name suggests, opposite elements are at play; it’s where country meets city, rustic meets modern and indoors meets outdoors. The establishment is defined by its dark interior, where black walls are contrasted by honey timber floorboards with white chairs finishing the ensemble. Hexagonal frames encase green plants interspersed along the feature wall. The large bright painting at the rear of the restaurant is an interpretation of the Brisbane River, with a huge blossoming tree in the foreground. Its dusty pink leaves catch the light of the glowing bulbs hanging from the chic ceiling scaffold.
Duo offers all-day breakfast, lunch, tapas and an assortment of cakes and drinks. Tess describes her menu as earthy and welcoming. “There’s something for everyone. It’s good, honest food. Your classics done right with enhanced and balanced flavours.”
One exception where DUO departs from the classics and enters into unexplored territory is with its signature French Toast Burger. This glorious meal brings sweet and salty together on the palate with the base built from halloumi, bacon and berry compote, brought to a finish by a sweetly grilled maple syrup and cinnamon sugar bun.
Living in a small rural town with an abundance of fresh produce inspired Rigby to source food as locally as possible. All fruit and vegetables come from the Brisbane markets and coffee is supplied by Bear Bones Espresso with beans roasted in Fortitude Valley.
Starting in hospitality at 17, Rigby has been in the industry for more than a decade. “If you open up and you’re really big, it’s hard to get to know your customers. I wanted to work from the ground up. I love getting to know my regulars. When I see someone walk up, I start making their order before they get through the door. That’s why it’s good to start small.”
Good old country customer service is important to Rigby. “I go above and beyond to ensure that everybody leaves having benefitted from being here.”
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