Goldfish is something of a forgotten Brisbane icon. The hotel bar at the Crest International – now the Pullman Hotel – it was a 1970s go-to for visiting celebrities and dignitaries. In later years it became another of the city’s hotspots for “moonlight state” wheeling and dealing (there was supposedly even an underground tunnel linking the Brisbane City Council chambers with the bar).

Those infamously crooked times are long gone and so is Goldfish, but the Pullman is tapping into Brisbane’s new-found love for its own modern history with the similarly named Goldfinch, set to open on Boxing Day. Hotel managing director Michael Daviss calls it Pullman’s Christmas present to locals.

“We want to invite Brisbane back into the venue to create some more memories,” he says.

What they’ll find is something very different to the Crest’s house bar – or indeed Allure, which Goldfinch replaces. This time the venue has been opened up much like the wings of its namesake. The intention is for it to be an airy, light-filled oasis in the heart of the CBD.

“We are opposite King George Square. We’re in the heart of the city,” Daviss says. “We want it to be that meeting place where people say, ‘I’ll meet you at Goldfinch.’”

The design of the space aims for the fresh, airy palette of the Hamptons. Bi-fold doors and floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the outside world, while greenery hangs from the ceiling above.

The combined cafe and restaurant menus revolve around Mediterranean comfort food given a Pacific inflection. “It’s about encapsulating that home-cooked fresh and healthy food that you would normally aspire to eat,” Daviss says.

The cafe’s offering is relatively unfussy. It features vegan dark-chocolate quinoa bowls with banana, coconut and berries; cold-smoked salmon bagels; and eggs Benedict with organic granary loaf and wilted greens. Coffee comes from Brisbane-based roastery Elixir.

In the restaurant, lunch and dinner items are designed to be shared, either over a leisurely meal or a quick business meeting. There’s beef bresaola with rocket, parmesan, olive, anchovy and grissini; and the signature Fremantle long-leg octopus with chorizo, romesco, green olive and torched grapefruit.

For those looking to kick back and relax at the end of the day, French rosé will be served by the magnum.

Corner of Ann and Roma streets, inside the Pullman Hotel
(07) 3222 1128

Mon to Sun 6am–late
Mon to Fri 6am–late
Sat & Sun 6.30am–late