The wait is nearly over – highly-acclaimed Brisbane chef Josue ‘Josh’ Lopez has unveiled Opal as his signature restaurant at Emporium Hotel at South Bank.

Officially opening in early August, the modern Australian menu will celebrate native Australian ingredients. Lopez – who’s worked at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London and staged at the world-famous Noma in Copenhagen – will utilise similar innovative cooking methods that saw him lead GOMA Restaurant to a prestigious award of two-hats.

With a focus on business and leisure-style lunches, the restaurant will offer an express degustation option as well as a full-dining option, and will be open for dinner on select nights of the week.

Inside, diners will be treated to a full-size wine cellar, stunning recessed ceiling with feature lighting, and a statement piece many patrons may recognise: the antique stained-glass Parisian shop front piece from the former Emporium Hotel Fortitude Valley’s cocktail bar.

When it came to the restaurant name, Lopez and his team wanted something that “portrayed the beauty and richness of our country”.

“Opals are important to Indigenous Australian culture, being known as ‘fire of the desert’, which we also felt was very fitting because fire is a critical component to cooking as well as in the ecology of Australia where many seeds lay dormant in the soil sometimes for years until fire bursts them open for new growth.”

The new flagship Emporium Hotel South Bank is set to open on July 1, 2018.