Flavours of Brisbane: Moda Restaurant’s quail in escabeche

MODA in Brisbane

Moda Restaurant is something of an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane City without actually leaving the city, where the relaxed garden courtyard is fitting for the rustic, full-flavour dishes that come out of the kitchen. The restaurant has become an institution in the Brisbane dining landscape, thanks to the dedication of co-founders Javier Codina and Francois Le Saveant. 

Executive Chef Javier Codina is passionate about creating dishes that hero in-season, locally sourced ingredients. Javier shares his recipe for Quail in escabeche with orange potatoes, a dish that is quick to prepare and perfectly suited to the winter months.

Quail in escabeche with orange potatoes


100ml olive oil
1 head Australian garlic, peeled, finely chopped
4 large quail, whole
4 sprigs thyme
1 cinnamon stick
4 black peppercorns
2 cloves
4 bay leaves
1tbs sweet paprika - Spanish, of course!
50ml red wine vinegar eg Lirah Cabernet Sauvignon from Ballandean, Granite Belt
1 sprig young rosemary

For the orange potatoes

4 medium Scenic Rim or Lockyer Valley potatoes, skin on
2 large golden shallots, peeled, chopped finely
4 sprigs flat parsley, chopped
1 orange, zest only
Pinch rosemary, chopped
50ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a saucepan, heat the olive oil to a medium temperate then sauté the garlic.

Add the quail to the pan and fry for approx 3 minutes on each side until golden. Remove the quail from the pan and reserve.

At low heat, in the same pan with the remaining oil, add the thyme, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves. Stir for 2 minutes.

Add the paprika and stir for 1 minute then add the vinegar. Mixed well. 

Remove the pan from the heat then add the quail and rosemary. Cover with a lid to infuse for approx 5 minutes.

For the orange potatoes

Boil the potatoes in salted water for approx 20 minutes until cooked. Stain and reserve. While warm, peel the potatoes. 

In a mixing bowl, rustically crush the potatoes with a fork.

Add parsley, orange zest, rosemary, olive oil and seasoning to taste. Mix well.

To serve

Place 2 tablespoons of the potato onto each plate then strategically place the quail onto the potato.
Optional – serve with a green salad or sautéed beans

Serves four

Behind the apron

MODA Brisbane CBD

Moda Restaurant has been a one-hat recipient in the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide since 2014, and has been awarded a number of Restaurant and Catering State Awards for Excellence since its opening.

A native of Barcelona, Javier Codina has worked in some of the world’s finest dining rooms, including the Arts Hotel in Barcelona, the San Francisco Ritz Carlton and the Chewton Glen Hotel in Hampshire, England. Fortunately for us, Javier has made his home in Brisbane, where his inspired, inventive dishes capture the essence of his cultural influences from native Catalonia, as well as France and Italy, meshed with his passion for using locally sourced produce.

Javier fully embraces the food bowl that surrounds Brisbane, visiting the region to source produce from local growers, fishers and suppliers to create a true paddock-to-plate experience. He can also be found exploring the Jan Powers Farmers Markets every Wednesday morning.