Sunday, February 3, 2013

Travel: Gourmet Gold Coast

Author Anita Heiss and lawyer Robynne Quiggin find where the grown-ups play on Queensland’s Gold Coast, eating their way through Surfers and surrounds.
The level of fine dining on the Gold Coast is rising as quickly as the apartment blocks along the beachfront. And in 2012 two world-class restaurants with kitchens run by some of Australia’s best chefs, have made their mark in Surfers Paradise, attracting tourists, locals and business-people alike.
The best view on the Esplanade from Seaduction
On The Esplanade at Surfers, floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking views from every table are the highlight of Seaduction  - in the hotel Sea Temple. The location is a drawcard, but dining there is an overall experience. The decor is stylishly funky, service is enthusiastic but not intrusive, the lighting allows it to be romantic but it’s also a space where groups gather to celebrate. The modern Australian menu prepared by renowned chef Steve Szabo  (previously of Palazzo Versace fame) will tantalise your taste-buds in new ways. We recommend: the homemade tortellini with goats cheese, baby beetroot gel, crushed walnuts, mandarin and burnt butter; the roasted shellfish soup served with tempura scampi and fresh crab, egg yolk and egg white. Wash it down with the Totera Sauvignon Blanc.

Culinary genius Steve Szabo
Seaduction’s piece d’resistance - their desserts largely created by Zorica Szabo known for her fun approach to food - will have you wide-eyed like a child, as a platter of passionfruit marshmallow  arrives with pistachio powder, orange and black sesame seed tuile, popping candy and homemade passionfruit ice-cream. We also recommend the lemon curd tart with gingerbread snap base, with lime and olive oil and petite meringue. Our advice is to leave some room so you can experience the unique petit fours served as lollypops made up of strawberry chocolate and compressed honeycomb. The presentation and concepts may be fun, but the flavours are very, very serious. (Dinner Entrees: $21   Mains: $35 Desserts: $18)

 Passionfruit marshmallow

Salt Grill in the Hilton
 A New York atmosphere complete with generous wait staff and jazz music piped through the restaurant will great you at celebrity chef Luke Mangan’s latest success, the Salt grill  in The Hilton, Surfers Paradise. Opened in September 2011, Salt is popular and busy without being chaotic, the layout sophisticated and welcoming, the atmosphere relaxed and comfortable. It’s the way you like to feel when you sit down to enjoy an extraordinary meal. 
 Hiramsasa kingfish sashimi

We urge you to start with the signature dishes only available in the Surfers Paradise restaurant. The ‘glass’ Sydney crab omelette with mustard broth is as equally impressive as the Hiramsasa kingfish sashimi with ginger, shallots and Persian fetta, both having distinct but perfectly balanced flavours.
There are two significant ‘sharing’ dishes for mains -  a 1kg rib eye with sides, and a barramundi stir fry – but we’re told that some ambitious people have polished them off solo!
Luke’s Liquorice parfait is the signature dessert but unless you’re really into the aniseed flavour we suggest the banana soufflĂ© with the rum anglais, fig and pecan ice-cream and / or the coconut panna cotta with compressed pineapple, passionfruit OR the Salt Grill Chocolate 3 Ways -  all will have you leaving as if your dining life is complete.
 Salt Grill Chocolate 3 Ways
The Parmesan and Truffled French fries also require a mention because they can’t be passed up either. 
Toast your elegant dining experience with something from the diverse wine list such as the 2009 Pecante Costa Atlantica (Western Spain) and Pieropan Soave (Veneta). Salt may be four letters, but it is five stars! (Dinner Entrees: from $21  Mains: from $32  Degustation: from $120)
 The layout and atmosphere a huge plus for dining at Hellenika's

So popular is Hellenika’s at Nobby’s Beach that you can’t get in without a booking. It’s the only place on the Gold Coast where you can enjoy authentic Greek cuisine paired in a Mediterranean style atmosphere, and a key selling point is the fresh-produce served with minimal interference, relying largely on pure Greek olive oil and herbs. To greet you on entry will be restaurant Manager Beth or one of a number of food-wise staff who will walk you through the menu which includes hard-to-find-in-Australia Greek wines such as: Gaia Thalassitis Assyrtiko (Santorini), Lafazanis Agiorgitiko (Peloponnese) and Samos Muscat.
Some Greek wines may only be found in Oz at Hellenika's!
The menu is extensive, which makes it hard to choose, so the banquet is a blessing and allows you to taste a diverse range of mezedes, with a  menu that can also be added to. And while there are plenty of vegetarian options we suggest the following: saganaki (mouth-watering grilled sheep’s milk cheese), dolmades (close-your-eyes-and-swoon veal and rice wrapped in silver beet), hirino (cannot-share-this-is-all-mine salty pork belly with leeks), arni sto fourno (better-than-mum-makes slow baked Junee lamb shoulder).
(Mezedes from: $14.50   Oven dishes from: $26.50  Banquets from: $49)   
Seafood and meats grilled to perfection!
 Then, for an eclectic breaky do yourself a favour and search out the Black Poetic Lyrics   in arcade along Surfers Paradise Boulevard. Indulge in The Green Thumb with ricotta and honey almonds, ratatouille and eggs with basil cream to die for, all served by cheerily confident chef Josh. You’ll want to go back, we do.
To settle your stomach: Take some time out from your culinary indulgences and nurture the outside of your body as well. We recommend heading to the Golden Door Day Spa at Marina Mirage. Treat yourself to the kahuna style lomi lomi massage (ask for Erika) for an extraordinary full-body experience, and a facial a la carte with bright eyes treatment so you sparkle all over. All spa treatments include complementary use if the spa facilities so you can stretch out your relaxation and steam a while also.
For more ideas of dining on the Gold Coast head to Tourism Queensland and start dreaming.


Rambling Tart said...

Both of these places sound amazing - and so unusual! :-) I'm always look for new and delicious places when I head to the Gold Coast, so I'm delighted to read about these two. :-)

Unknown said...

I have never been Gold Coast, but i have read a page from this :, yours is better than it, the food seem so delicious, i am so looking forward to go there now all because of your article, thank you for sharing this, have a luck day!!!