Travel to me is an investment where many see it as an expense. Australia was on my mind for a very long time now and the occasion arrived when Tourism Australia was celebrating “Restaurant Australia”
About restaurant Australia ……
Australia is a melting pot of cultures and a bit part of culture is food. It is truly a blessed country with quality ingredient (produce) and talented chefs who do justice to great produce.
Eating out is part of the culture and life in Australia. You can’t have all of Australia with its pristine beauty, immense bounty and friendly people in a trip or two. You have to visit it over and over again to soak up the good life there.
There is a restaurant of almost every cuisine and the standards match up to the best in the world.
There is not just chefs bur farmers and producers that create quality produce with in Australia. In many ways the culinary industry right from meats, to veggies, fruits, cheese, dairy and wines is pretty much self sustained. Fresh oyster, to ocean trout and Australia’s own wagyu the list if endless. Locally made international cheese, olive oil, pasta, beer and wines are a few of the many bounties here.
My culinary journey started with Gold coast arriving late night via New Delhi Brisbane and 2-hour car ride there on.Checked into Palazzo Versace hotel in gold coast and was in the lap of luxury till my time in gold coast. The Palazzo Versace is austrlia’s most luxurious hotel and it truly encompasses the beauty, opulance and luxury for which Versace is famous for. The design and décor of the hotel had the trademarked Versace elegance and purity without compromise on comfort.
Next morning after a satisfying breakfast and amazing coffee went straight to explore what goal coast is very famous for, the Currumbin wildlife sanctuary.
With hundreds of native Australian animals on display in natural bush land and rain forest settings, this sanctuary provides a rare opportunity to get closer to the rare wildlife of Australia. Best was to hold a Kuala and have a picture moment. Getting close to giant crocodiles, feeding a mob of hungry kangroos, watching reptiles in natural habitat, amazing birds and marsupials in amazing wildlife shows is the reason this place attracts thousands of tourist and locals everyday. The animal hospital in the sanctuary is modern and stocked up and the immense love and care for the injured reminds you of how much Australian care for their surroundings.
It was now time for lunch and we headed straight to this restaurant which had the simplest menu I had seen and possibly the freshest. As a chef I truly understand that minimalistic is most difficult to achieve in food. the Fish House was right on the beach and the USP of the place is the fresh seafood that comes daily. The cuisine is fresh seafood with heavy influence from southern Europe. I was spoilt for the fresh Australian oysters with raw fish selection with Australian olive oil, sea salt and lime. Such simple and so satisfying and paired with a nice Australian Sauvignon Blanc we had the right start. Over the meal what followed was fried calamari that was like butter, seafood soup, grilled barramundi and greens. It was fresh and tasty with minimal ingredients and just the right cooking.
After satisfying the greedy stomach and time at the beach off I went to sky point. Sky point is possibly one of the tallest tower in Gold Coast and the world with a height of 230mts. The observation deck gives a 360 view of the city. With the infinite sea in on one side to the city and the hills beyond it is a sight that just relaxes you. From this height watching the sun set on the city it just makes you realize that how tiny our problems and worries are. You gaze into the setting sun and it hypnotizes you out of all the mental baggage you carry, it was really special to me.
Dinner was planned at eh glass house restaurant which was at the marina mirage complex over looking the spectacular views of the gold coast broadwater. This restaurant was a reflection of the true gold coast lifestyle, elegant and picturesque. Thoroughly enjoyed the Australian meat and the vegetarian selection too were generous. I liked the fact the cold cuts at the restaurant were all Australian.
Next morning was an early day as I set off to overcome my fear of heights. It was the first time I set foot on a hot air balloon. Lamington national park and Mt. tambourine is the best possible location on the gold cost hinterland where everyday trained crew take off gently with the winds on a hot air balloon to a height of approx 5000 ft. the view was breathtaking as approx 16 of us went up. It was scary for moment and looking at the views I had to let go and be a part of it.
As we touched down we went straight to Canungra Vineyard for a Champagne Breakfast. The vineyard had open fields and a creek. After a rustic Australian breakfast I settled myself on the grass and dozed off. Call me lazy but I call it luxury.
After an hour I hopped on to Southern cross 4WD tour to a experience the beautiful gold coast surrounding on a 4 wheel drive to visit sub tropical rain forests, the tambourine national park, springbrook national park and the lamington national park.
Post this it was time to savoury a restaurant by the sea called “Sea Duction” right opposite the surfers paradise. Overlooking the beautiful coastline this restaurant bowled me over with its wine list and selection of fresh seafood. Have to say that Australians take complete pride in what they grow and are excited to serve them up with equally bigger pride.
The fresh oysters served raw and scallops grilled with brunt butter had a freshness that you cannot forget. I always favored a Chilean sea bass and a good Alaskan salmon but the Australian ocean trout is hard to forget especially if chef steve is cooking at sea duction.
The evening of course was no exception when the chef at Vanitas, the restaurant at Versace that serves modern Australian food. The menu at vanitas had proud Australian produce with international skill that drove the fun that night.
It was pure gluttony that I was dealing with in Australia. Hey my time in gold coast if I had to sum up – Good food, Good Wine, Good People and Good Place. Put all good things together and “There’s nothing like Australia”.