April 30, 2009


Dining Date: March 2009
2009 Rating: 49th
2009 Star rating: 2
Chef: Thierry Galichet
Location: 224 Given Tce, Paddington, Queensland

Before I write this post I feel like I need to declare my interests. I LOVE french food, it is by far my favourite of all cuisines. I would eat it at the drop of a hat, and nothing is more satisfying then a good piece of pastry. When the chance to try Montrachet came up I was very excited. I always look forward to eating at places like this, and it is reflected by my inability to order a sensible number of dishes, but I enjoy every last bite, despite the fact that I end up being fuller than a pokies machine on pension day.

Montrachet is every bit a french bistro. The walls are adorned with french paraphernalia, and the wall behind the bar is well stocked, something I like to see. The tables are placed VERY closely together. When we arrived I was a little worried. I had very tall heels on, I took one look at the tables and had a mini anxiety attack. I couldn't even squeeze my hand between the tables, let alone my cream loving thighs. Thankfully, the wait staff pull the table right out and let you leisurely take your seat. When nature calls, the wait staff transform into super hero's with mind reading powers and know exactly when you need to get up. Superb I say.  

Now onto the reason why I visited Montrachet, for the food. We ordered from the al la carte menu, we tried to ignore the tempting degustation menu on offer. First entree off the rank was the Coquilles St Jacques Richelieux - Seared sea scallops resting on brioche topped with goose foie gras and truffle caviar, finished with a light truffle cream sauce. Trufflax made from potato starch and black truffle. This dish was delicious. Since Daz ordered it, I only managed to sneak a bite, but it was the most glorious bite imaginable. The silky foie gras and crunchy brioche was heaven. Oh how I love foie gras, if only it was more ethical. As soon as I took one bite of my entree, the foie gras was a distant memory.

scallops and foie gras from montrachet
Coquilles St Jacques Richelieux - Seared sea scallops resting on brioche topped with goose foie gras and truffle caviar, finished with a light truffle cream sauce.

I had ordered the Escargots en Cocotte -Snails baked in little pots with garlic butter, tomato, spinach and topped with puffed pastry lids. When I was a kid we used to eat lots of snails, and every time I eat them now in my adulthood, I'm transported back to that childhood time. But when I was a kid, the snails were either put in a simple tomato sauce or pan fried with some butter. No where near the indulgence of the ones on offer here. The pastry was flaky, the snails plump and juicy drowned in a garlic butter. There were three pots, I was kind and stupid enough to give one to Daz. 

snail pots
Escargots en Cocotte -Snails baked in little pots with garlic butter, tomato, spinach and topped with puffed pastry lids.

Mains were next, and as you may have noticed from previous posts, Daz can't help himself when steak is on offer and usually goes for this option. There were no surprises when he ordered the Steak, Frites, Salade -Eye fillet, served with green salad, homemade French fries and green peppercorn sauce. Ordering steak often means that you become exposed some good pieces of meat and some not so good. I was truly shocked when he took one bite and instantly became silent. After a little more silence and a lot more cutting and chewing, he declared, "that is the best steak I have ever eaten". I was surprised, I really did not expect that.

Steak Frites Salade montrachet
Steak, Frites, Salade -Eye fillet, served with green salad, homemade French fries and green peppercorn sauce.

I felt like I needed something light, to counteract all that butter from the garlic snails. So I ordered the Bouillabaisse - Reef fish, Queensland scallops, fresh green prawns and Moreton Bay bugs served in a rich seafood broth with aioli and garlic French toast. It was DELICIOUS! The seafood was juicy and extremely fresh, the soup was flavoursome and the most perfect temperature. I know that's weird to say, but I tend to dive straight into my food, usually with reckless abandonment. Sometimes there are casualties....millions of them.....thankfully, taste buds grow back. 

Bouillabaisse from montrachet
Bouillabaisse - Reef fish, Queensland scallops, fresh green prawns and Moreton Bay bugs served in a rich seafood broth.

For a side we ordered the Fricassée de Champignons - pan fried porcini, button and Swiss brown mushrooms. I was a little disappointed with this dish, it did not have a very strong mushroom flavour and I think this ruined it for me. I was expecting a mushroom explosion in my mouth, sadly it was not.
sides from montrachet
From top left hand corner - Steak and fries, Green Salad, aioli and garlic French toast, pan fried mushrooms.

And then all that was left were the desserts. We ordered two classic french desserts, Crème Brûlée and Éclair au Café, filled with coffee crème pâtissière served with crème Anglaise and orange cointreau salade. There's nothing more to say than, fantastic, perfect way to finish the meal.
chocolate eclaire from montrachet
Éclair au Café, filled with coffee crème pâtissière served with crème Anglaise and orange cointreau salade

creme brulee from montrchet
Crème Brûlée

I really enjoyed Montrachet. All the dishes were stand outs and I was extremely satisfied when I left. The best part about Montrachet is the price tag. Everything is extremely reasonably priced. I could have eaten at Montrachet twice more with the amount of money I spent at Urbane. I wish I lived in Brisbane, Montrachet would be a regular haunt for me. Now I have to find a substitute here in Melbourne. 

April 26, 2009

The Cupcake Challenge: Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting

hred velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting
Mini red velvet cupcakes

Round two of the Cupcake challenge saw the appearance of the red velvet cupcake. There is something about red velvet cake that intrigues me, I think it might have something to do with the feeling that you might have killed them when you bite into one of these and expose their blood red centre. Or maybe its the luscious cream cheese frosting that adorns them that makes them irresistible. Regardless, everyone seems to love them and so "I brought it on" with miniature versions of the ruby red cuppies.

naked cupcake art
Naked cupcake art

I have spoken about my love of all things miniature, but when things are made even smaller it transcends love and I just go crazy. These mini cupcakes can be eaten in two bites, or one if you have an especially big mouth, don't worry its not a bad thing to posses....more room to fit food in! I baked 65 mini cupcakes, Daz took half and the other half came to my work.

naked red velvet cupcakes
"They're only pinch size, I bet I could fit 5 in my mouth at once!"

The report was that after Daz announced the cupcake's appearance in the tea room, they quickly vanished. Some of his workmates were kind enough to send messages of appreciation, so I thought I would post them here. I was pretty chuffed, and it makes baking 65 mini cupcake AND frosting them well worth the hard work.

"You certainly brought it :) Delicious!"

"Have to say cupcake is very nice! looks very very nice too haha...love the creamy cheese topping on top. The lemon meringue cupcake is very nice too, the best cupcake I have had so
far! hahah"

"They are soooooo cute! and delicious!"

"Absolutely delicious. Home made or bought? No seriously they were that good!"

the leaning tower of cupcake
The leaning tower of cupcake

So here is the recipe. Many years ago I found a recipe for southern red velvet cake on the foodnetwork website. Since then I've made my own changes.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time, 30 min. Cook Time, 15 min

Makes 65 mini cupcakes and 30 cupcakes or 1 large cake


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Crushed pecans, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 180C degrees. Place cupcake liners into a muffin tray.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake until they spring back when touched in the centre (roughly 15 minutes).

Place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Frost the cupcakes and garnish with pecans.

sea of red
Sea of red

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 packet cream cheese, softened and at room temperature
4 cups sifted icing sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

the power of cupcake within your palm
The power of cupcake within the palm of your hand


April 21, 2009


Dining Date: March 2009

2009 Rating: 50th

2009 Star rating: 2

Chef: Kym Machin

Location: 179 Mary Street, Brisbane, Queensland

Website: www.urbanerestaurant.com

Urbane pays particular attention to all the details that go into the dining experience there. The greeting at the door is warm and inviting. Once you're seated you are guided through the menu and invited to ask any questions. One thing that I particularly like about Urbane is that their degustation menu consists of dishes that appear on the a la carte menu. Refreshing to see. We decided to opt for the a la carte option on this night. To start, the chef sends a opening dish to the table and this arrives before you even consider what you want to eat, I think to kick start that belly into making wise decisions. The starter consisted of small jellies, tomato skins, tomato leaves, olive crumbs, fresh goats curd and lime oil. It was delicious to say the least and paved the way for the rest of the meal to come.

Urbane Starter
Small jellies, tomato skins, tomato leaves, olive crumbs, fresh goats curd and lime oil.

For the mains Daz was in a seafood mood and couldn't go past the ceviche of Harvey Bay scallops, lime ice, pea ravioli, and Jalapeno oil. The scallops were fresh and soft. The puree tasted like freshly picked peas, the real taste of spring. A real delight to eat.

Urbane entree
Ceviche of Harvey Bay scallops, lime ice, pea ravioli, and Jalapeno oil.

I decided to go with the slow cooked duck egg, shaved Petuna ocean trout, potato, bacon, with dill and sour cream flavours. There was a milk foam ontop of the soft centered duck egg. Crispy panchetta and dots of sour cream. To finish the presentation there was some dill dust across the plate. Some of these dishes were the most beautiful I've ever seen, more art than actual food.

The flavour of this dish was very subtle, no one flavour stood out and over powered anything else, instead it was a perfect harmony between the contenders. The gooeyness of the duck egg was very enjoyable, however it would have been better paired with something like smoked salmon due to the richness of the duck egg.

urbane entree 2
Slow cooked duck egg, shaved Petuna ocean trout, potato, bacon, with dill and sour cream flavours.

Daz being a red blooded male, meat was in order so he ordered the slow cooked dry aged beef with foie gras chip, honey roasted pumpkin puree and amber ale jus gras. There was also some caramelised onion, marinated speck, a poached egg with chives, and some edible flowers.

Daz reported that the meat was tender and perfectly cooked to medium. The jus was rich and well accompanied with the intense flavoured beef. Foie gras had been crumbed and then deep fired. I managed to sneak a bite before it disappeared off Daz's plate, here is where we disagree, I say the deep frying made it taste greasy and just plain awful where as Daz thought that it brought out the flavour of the foie gras. Once again, we agree to disagree.
urbane main
Slow cooked dry aged beef with foie gras chip, honey roasted pumpkin puree and amber ale jus gras.

I love me a tiny chicken, so the spatchcock was my option. Roasted spatchcock breasts, popcorn and broiche crumbs, sweet corn puree, garlic gnocci, crispy skin and onion salt. The plate also contained some basil oil. The chicken skin had been transformed into a dust and placed in the middle of the dish.

My first bite reminded me of corn dogs that you get at royal shows. The more I ate the more distinct the flavours became. The garlic flavour of the gnocci really shone through and was well match with the corn puree, oddly enough. All that starch was well accented by the onion salt adorned on the chicken breasts. The basil oil gave it another level of sweetness and since I LOVE basil, I couldn't get enough of it. This dish really won me over, I was a bit off put at first, but once I had sampled all the flavours I was a real fan.

urbane main 2
Roasted spatchcock breasts, popcorn and broiche crumbs, sweet corn puree, garlic gnocci, crispy skin and onion salt. 

Lastly it was dessert, and this is where they lost us. It was a affogato almond milk ice cream with petite fours, which were scented jelly and crunchy chocolate pieces. The coffee was just plain bad! I don't know if it is because we are spoilt here in Melbourne, but they could have done with buying a decent bag of coffee beans. Although, the almond milk ice cream was a real saver, the flavour of the almond manage to transcend all that awfulness and delight our palates.

urbane affogato dessert
Almond milk affogato with petit fours

I really liked Urbane, but it is not a place I will be going back to in a hurry. It was extremely expensive and serving sizes are not that generous, or maybe I was just really hungry that night. If you do happen to go there, stay away from the passion fruit daiquiri. All I wanted was a mango daiquiri, and they didn't have it so they decided to bring me a passion fruit one instead. It obviously had canned passion fruit in it, which is fair enough but at $16 a pop I expected more. It was bitter and horrible. I don't know what they did to it, but I haven't had a daiquiri since!  

April 15, 2009

The Cupcake Challenge: Lemon Meringue

Lemon meringue cup cakes
A couple of times a year we take turns to provide morning tea for a whole group of people at my work, and to say that I take it seriously is an understatement. I love preparing cakes and biscuits and I revel in the joy that my baked goodies bring to peoples faces. Recently I found a recipe for lemon meringue cupcakes and thought they would be perfect for my turn at morning tea, but I had a few qualms about the actual recipe. I decided to do a test run of the cup cakes, something that I do VERY rarely. Then, what do I do with over a dozen cupcakes? No way I could eat them, I KNOW Daz could eat them, but do I want him to eat them all? So I told Daz to take them into work before the Easter break, so his workmates could enjoy the baked goodies, while still keeping the surprise from my workmates.

Daz returned with great news that all the cupcakes were eaten and well enjoyed, he didn't even get a chance to eat one, I say eat cupcakes first - email check second, but that's such a novice mistake to make.

Lemon meringue cup cakes 2

Yesterday, after the return to work from the Easter break, Daz told me that one of his work mates, Rebecca, had brought in a batch of cupcakes, and had a message for me. Loosely translated message = "Bring it on!". Apparently I am now involved in the Great Cup Cake Challenge of '09. From what I could gather, I assume that both Rebecca and I will take turns to provided cup cakes for Daz's work. There will be no winners or losers, according to Daz the only winners will be his workmates....abundant supply of cupcakes...that has to do something for their morale and possibly waistlines!

As soon as Daz told me the news I got excited, VERY excited. We went to see Tim Minchin last night at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the whole way through all I could think of were cup cakes. When we got out from the show my first words to Daz weren't "That was a good show" they were "So what type of cupcakes do you think I should bake for my next batch?" Yes, I am totally obsessed!

I'm a little intimidated, I'm not that good of a baker, and I'm sure Rebecca will do a much better job than I. But I accept the challenge, at the very least my blog will benefit from it. So a message back to Rebecca....."Cupcake challenge on!"

Back to the original reason for this post. Lemon meringue cupcakes. They were delicious!

From The Age, author Caroline Velik March 31, 2009

Lemon meringue cupcakes

Makes roughly 12-15


125g unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups caster sugar (I thought it was a little too much sugar, 1 cup will do)
grated rind 1 lemon
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup lemon curd
2 egg whites
pinch salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water


Preheat oven to 180 deg.

Cream the butter with sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add lemon rind and juice and mix well. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.

Sift flour and baking powder together and add to the mix, alternately with the milk.

Spoon into 12 lined muffin tins, filling almost to the top.

Bake in oven for 25 minutes until cakes are lightly browned and cooked when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks. When cool, scoop a small piece of cake from out of the top and place a spoonful of lemon curd. Top with meringue and brown with a blowtorch, if desired.

To make meringue:

Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at low speed until they foam, add salt and cream of tartar, increase speed and beat to soft peaks. Reduce speed to low as you prepare sugar syrup.

Bring the sugar and water to a simmer, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and cook until soft ball stage (240F or 116C on a sugar thermometer).

Slowly drizzle the syrup into the egg whites, beating on low speed. Try to avoid the edge of the bowl and the wires of the whisk. Increase speed to medium and keep beating for 10 minutes, until the mixture is cool and the egg whites form stiff, shiny peaks.

Naked cupcake
Naked Cupcakes. Quick, cover their innocence!


cupcake production line
The cupcake production line

Lemon meringue cup cakes 4

April 12, 2009


Dining Date: March 2009

2009 Rating: 59st

2009 Star rating: 2

Chef: Steve Szabo

Location: Palazzo Versace, Sea World Drive, Main Beach, Queensland

Palazzo Versace threesome

When you think of Palazzo Versace you think of decadence, style and refinement. Vanitas embodies every aspect of the Versace style, from the Versace crockery/cutlery to the marble clad floor. Usually I'm not intimidated by restaurants, regardless of their location or reputation, and to tell you the truth I feel comfortable in places from formal fine dining to Ugg boots establishments. But as soon as I stepped through the doors at Vanitas I felt like I was out of my element. I can't tell you exactly why I felt uncomfortable, but it just didn't feel welcoming. Regardless, food conquers all and I'm sure I'd feel comfortable as soon as I took the first bite.

We had the tastiest little bread rolls, they tasted almost like croissants. Daz accidentally threw his on the floor before he even got to take a bite, something to do with a slippery knife. We didn't even need to alert the waiter as to what happened, he arrived shortly after the incident with a fresh roll and said not to worry about it, which gave me the feeling that we were being watched. 

Bread roll at Vanitas
Slippery bread

We had decided to go with the degustation menu, that was a huge mistake. Not that the degustation menu was bad, it's just that we were tossing up between the rib eye for two, at $120 which represents great value, or the 8 course degustation menu. Which consisted of a rib eye craved at your table with fries and other sides to boot. It seemed like everyone else in the restaurant ordered this dish and it was constantly being wheeled out in front of us, followed by the accompanying moaning from happy costumers. Word of advice for future customers of Vanitas, order the Rib eye!

First course, Foie gras mousse with brandy, Madeira jelly broiche and lobster sandwich. The foie gras was salty and a bit too rich but tasty. The madiera jelly ontop was sweet without being over powering, which added a nice dimension to the saltiness of the mousse. It would have been nice if it had been more mousse like in texture rather than a thick pate. Not sure what happened to this batch of foie gras mousse. It became very difficult to eat towards to end, considering it's richness. The lobster was soft and flavoursome and the scattered salmon pearl caviar was a dream contrasted with the broiche, in my mind this dish seemed like two separate dishes presented on the same plate.

Foie gras mousse
Foie gras mousse with brandy, Madeira jelly broiche and lobster sandwich

Second course, Chilled rock melon soup with wasabi cream, marinated Atlantic salmon and grilled scallops. The scallops were perfectly cooked, not over done or under done - which is so easy to do. And the marinade that was used on the salmon made it tender while still keeping the oily/fleshy integrity of the salmon intact. It was so good that although matched with rock melon, the marinade still managed to be front of stage on my palate. I thought the melon soup was too overpowering for the delicate flavour of the salmon and scallops. The concept was very interesting and well thought out, but the execution was well off. In my opinion, the melon soup should have been more subtle, like a melon consume or even a broth, that way the flavours in the seafood had more chance to sing. I suppose this was one of those dishes where opinion is truly parted. I HATED it with a passion and didn't finish it, in fact I ate the seafood and maybe two spoon fulls of the soup, whereas Daz LOVED it and devoured every last morsel!

Rock Melon Soup
Chilled rock melon soup with wasabi cream, marinated Atlantic salmon and grilled scallops

Third course, Quail, salad with coriander, mint, basil and honey soy dressing. The Quail was very tasty and tender, just the way I like my little quail, the honey and soy dressing was in the foreground of this dish, which was a pleasant change from the acidity of the salad. The salad consisted of Vietnamese mint, basil, lime segments, coriander, cucumber, spring onion, chilli and a Thai vinaigrette. My only complaint about this dish was that it was too acidic. It could have done without the lime segments and they could have played up the sweetness in the vinaigrette to compliment the honey on the quail. But besides that, I really enjoyed the dish.

Quail from Vanitas
Quail, salad with coriander, mint, basil and honey soy dressing

Fourth course, Roasted loin of venison with sausage and grilled polenta, caramelized apple and shitake mushrooms. Perfect dish! - The polenta was crispy on the outside but soft in the centre. It tasted like it had Parmesan cheese incorporated into it, making it both tastier and creamy, but I'm not entirely sure. There was surely something in it to reduce the blandness of polenta alone. The mushrooms were soft and pungent. The venison was perfectly cooked. The addition of the apple played up the gamy taste in the vension. 

Venison and polenta from Vanitas
Roasted loin of venison with sausage and grilled polenta, caramelized apple and shitake mushrooms

Fifth course was the cheese. Before the meal had started I had decided that I didnt want to try the cheese that night. Considering there were 7 dishes in the degustation menu, I feared that I would not have enough room for the cheese and all the other food. But after the vension, the waiter wheeled all the cheese out on a massive trolley. It was a huge spectacle, all heads in the restaurant turned to watch this poor waiter wheel out a marble trolley covered in SOO many cheeses. As soon as the cheese was presented to me, I couldn't say no. 

Table of cheese
Cheese trolley

Forgive me as I can't remember ALL the cheeses that night, but I'll try my best to describe whats on the plate. Starting from the fron/center and working around anti-clockwise - Morbier, dried apricot, triple cream cheese from Traralgon in Victoria, figs soaked in port, Pecorino cheese, dried nashi pear and dried apricot, a hard cheese made from a combination of sheep's and cow's milk, more nashi pear and dried apricot, Shadows of blue from the Gippsland region in Victoria, and in the center some fresh quince paste, served with warm walnut bread. 

Cheese course at Vanitas

Sixth course, Vanilla bean ice cream with Pedro Ximenez sherry. This was described to us as a palate cleanser in order to have a subtle transition from the savoury to the dessert section of the meal. I loved this even thought it was just a palate cleanser. The ice cream was creamy, but not too sweet with the sherry adding an adult element. 

Vanilla bean ice cream
Vanilla bean ice cream with Pedro Ximenez sherry

Seventh course, Mango souffle with raspberry sauce and lychee sorbet. The lyche sorbet - 100% perfect! The lyche flavour was dead on fantastic. The consistency was so perfect that it remained frozen in its dish and only melted when it was placed in your mouth...a bit like m&m's. It was great, I love well made sorbets and this was one of the better ones I've had. The souffle on the other hand was a little disappointing. The "V" tattooed onto the top made it attractive and enticing, but the flavour of the mango completely failed to exist and some how the raspberry sauce managed to be the tartest thing I have ever experienced. I'm no sugar fiend but this dish deserved a bit more sugar. 

Mango souffle with lychee sorbet
Mango souffle with raspberry sauce and lychee sorbet

In the end I was glad the last course was a light one, I couldn't fit another thing in.....


Coffee and petit fours!!

coffee and petite fours

Overall, I was a little disappointed, somehow I expected a little more from Vanitas, especially considering the total of our bill! There were certainly many elements in the dishes that I really loved, and I might try to recreate them at home , good luck to me...I'll need it! Now where can I get me some of those crazy plates? At 135 Euro for 1 cup and saucer, I think I might have to save up for a full dining set!

April 7, 2009

Absynthe Bakery

Absynthe Bakery
Circle on Cavill, Surfers Paradise

What better way to follow a post about Abysnthe Restaurant than a post about Absynthe Bakery.

Absynthe Bakery
Absynthe Bakery

We went along to Absynthe bakery for a quick bite to eat at lunch, considering the awesomeness of the bread rolls at the restaurant that we had, we were sure to be on a winner. From the outside, it didn't look like much, and even when we stepped through the doors it was still not awe inspiring, but it did look very slick and modern. I was totally won by the sweets displayed in the window.

Absynthe Bakery Window display
I'll have one of those, and one of those....and ooo ooo one of THOSE!

There were so many things to choose from, pies, sandwiches, crusty bread, so we opted to go with the safe choice and ordered the lunch special. Daz ordered a pizza, and I ordered a chicken pie. Just by the sounds of it, this could have been pretty boring, and to tell you the truth the pizza was pretty ordinary....good but ordinary. My mum's pizza looks exactly the same as the pizza presented to us from Absynthe. Thick, almost foccacia style with loads of tomato sauce and very little topping. The dough was exceptional though, fluffy on the inside but crispy without being too crunchy on the outside. It was a good pizza, but nothing different from what I could get at home.

Absynthe Bakery Pizza front and back
I couldn't decided which angle looked better, the front or the back?

The chicken pie on the other hand was so bloody fantastic we went back and ordered another one. The pastry was flaky and topped with my favourite of all seeds, the sesame seed. The filling was something else altogether. I was expecting a pie filled with chunks of chicken, maybe a couple of pieces of vegetables and little amount of gravy, but this baby was ALL gravy. It was so delightful. It was gooey, runny and just the total essence of chicken. There were minascule pieces of chicken dotted throughout the sauce, but more like blended bits of meat. It was slightly too hot, but that didnt stop me from chowing down on it and getting it all over myself. I wish I had taken a picture of the opened pie, but I never think of these things while I'm indulging.
Chicken pie from Absynthe Bakery
Chicken Pie

If I lived on the Gold Coast I would be buying my daily bread from here. The variety looked so appealing that I was contemplating buying some to take back to Melbourne. Sadly, it probably would have been eaten before making the plane, so I decided to leave empty handed. Thank goodness there was ice cream there to soften the blow. 

April 5, 2009


Dining Date: March 2009

2009 Rating: 41st

2009 Star rating: 2

Chef: Meyjitte Boughenout

Location: Ground floor, Q1 Resort Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise, Queensland

The first restaurant we visited on the Gold Coast was Absynthe. We choose Absynthe first because we thought we would start from the top and work our way down. Before dinner even started the day had gotten off to a bad start. There was an incident with an almost lost bag (including a wallet and ALL personal belongings) and an incident with a car and a pole. But everything worked out well so no need to go into details. To say the least, we were a little tired, stressed and unhappy by the time we sat down to have our meal. We even toyed with calling the whole thing off, but when was the next chance we were going to be on the Gold Coast.
Absynthe decor
Absynthe decor.....minus the people

On this particular night, I think it was a Tuesday, there were very little people in the restaurant. I've learnt from other experiences this isn't such a bad thing, makes for unimpressive atmosphere, but the privacy you get while taking photos is extraordinary, a real bonus when you want to take multiple pictures of the one thing! I've also learnt that the quality of the food is probably heightened when there are few diners, after all isn't this the whole reason I'm on this challenge?

So onto the food. The menu was broken up into many different titles. Since Daz and I weren't extremely hungry we decided to share an entree between us, have a main meal each and share a dessert to finish. But before it all got under way, I needed a drink. What better way to start than the Absynthe cocktail....at Absynthe....hehehehe.

Absynthe cocktail
Absynthe cocktail, before and after. 

The waiter brought out two glasses with scoop of sorbets in the bottom of the glasses. He told us that the sorbet was made up of, fresh ginger, lime, sugar, coriander, absynthe and vodka. Then he pour some champagne over the top of the sorbet. At first the sorbet floated to the top, but after a little while, it began to sink to the bottom. The cocktail was a perfect way to start the evening, the flavour of the coriander came through intensely and strangely kick started my appetite. Luckily, at that very second the waiter came back with some freshly baked bread from the Absynthe bakery. 

The Bread course from Absynthe
The bread course

Normally I wouldn't be so impressed with the complimentary bread, because after all its complimentary and not many places put alot of effort into it. But the small roll presented to us was devine. The crumbs was soft but full and dense. The crust was perfectly crunchy without making the dough inside too dry. I was so impressed that later in the trip we made a small detour to the Absynthe Bakery. 

Absynthe bread
Nom Nom, carbohydrate laden goody.


So onto the main event. The entree came from 'The Black Diamonds' section of the menu. It was a Perigord Truffle Risotto with Braised Chanterelles and my god was it good! The flavour of the truffles was unmistakable, the rice was perfectly cooked (which is difficult for risotto's) and it had just the right amount of creaminess. Since we only ordered the one entree we were debating whether to order another. Thankfully we didn't, because there were alot more dishes to come!

truffle risotto from absynthe
Perigord Truffle Risotto with Braised Chanterelles


After the entrees came the mains....deerrrr! Daz's dish came from the section of the menu called 'The Pasture'. It was a Char grilled Angus Beef Porterhouse with potato puree and onion marmalade. I had a taste of the potato puree and all I can say is there was more butter than potato in that dish and boy was it good. Daz assures me that the meat was cooked to the right degree of medium and the onion marmalade was sweet yet tangy. 

Grilled Angus beef with potato puree
Char grilled Angus Beef Porterhouse with potato puree and onion marmalade

Since I'm a sucker for anything farm related I decided to order from 'The Farm' section, Free range chicken breast wrapped in pancetta, goats cheese polenta and asparagus. Sadly the chicken was a little bland, but the polenta was great! Since normally polenta can be quiet boring the goats cheese was a welcomed source of flavour. It created a unique creamy texture, with a hint of goatyness. I must give them 10 out of 10 for presentation though, this dish was extremely attractive.

rolled chicken breast with pancetta
Chicken breast wrapped in pancetta, goats cheese polenta and asparagus

Before the dessert course I decided to take a bit of a wonder around the restaurant. As most girls know, you must go to the ladies room to re-powder you nose at least once during the night, in my case it is to make room for dessert, devious aren't I? While on my way to the ladies I spotted a gigantic bottle of Pommery, so of course I NEEDED to take a photo of it. Be hold, the giant bottle of bubbles! I should have put a 50 cent piece next to it so judge the size of it yourself.

massive bottle of pommery at ansynthe
Hmmmm, how drunk would I be if I drank the whole bottle myself?

Last, but by no means least, was the dessert course, from the 'Heavenly sweets' section. We had the Baba soaked in 30 year old French Polynesian Rum, Banana and Hazelnut compte and Vanilla bean creme anglaise. The 30 year old Rum sold it for me. I can not explain how good this was. The rum was sticky, but not too sweet, the accompanying sides could have been desserts onto themselves. If I had a time machine, I would go back just to experience this again. Some would say just order another serve, but that's just lazy!  We saw other versions of Baba through out our trip in Queensland, but due to respect for the 30 year old rum I decided not to order them. There is something unusual and devine about consuming something that is older than you are. 
baba dessert at absynthe
Daz: "Can you hurry up and take a photo already!....I can't hold this fork back any longer!"