April 5, 2009

Absynthe

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

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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. 

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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!"

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8 comments:

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

The risotto sounds beautiful! And you're right, eating a rum baba with rum older than you is cool.

The Caked Crusader said...

ok, I started drooling at the potato puree with onion marmalade!
Looks a great restaurant.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

That looks like a decadent and luxurious meal! Absolutely lovely Maria and I'm always secretly relieved when a restaurant is empty-ish so less stares when taking pics! :)

jesse said...

Wow... what an amazing meal! I'm totally jealous of you right now.

Agnes said...

Sounds and looks like a great dinner. I'm very intrigued by the cocktail - sounds amazing!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Arwen - The only problem with eating things older than you are is when you reach 50 things start to get pretty expensive!

Hi Caked Crusader - When I saw the potato puree come out I totally forgot about everything else on the table, in fact I even forgot who Daz was!

Hi Lorraine - Its so much fun taking photos when theres no one looking at you thinking your strange. Its like the food is able to express itself effortlessly. Ok, I know I'm strange!

Hi Jesse - It was a pretty good meal, but judging from your blog you've have more jealous worthy meals than I have! Need I remind you of the kidneys?????

Hi Agnes - The cocktail was awesome. I paid very close attention when the waiter was explaining it, so I wrote down all the ingredients, I'll try to recreate it one day and hopefully post it here.

DiscoveryMe said...

What a great first meal you had in the Gold Coast! I'm sure that would have been pretty hard to beat for the rest of your holiday!

CORA said...

This looks so good. I was looking for a place to go to for a special occasion - Absynthe sounds perfect.

By the way, my bf also gets frustrated with the photo-taking. In fact, he's now imposed a rule where I have to photograph HIS dish first so he can get into eating.

Tsk tsk...