Chef Jasper takes a basket to the restaurant garden in the morning to collect produce for the evening meals. I love the thought of a restaurant doing this. What I loved more was that this was not a token inclusion of ingredients in the five course degustation meal. Almost all of the components from the menu that we ate at Songbirds Rainforest Retreat Restaurant in the Gold Coast Hinterland were made from ingredients grown on site, including the vegetable stock, infused oils and salts. Ingredients are predominately organic and if not grown on site they are collected from other local producers in the area, including the wonderful wines that accompanied the meal. The water offered at the table was from the well on site. That is what I call eating local! I don’t normally write restaurant reviews here but the local food focus of this restaurant captured me and I hope that it is of interest to you also. I would have loved to visit the gardens on site but unfortunately it was not possible on this visit. Maybe next time….
As a guest of Gold Coast Tourism and Queensland Tourism and Events I was fortunate enough to visit the Gold Coast Hinterlands last week. We visited Songbirds for a degustation dinner with matched wines. The chef believes that a degustation menu allows people to eat something that they may not normally try. Jasper plans his menu based on the produce available from the garden and modifies the menu accordingly.
The restaurant has dietary requirements completely covered. At our table we had a dairy free, gluten free and vegetarian requirement, every chef’s worst nightmare I am sure! We were all graciously and thoughtfully catered for, leaving no one feeling like they had missed out on anything (which can sometimes be the case when you require an alternate menu). The restaurant routinely asks if there are any dietary requirements that need to be taken into account at the time of booking. I can not emphasize how much attention was paid to this and how impressed I was by such care. Each dish was explained by our wonderfully attentive waitress Bec, including any adjustments that had been made for the dietary requirements.
Each dish on the menu was fresh and interesting. I attempted to determine which one was my favorite but I could not decide. There is a little sample of some of the dishes below. My night photography is not brilliant. I apologise for not doing the beauty of the meals justice with my images. We had a special meal and a very enjoyable evening. Think 13 hour slow cooked Pork Belly and Velveted King Prawns with organic Fennel Rissoto….are you hungry now??
The Gold Coast Hinterland is a wonderful food region. The focus on using and promoting local produce and products stood out at each place we were fortunate enough to visit. I definitely plan a return visit one day soon to explore the region fully. Mr Fresh was quite annoyed that he missed out!
Have you visited the Gold Coast Hinterland? What was the highlight for you?
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