Is there anything better than a truly delicious plate of food? Well, yes. How about five delicious plates of food. Or 10. Or why not even 12?
Degustations and banquets offer a range of advantages over the conventional meal: greater variety of nutrients, guaranteed to eliminate hunger, and low probability of ruining your evening with a poor meal choice.
The following are some of the best degustation banquets on the Gold Coast. So, make a booking, loosen your belt and tuck in.
Located at Palazzo Versace, Vanitas is an Italian experience like no other: fresh and locally-sourced ingredients, award-winning chefs, prime location. Its summer degustation menu is akin to a European work of art. Delight in the mushroom tortellini (wild mushrooms, artichoke cream, confit egg yolk, truffle pecorino) and salt grass lamb loin (pulled shoulder potato roulade, eggplant, labneh, toasted barley, lamb jus).
Price: $105 to $150 for four to six dishes
There’s a pretty simple philosophy at Labart: seasonal ingredients, simple food and standout hospitality. The Burleigh-based Australian restaurant has both a short and long sample menu, with ever-changing options such as the cheese plate (with Qld honeycomb and lavosh), Goldband snapper (with zucchini flower and whole lemon purée) and Oxheart Tomato (with caper, shallot and tuna mayonnaise). This is one Gold Coast degustation dinner that will live with you long after your last bite.
Price: $75 to $90 for six to eight dishes
When was the last time you sampled French cuisine? Because if it’s been a while, Room81 promises to take you on a gastronomical journey to the roots of Parisian culture and French heritage. How wonderful! Its summer degustation menu includes escargots (with garlic, parsley and sourdough), Bouillabaisse de Poissons du Marché (market fish, fennel, saffron and tomato) and Fraises au Champagne (textures of strawberry and rose veuve clicquot). This chef-hatted restaurant boasts a seriously standout Gold Coast degustation menu.
Price: $140 for five dishes
If your taste buds are crying out for something oriental, Mamasan is a logical starting point with its menu that blends both traditional and modern cuisine from South East Asia. It has two banquet options: Yin, which includes wagyu beef red curry (braised pulled wagyu beef with daikon, carrot, banana chilli, coconut cream and peanuts), and Yang, with the not-to-miss spanner crab ravioli dumplings (with scallops, prawns, water chestnut and coconut sambal bisque).
Price: $55 to $69 for seven to eight dishes
If you’re one of the many who has already experienced the Mexican delights of Bonita Bonita, and are itching for an excuse to get back—banquet menu! This seven-course selection of the staff’s favourite dishes guarantees delivery of tasty modern Mexican into the pit of your stomach. Dishes include the Daily Tostada, spicy chicken wings and the Classico Taco to finish. This is one of the best Gold Coast banquets if you’re on a budget.
Price: $40 for seven dishes
A standout for any lover of quality modern Japanese, Etsu Izakaya boasts two delightful omakase menus designed to please whole tables of friends or family. Unleash your chopsticks onto the Hamachi Carpaccio (kingfish sashimi with yuzu soy, fresh jalapeno and coriander), beef tenderloin (with wasabi peppered sauce) and black miso cod (black cod in saikyo miso marinade).
Price: $55 to $85 for six to seven dishes
Palate cleansing contemporary Cantonese and fresh cocktails is what Mr Hizola’s is all about. It has four generous banquet menu options to select from, including Field of Dreams (vegetarian), From Land to Table (meat and vegetables), Best of Both Worlds (Cantonese favourites) and Imperial (Cantonese favourites). Bao, dim sum, rice and noodle dishes—they’re all there.
Price: $50 to $65 for eight to 12 dishes
If fine dining and intimate settings are your thing, then Little Truffle will definitely be up your alley. Degustation options include a standard menu, as well as a vegetarian choice. Expect such joys as vanilla cured salmon (with cucumber aioli, yuzu, radish, coriander), beef eye fillet (with potato gratin and carrot puree), and pan-fried gnocchi (with wild mushroom, burnt sage butter and truffle pecorino).
Price: $80 to $90 for five dishes
Willow Dining Room
Willow Dining Room is a relaxed, no rules restaurant that produce a mix of fine-casual modern dining, blending Mediterranean, modern Australian, Spanish and Asian favourites. It has four banquet options, so expect to feast on Willow favourites such as Napoli pork and veal meatball (with parmesan cheese and crusty bread) and seared scallops (in ginger, chilli and seeded mustard dressing, with crispy sweet potato).
Price: $45 to $69 for seven to 10 dishes
Made your selection from the top Gold Coast degustation menus? You’ll probably need a nightcap at the Gold Coast's best bars afterwards.
Image credit: Hayley Williamson for Urban List