A few weeks back, the Gold Coast added another exceptional eatery to its burgeoning culinary cavalry when Jupiters Hotel & Casino proudly unveiled Garden Kitchen & Bar. And we jumped at the chance to check it out.
Spanning the length of the restaurant’s entrance, cascading foliage of the lengthy vertical garden wall is a total show-stopper and has completely transformed the casino foyer.
Once inside, we instantly began lusting over the white, bright, and whimsically decorated bar and dining room that stretches out and beyond the floor to ceiling windows on the western end. The décor is a stylist’s dream blend of honey-coloured brick feature walls, wooden beams, timber and tile flooring, more greenery via hanging pots and climbing ferns, tropical throw cushions, festoon rope lights, and hints of Moroccan in the geometric fabrics and tiles (don’t miss the bathrooms!).
Stepping beyond the backdoors took us through to the sun-drenched outdoor bar and dining area, affectionately labelled the “conservatory”, with high vaulted ceilings, lounges, and a leafy outlook—perfect for a long lunch or a cheeky Sunday session.
Beyond the seriously stylish and architecturally-designed space, the food is the main event at Garden Kitchen & Bar. Prior to settling in for dinner we take the opportunity to peruse three menus crossing the different meal services. We’re already planning a return visit for brunch to devour the Pitaya Bowl with Queensland banana, fruit, toasted muesli, and macadamias vying for my attention, or the Belgian waffles with maple syrup and mascarpone. Under the “extras” selection, there’s even the option to build-your-own breakfast for the indecisive.
Instead of focusing on one or two cuisines, Garden Kitchen & Bar is aiming to cater for all tastes, with a variety of carefully-selected choices including salads, pastas, and all of the proteins. That said, the menus are relatively short, which we prefer over a novel-length selection. What do they say? Do few things and do them well.
We couldn’t resist the sound of the Hot Smoked Salmon Salad; the salmon smoked in house was melt-in-the-mouth tender, and presented on a bed of mixed garden herbs (including micro coriander, dill, and chervil grown onsite) and oh-so-fresh garden peas that popped with each bite. Had the salad come in a main size, we’d have been totally content to end the night there. But Garden Kitchen & Bar is quickly garnering a reputation for its steak, so who were we to digress?
Though the wafts of lamb slow-roasting on the rotisserie were enticing, for mains, I opted for the 400gram 35-day aged OP Rib. The tender cut comes with the bone in and was the size of my head. I asked for a steak knife, but it was not needed with the knife gliding through the inch-thick cooked-to-perfection beef. An absolute must for steak lovers.
Something quite rare to the Coast are the six wines served “on tap” across the bar. It’s a very European way of going about it, but ideal when all you want is a half litre carafe of vino with dinner (after a few cocktails, that is).
Just when we thought there was no room left for dessert our waiter presented “The Honeypot”–a deconstructed cheese cake—silky smooth quark cream cheese with a hint of vanilla bean, cultured and not too sweet, it’s built over a base of house-made honeycomb chunks, rather than the usual biscuit base, and topped with cream and a gorgeous purple thyme flower garnish. It tastes as good as it looks and we were in love.
Jupiters is part of the same family as Sydney’s celebrated casino, The Star and is currently undergoing an extensive $345-million-dollar refurbishment and extension to bring Jupiters up to the same standard as its southern sister, while maintaining its unique local character. Garden Kitchen & Bar is the third new restaurant to open in the past 12 months, joining award-winning contemporary Japanese restaurant, Kiyomi and chic Italian eatery, Cucina Vivo.
Yeah we know, you might have overlooked Jupiters these past few years, but it’s probably a very good time to give it another chance.
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Photo Credit: Edmond Tsang for Metropolist