In Melbourne, the best spots to eat are down laneways, in the hipster neighbourhoods, heck even our hatted restaurants are starting to find homes in hipsterville (ie. Collingwood, Northcote etc. etc.)!
So the last place I would think to look for food anywhere really, would be an art gallery.
However, when I went to Brisbane for Eat Drink Blog, and Libby says she’s organising a lunch for a bunch of bloggers at this really nice restaurant, who am I to say no? Someone’s done the research for me for where to eat in Brisbane? I’ll take it!
And so on Sunday afternoon, following my visit to the bees on a rooftop in Fortitude Valley, I made my way south to GOMA, the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, to visit the restaurant that resided within.
I feel like GOMA Restaurant is everything you wouldn’t expect to find in an art gallery restaurant. Bright, minimal space, with insanely high ceilings, white table cloth and floor to ceiling windows, filtering the afternoon light through sheer white curtains.
Despite all this though, it was definitely not pretentious; with minimal decor, the space was refreshing and relaxing.
For lunch, guests can opt for ala carte, the traditional seven course degustation, or for good value that sits in between, the two or three course set menu. The two course giving you a choice of entree and main ($55), or main and dessert ($50), and the three course, naturally, giving the choice of all three courses ($60).
With the eight or so bloggers at the table, and only three options per course, we got through most of the offerings!
I was quite pleased that they had gluten free bread available for me, which came out lightly toasted and lovely and warm. Although I would have loved to ask for more, one must save room for the actual meal too!
I only opted to have two courses (main and dessert naturally), but I definitely had mild (or not so mild) food envy when I saw the entrees start getting marched out. The seared emu loin, native spiced black pudding, smoked potato and Illawarra plums was unanimously well received around the table (this was a popular entree), which was just beautifully presented with it’s deep and earthy colours.
Libby might have been the only person to get the Moreton Bay Bug, poached in churned butter, with a saffron broth, seaweed and broccoli. In contrast to the emu, the Moreton Bay Bug’s were delicate flowers, springing to life with colour.
For my main, I was presented with the roasted Holmbrae chicken, with textures of corn, sorrel and winter leaves. Simply hearty, and wholesome, the thicken was delightfully tender, juicy, with crunchy skin and lightly fried leaves provided texture. The corn puree was beautiful and sweet, a perfect compliment to the richness of the chicken.
The seared Murray cod with potato emulsion, fresh peas, salted lemon myrtle thyme and malt vinegar, looked like a very fancy take on fish and chips, and looked just sumptuous. If only I had more tummies…
Although all our dishes had been beautifully presented, and were full in flavour, it was really the desserts that wowed the table in presentation and in flavour.
Take this wattle custard with Daintree choralate paint and Daintree vanilla curd. It had us all simply baffled when it arrived at the table. Was it art? Or was it edible? The waitress assured us it was indeed edible, but that this particular dish was paying homage to indigenous Australian art, the brown ‘landscape’ mirroring that of an Australian landscape, and the dots, replicating the art style. Very cool and also very delicious.
The Newstead Brewing ‘Johnny’ apple cider porridge with apple sorbet and caramelised milk foam looked to be a little bit of a mess in comparison, a little unrestrained shall we say, but the mouthful I had was just lovely. It was definitely a heavier dessert, one that I would have personally loved if it was a bit cooler, with the apple flavours really driving through.
Oh, but I was so happy with my decision for dessert. The Magnum Opus; Valrhona chocolate with violet ice-cream honey comb and cocoa nib ticked off everything I loved in a dessert. Chocolate, ice-cream and a little bit of excitement. Again, art or edible? It was almost too pretty to eat, the spray of pastel colours making me think of a Monet.
I could not stop gobbling this up. It was very sweet, with the smooth white chocolate and the light and delicate violet ice-cream, but the dark Valrhona chocolate added some richness and depth, with the honeycomb providing lovely texture. I did find it was bordering a little bit too sweet for me (which is saying something)…but I finished it anyway. Too good.
When Libby originally invited me to join along for lunch, I had no idea what I was expecting, but GOMA was certainly a lovely surprise. Although it was a bit dressed up, it was still a very relaxed and lazy lunch, and everything we ate was simply spot on. I would definitely be happy to be back and have since recommended GOMA to friends who were looking for something a little nicer to bring the parents to in Brisbane.
Little bit sad that Magnum Opus isn’t on the menu anymore though…!
Queensland Gallery of Modern Art
South Brisbane 3101