7 fine dining experiences to tick off your food bucket list
There are few things more beautiful than a perfectly curated degustation. A chef-directed procession of small, but ample signature dishes that evoke different flavours, textures and senses with each bite; there’s no better way to taste a destination.
Add stunning surrounds and exceptional ingredients, and Queensland does degustation fine dining experiences that could compete on the world stage.
Bring your appetite because it’s time to eat.
DINING WITH THE TIDES, ORPHEUS ISLAND
The sun is setting gold and pink over the water and the first stars are faintly twinkling in the sky. You’re ready to take a seat at your own private dining table on the torch-lit pier, the Coral Sea lapping beneath your feet.
Dining with the Tides is an unforgettable six-course degustation (complete with wine pairings from the master cellar list) on one of the most beautiful islands on the Great Barrier Reef. Executive chef Daniel Main’s superb culinary team will meet with you to discuss the indulgent menu, designed to your individual tastes. Dishes such as the tapioca and raw fish look too beautiful to eat. Until you try them. And then you’ll be transported to another world.
THE TAMARIND, Sunshine Coast Hinterland
It’s hard to imagine a more romantic setting than The Tamarind, with its open-air restaurant embraced by the surrounding misty rainforest. A degustation here, tucked away at Spicers Tamarind in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, is like travelling through Asia in one night.
Head chef Dan Jarrett is masterful in the kitchen, and the menu may begin with small, plump steamed bao before venturing to Japan with koji-marinated beef tataki, crisp oysters and miso mustard or cured ocean trout with yuzu crème fraiche. Jarrett loves going off-piste with the menu, so those with specific dietary requirements can rest assured that they won’t miss out.
Karate chop your way through the doors of Wasabi and get ready for a journey through Japanese cuisine like you’ve never known before. Named as one of the best Japanese restaurants in Australia, once you take your first bite you’ll understand why.
The ‘Omakase’ (Japanese for “I’ll leave it to you”) menu can be served in seven courses or nine. Either way, the chef decides where to take you. Join them on a trip through Honeysuckle Hill Farm where all their seasonal produce is grown, before landing back on the Noosa Riverbank to watch the sunset. Domo arigato.
NOOSA BEACH HOUSE, NOOSA
Pack your bags before you try the Noosa Beach House’s Sri Lankan Snapper Curry; it’s a trip across the South Pacific without even booking a flight. Just when you thought your trip was over another dish comes and takes you away. These meals should come with a pre-flight safety demonstration.
Peter Kuruvita has become a household name in Australia, so it’s not surprising that when it comes to cooking, he knows his way around the Southern Hemisphere. The menu is six courses of all the memories, experiences and love he has found on his travels. It’s the second best thing to actually getting on a plane.
THE LONG APRON, Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Drive through the entrance of Spicers Clovelly Estate in Montville and feel your taste buds tingle. The lush gardens and rolling landscape echo with French inspiration. These echoes ring all the way to the kitchen where they get amplified.
Let your imagination soar as you read the eight-course menu. Single-word descriptions like: “Duck”, “Scallop” and “Pork” will leave you guessing until the plate hits the table and your jaw hits the floor. The food is so magical you’ll think Gandalf was in the kitchen.
HARRY’S ON BUDERIM, SUNSHINE COAST
Get in quick, you won’t want to miss out on the monthly degustation at this iconic restaurant set on the edge of Buderim Forest Park (home to Buderim Falls). The leisurely five-course degustation may focus on seafood like local red emperor; succulent scallops or crispy skin barramundi sautéed with local Noosa Earth mushrooms and served with a prosciutto crumb.
And just in case you think a 139-year old heritage homestead is not going to cater for modern dietary requirements, they’ve just launched a delicious vegan degustation menu.
SEABELLE AT KINGFISHER BAY RESORT, FRASER ISLAND
Can bush tucker do fine dining? You bet. Drawing on the native knowledge of Fraser Island’s Butchulla tribe, Kingfisher Bay Resort’s chef de cuisine has been inspired by island living and bush tucker. This is modern dining, but with a delicious Indigenous twist.
The degustation menus changes regularly, but keep your eyes out for the exceptional Akudjura (bush tomato) salt and pepperberry calamari, crocodile salad with watermelon, mint and a rosella glaze. Australia has never tasted so good.