At the rate i am blogging, my blog should be turned into a breakfast, dessert and recipe blog. I can't even remember when was the last time we even went out for a lunch or dinner worthy of blogging about (excluding the days of lunch takeout). It seems that most of our dinners are eaten at home, quite frugal when i come to think of my days in Malaysia.
So how about dinner for once outside?
Ever been to discounted bulk buy websites? I know in Malaysia, the trend is starting but in Australia, it has gone mad! With the strengthening of the currency, retailers are trying all kind of tactics to get us to spend our money in the country and that means big discounts (even though with the same profit margin as most of the products are shipped from US brands or Asian factories). With these websites, there is a daily offer, usually at a big discount and some of my friends are religiously spying everyday for bargains.
What kind of offers you ask?
How does a a 6 course degustation menu for 2 including 2 glasses of wine each going for AUD65, original price of AUD198 sound?
The catch? The weekend bookings were all maxed out for months and so one weekday night we decided to brave the distance to Sanctuary Cove, up at Gold Coast. With the Wife having last minute working commitments, we decided her portion of food will be shared amongst the three of us.
We haven't read too good reviews of the place after we bought the voucher but heck, even if it was crap food, AUD32.50 was still a steal!
The decor looked the part of being a posh restaurant but the service was somewhat shaky from the beginning. From insisting that we couldn't use the vouchers because we didn't print it out from hearing the waiter telling guests that they are short staffed and they will have to wait quite a while for the food, it wasn't good.
I wonder what this man will say of the service and the food we had that night. That being said, there was no comments made from him other then a "best regards".
Sanctuary Cove is an area that smells of the rich. Luxury cars, yachts and houses are littered all over like rubbish being thrown on the streets of Malaysia.
Somewhat deceiving, the grilled ciabatta with garlic and thyme actually accounts for one of the six courses. The olive oil and the herb, not to mention the effects of the char grilling actually made this very good to munch on.
The first dish was a single prawn with a green paw paw salad. Other than the fact that the prawn was bland, the salad lacked dressing and it reminded me of a very amateur attempt of trying to replicate a thai green papaya salad. As a first proper dish, it was not a very good impression.
The Five Spices Pork Belly with Nashi Pear, Pickled Ginger Salad & Pear Puree was next. The last thing the sauce reminded me was of pear, rather it tasted like a peanut sauce used for Satay. The pork did not have the crackling i wanted and tastewise, it actually tasted a little foul which reminded me of the days in Adelaide where somehow the pork just had a bad stink to it. I was told that the taste is due to the fact that they do not castrate the pigs, myth or fact i wonder.
The Wild River Barramundi with Braised Fennel, Fine Herbs Salad & Blood Orange Butter Sauce was not consistent. My piece was rather dry and the skin over crisped while the 4th piece came just right. I liked the subtle sauce, if only it was a little thicker and a little more generous.
Somehow the disappointment continued with the Eye Fillet. The outer crust of the fillet tasted pre-cooked with the saviour of the juicy tender core. The mash though was creamy and smooth, something that i can't replicate, due to the fact that the Wife would scream if she ever see me put half a block of butter into a bowl of mash.
The dessert tasting plate did show some promise, the vanilla panna cotta tasted of vanilla bean but did not set while the rhubarb soup on top had a good contrast with the use of basil. The rocky road in the background did its job in curing the sweet tooth.
The service warmed up with the appearance of an old lady, very friendly with us, ensuring that all was alright, however i can see that service was erratic with only 3 visible staff manning the whole restaurant.
Whilst i could easily fault each dish on the degustation menu, it could have been easily to defend it by the one fact that everything with 2 glasses of wine had only cost us AUD32.50 each. To only spend even the equivalent of RM90 in Malaysia, you would be hard press to produce the above even at home. However, the portions are quite small and luckily the 4th portion was available for the three guys to fill up nicely.
AUD32.50 well paid but certainly not worth the AUD100 that it was meant to be unless the view of the yachts is actually worth that much.
Address and contact details:
Verdict: 3 stars out of 5 stars. Will i go again? Probably not unless they come up with such an offer, irresistible for bargain hunters like me.