Food review and gallery: JW Marriott’s Australian debut

158 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise Ph: 07 5592 9800

The Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa has always been the timeless ‘grande dame’ of Gold Coast hotels. Following her $35 million rejuvenation in 2020, she is the first Australian hotel to enter an exclusive club, the Marriott International’s flagship JW Marriott brand. Complete with a new name, the JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, her elegance sets a new standard of luxury for discerning travellers, “…a haven designed to allow guests to focus on feeling whole – present in mind, nourished in body, and revitalized in spirit.”

Keeping some of her most loved features, such as the grand staircase and the swaying rattan fans, the tropical feel of the hotel remains. What is far more apparent now, though, is the sophistication of the refurbished venue and its commitment to sustainability relevant to a new age of eco-tourism.

We were invited to experience a culinary journey through the hotel, experiencing food from two of its restaurants and taking a guided tour of its kitchen garden.

Our dinner begins in the new Misono whisky bar. While the wildly popular theatrical dining experience of Misono teppanyaki bar remains, a new outdoor terrace ties this third-floor venue into its surrounding countryside, offering views of the hinterland. To a Japanese drum performance and the introduction of Misono’s Head Chef Henry Bongay, sushi and sashimi appetisers lead the way into the menu accompanied by Japanese-inspired cocktails.

Next, recently appointed Executive Chef Paul Smart (ex-SO Sofitel Bangkok, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and The Ritz London) takes us on a tour of the JW Garden, produce gardens located behind Citrique’s kitchen. Sustainability is a key philosophy of the hotel, with waste from the kitchens recycled via a worm farm to fuel herb gardens cropped to use in the hotel’s kitchens.

Then we return to Citrique Restaurant, the ‘cornerstone’ of the hotel’s dining options, keen to experience the menu’s new direction of paddock to plate. In its interactive kitchen, Citrique places fresh local produce at the heart of its menu. It features à la carte and degustation menus from Monday to Wednesday nights, the restaurant retaining the ever-popular buffet from Thursday to Saturday where diners can interact with the chefs.

In a beautifully paced journey, we are treated to a five-course degustation of delectable food, not overworked or pretentious, but beautifully crafted and presented, full of contrasting textures and nuanced flavours, each course accompanied by a fine wine.

The first course of Yellowtail kingfish sashimi carries the Asian flavours of coriander, mint, shallots, lemongrass and lime. Tapioca and black sesame seed crisps provide a balance in texture, the course accompanied by a glass of Moet.

Next, a single Moreton Bay bug dumpling floats effortlessly in an Asian-inspired broth, its depth boasting a slow-cooked richness of flavour.  The diner’s choice of a glass of the well-structured Eden Valley Heggie’s Riesling or Cloudy Bay’s popular Sauvignon Blanc is served with this course.

Snow Fish (also known as Patagonian Toothfish) is stunningly presented in a sweet miso sauce, accompanied by roast cauliflower. It’s matched to a glass of Red Claw Chardonnay by Mornington Peninsula’s Yabby Lake, or the crisp aromatic textures of a Sortesele Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC from Italy.

Main course is Beef tenderloin, cooked to perfection sous vide, with a baton of confit potato and pumpkin sauce, the full-bodied berry cassis-like Penfolds Bin 407 from 2018 a worthy accompaniment.

We finish the meal with ‘A Citrus Illusion’ – a perfectly formed orange shell filled with a light mousse-surrounded berry centre. It’s perfection on a plate, paired with one of Australia’s most awarded wines, the honeyed botrytis-affected Semillon, De Bortoli’s Noble One.

Classic and elegant, there are few degustation experiences better than this. It’s certainly an experience fitting for such a grand modern hotel.

NOTE: The 5-course degustation is available from Monday to Wednesday evenings as part of the à la carte menu. Cost is $120pp. Blank dined as a guest of JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa.

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