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A summer of mezcal

(From left to right: Smoke and Mirrors, Sunset Mez, Spicy Senorita, Mezcalerno)

Mezcal, maybe you’re not familiar with it yet, but you soon will be. As the new ‘it’ drink of the summer (gin’s had its moment guys), we’re happy to educate you first and get you started!

Do you like tequila? Or at least within a margarita (the shots were a good idea at the time no doubt)? Well, tequila is part of the mezcal family. All mezcal’s come from agave plants and tequila is just one type of plant (agave tequilana). There are many other varieties of agave plants, so welcome to the mezcal family, it’s time you try some of the others.

Mezcal is typically smokier than it’s tequila counterpart, so may be a questionable choice on first sip, but stick with it, it’s like the first time you tried oysters and look where you are now.

This sexy soulmate to tequila has a distinct palate of spicy earthiness, to intense, fruity notes. Originating in Mexico (love you…), mezcal is not only rich in flavor, but equally rich in history.

Legend has it that mezcal was created when a lightning bolt struck an agave plant, which cooked and opened the plant, before releasing the liquid inside. Cool story Hans, we’ll take it.

It’s no secret that mezcal is having a moment, so Nineteen at The Star’s cocktail specialists Jordan Maguire and Nate Tsujikawa have collaborated on six heavenly, new mezcal offerings that will have you sipping smoky all summer long.

First try the ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ mezcal cocktail, shaken with watermelon juice, lime, fennel syrup and volcanic black salt. Already sweet enough?

Try the ‘Mezcalerno,’ mixed with blood orange liqueur, cinnamon syrup and orange – its 5pm somewhere, right?

But if you’re looking for something a little more spicy (much like our Mexican couterparts), don’t go past the ‘Spicy Senorita’ with Cointreau, agave, strawberry, lime and a jalapeño to spice it up.

Nineteen at The Star‘s mezcal cocktails are being served now and await your tick of approval.

Bons fun fact – Mezcal is pronounced ME-SCAL – the ‘z’ is pronounced ‘s’.

The Star Gold Coast

Nineteen at The Star

Picture this: you’re 19 floors up nestled into a plush velvet booth overlooking the Broadbeach cityscape with the ocean sparkling invitingly in the background. At your back is a low-lit kitchen, the length of the restaurant, where you can watch some of the best chefs in the world working their magic.

With a glass of Ruinart champagne fizzing softly in front of you, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had stepped off the elevator and into one of New York’s finest establishments.

Not so. Nineteen at The Star is the epitome of understated sophistication and the restaurant slash bar slash nightclub has taken the Gold Coast’s dining scene to a whole new level (the nineteenth in fact) since its recent unveiling.

The food, of course, is what we’re here to discuss and should you feel like treating yourself to an unrivalled dining experience, this is the place to do just that.

Begin with caviar because a. if you’ve never tried it before, why not start with the best and b. if you have, why not start with the best. Nineteen source their Russian Beluga Caviar sustainably through the Caviar Ambassador for Australia.

Head Chef Kelvin Andrews suggests spooning the caviar onto the back of your hand and allowing it to warm to room temperature before tasting to bring out the flavours (of which there are many). It’s a difficult experience to explain but one that you must try for both deliciousness and eating-from-your-hand-in-a fancy-restaurant purposes.

Foie Gras is a dish some of us had not had the pleasure of sampling but what a pleasure it was. Kelvin and the team serve their corn-fed, Roast Highland Duck with a hint of wasabi, sprayed with organic soy sauce and topped with an onion ghost (yes, that’s as fun as it sounds). There are snack and main options so choose your own adventure.

The Tasmanian Rock Lobster Bolognese entree has quickly become a popular dish because it’s all the good things in the world. The shell is roasted over fire for up to four days to create some incredible smoky flavours (among other techniques that ensure the utmost deliciousness). It’s a game changer, you won’t want to go past that one.

A Peking and White Duck dish is served with golden hazelnuts and while we do love all of the foods, this one was a favourite. Particularly because you can add the creamiest, tastiest mashed potato there has ever been. No exaggeration. It’s called fifty-fifty because it’s half butter and half potato. Yes. It. Is. Feed us that every day for the rest of our lives please and thank you.

Dessert lovers aren’t left out with White Chocolate and Caviar the must-try dish. Yes you read that correctly (don’t forget salted caramel was once a foreign concept too). Single origin white chocolate from Ecuador is transformed into ice cream and topped with Caviar smoked with applewood and drizzled with gold flake-infused olive oil made right here in Burleigh. Nineteen at The Star are the first venue in Queensland to boast this magical elixir and the only one on the Gold Coast. Eat it.

Sustainability and minimal wastage are the name of the game here and the team work closely with local farmers to ensure the highest quality produce is available at all times.

The bar menu is equally impressive with, of course, only the highest quality ingredients on offer.

Nineteen have also carefully selected creative cocktails with equally thought-provoking names. One of which pays homage to the Gold Coast’s Aboriginal heritage using the original name of Broadbeach Island, Loch Door. Who knew?

That’s a lot of words to describe an experience that is, quite simply, indescribable. Nineteen at The Star is elegant and refined with every single detail perfectly executed.

World-class dining, right here on the Gold Coast, what’ll they think of next.

(Love you fifty-fifty).

LOCATION: Level 19, The Darling at The Star Gold Coast, Casino Dr, Broadbeach
HOURS: From 12pm Wednesday to Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Garden Kitchen & Bar

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