Things are getting a little bit fancy up Mt Tamborine way folks and it’s because of a venue you probably already know and love, that has received quite the revamp recently.
Songbirds has been a part of the mountain’s foodie community for quite some time but in the last few weeks the rainforest-shrouded space has been taken over and transformed into something really quite special.
European-style furnishing and a palette highlighting the colours of the rainforest enticing guests seeking an unforgettable experience far away from our bustling city.
Acclaimed international Chef Meyjitte Boughenout has taken the reigns in the kitchen, creating a fine dining experience based on a paddock to plate style of eating and with 70% of the produce sourced from Songbirds’ own garden.
The entire restaurant, both Michelin starred and seven-time winner of the Australian Good Food & Travel Guide Hat Award, has been completely overhauled with the intention of putting Mt Tamborine at the forefront of the culinary industry.
The menu includes both a la carte and six and eight course degustation options with a focus on sustainable ingredients and based on fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Dishes set to push the boundaries of taste expectations include goats’ cheese, charred leek and licorice gel; black Russian tomato, vanilla and crispy parmesan; ocean trout, ginger and pickled Nasturtium flower; quail kumquat and soy curd; or venison, cured raspberry and foie gras. Fancy.
An extensive wine list is made up of over 90 labels from both Australia and overseas including sustainable, biodynamic wines along with fine whiskeys and cognacs and stunning cocktails. No matter what you’re into, you’ll be absolutely chuffed.
If you’re a fan of food (yes, hello), you may be aware of Chef Meyjitte’s impressive rap sheet.
Leading the two Michelin star hotel and restaurant Scholteshof in Belgium and awarded best new chef in 1995, Meyjitte worked in France, at two and three-Michelin star rated restaurants before arriving in Australia in 1995.
Initially taking up a position as head chef at the luxury Ritz-Carlton Hotel, he went on to work at top Sydney restaurants before heading up the historic Franklin Manor in Tasmania and in 2005, he established Absynthe at Q1 on the Gold Coast, with the eatery later being named as Australia’s top regional restaurant by Gourmet Traveller in 2007.
Absynthe went on to be named Best Queensland Restaurant for several years, awarded two hats in the Good Food Guide, three hats in the Courier Mail, and was featured in Food Safari with Maeve O’Meara. Remember that place? What a time.
So yes, that’s a lot of exceptional things isn’t it?
Of course you can (and absolutely should) stay in one of the five-star villas overlooking the rainforest after having consumed one of the very best meals of your life and probably copious wines too. There are two newbies and they are absolutely luxury.
Songbirds offers à la carte lunch dining Thursday to Sunday, with dinner Thursday to Saturday including a la carte and degustation menu.
LOCATION: Lot 10 Tamborine Mountain Rd, Tamborine Mountain
HOURS: Lunch from Thursday to Sunday and dinner Thursday to Saturday
They say strength is born from adversity and that is certainly the case for the Sowter family, Mt Tamborine locals who lost their family home, restaurant and gallery in a devastating fire on New Years Eve of 2016.
The Polish Place was one of Tambo, and indeed the Gold Coast and surrounding areas’, most-loved restaurants due to their exceptional Polish menu, stunning hinterland views and everyone’s-part-of-the-family hospitality.
The restaurant and adjoining accommodation were built from scratch (and with a whole lot of love) by Phil and Ania Sowter in the early 1980’s and although the loss was obviously a devastating one, we bring you extremely good news.
The Polish Place is in the final stages of building and the brand new restaurant is set to open this week and we could not be more excited for the Sowter family and ourselves (and you), who now get to eat all of the Polish food, all of the time once again.
Before we get to the menu though, let’s chat scenery and as you’d know, having no doubt visited Mt Tamborine on many occasions, there are very few places that don’t offer breathtaking views and The Polish Place is no exception.
Overlooking the Scenic Rim (mountains as far as the eye can see) and with an outdoor area that’s home to countless colourful Rosella’s and filled with homegrown greenery, it’s one of the most relaxing spots we’ve ever encountered and you’ll probably have a hard time leaving to be honest.
Now let’s talk Polish feasts and the very best advice we can give you is to arrive hungry and prepare yourself for some absolutely incredible flavours.
Ania has brought the most delicious homemade recipes from her native Poland and perfected them over the last 35(ish) years. The flavours are traditional, fresh and comforting and everything is made onsite.
The most popular dish, and the one The Polish Place has become famous for, is the Roast Duck for two with cherries. Those simple words don’t even begin to describe the love and life-changing flavours that make up this dish but you can expect soft, twice-cooked duck with not only cherries but apples baked inside and resulting in a sweet, mouthwatering dish that you’ll likely never forget.
Not only that though, we absolutely adored the Bigos (sauerkraut), Polish sausage, Pork Hock and a tomato soup with egg noodles that was the best we’ve ever tried.
There’s an extensive range of Polish beers, vodkas and local and Australian wines to complement the menu and everything can be enjoyed in front of the fire (season permitting) or out on the deck with the wildlife.
It’s been over two years in the making but the time has finally come to welcome The Polish Place back into the fold and once those doors do swing open, you better get in quick. Not a day has passed that the venue hasn’t received a call requesting an opening date.
Do yourself a favour and pay The Polish Place a visit ASAP, it’s famous for very good reason folks.
LOCATION: 333 Main Western Road, Mt Tamborine
Words and photos by Kirra Smith