I have many fond memories of the Gold Coast but admittedly, they were always of the endless dreamy blue skies, the vast stretches of beaches, and the exhilaration of the theme parks. It was never really a viable sophisticated short break destination – that is, until now. The GC has been evolving and with Jupiter’s $345 million dollar renovations underway, I was invited to see exactly what everyone was talking about.

In terms of luxury, nothing ever beats seeing your name held up by a chauffeur at the airport. We were picked up in a sleek BMW 745i and whisked straight to Jupiter’s “Amalfi Coast cliff-top” restaurant, Cucina Vivo. The dazzling view of the shimmering new pool from the terrace certainly transported us to the Italian seaside.

 

Have you checked out our new outdoor terrace at #cucinavivogc 😍 #jupitersgc #italian

A photo posted by Jupiters Gold Coast (@jupitersgc) on

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Inside the restaurant, the focal point was the 2 metre wide wood-fired oven. We were surrounded by the warmth of large tables of families and friends feasting, one could easily forget the restaurant’s enormous 240-seat capacity!

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With the promise of Chef Matteo taking care of our tasting menu, we sat back with an antipasto plate and relaxed with a cocktail in hand. My Vivocious cocktail was a lively blend of Aperol and Disaronno, sweetened with honey, topped with San Pellegrino sparkling water and a sprig of rosemary. Zen’s Cinquanta-Cinquanta, meaning 50/50, combined in equal parts, the herbal flavours of both Aperol and Campari, with fresh peach puree.

The antipasto del salumiere ($18) was the absolute epitome of all antipastos. Every element was finely crafted to add texture and dimension, from the Sicilian and Ligurian olives to the pickled fennel, juicy roast cherry tomatoes, bresaola, salami, prosciutto and nduja. We grazed on this until the board was wiped clean.

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Next course was Cozze al Forno ($18), black mussels with pork sausage, garlic, tomatoes and white wine, with plentiful wedges of wood-fired bread for mopping up all the delicious broth. The addition of pork sausage to the marinara sauce really lifted the humble pot of mussel.

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Continuing the seafood theme, we moved onto the Gamberoni Spadellati ($29), brandy flamed king prawns with garlic, chopped cherry tomatoes and Italian parsley. We relished the rich intensity of the sauce and the freshness of the just-cooked prawns, but the actual lure here were the heads, which we contently sucked.

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Although we thought we had already reached the peak of the meal, Chef checked in with us to warn of the three signature dishes to come. Worried about the possible regret of missing out on savouring something unmissable, we said, bring it on.

Since becoming quite the pizza connoisseur, I could never pass on a well made pizza. You can tell when the dough has been given enough time to proof, and I simply love the subtle charred flavour from a wood-fired oven. Our Prosciutto e Arugula ($22) pizza featured all the signs of a great pizza with a perfect crust and chew, topped with the classic combination of tomatoes, buffalo milk mozzarella, prosciutto San Daniele, arugula and parmigiano shards.

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The housemade pastas were equally divine. The Tortelloni Ripieni ($20) consisted of pasta parcels filled with a lush combination of crab meat, ricotta and lemon zest, served with a very delicate green pea purée.

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The Saltimbocca alla Romana ($28) here is a refined take on a Roman classic made of veal lined with prosciutto and sage, cooked in white wine and butter. The prosciutto added a lovely salty umami to each bite. The accompanying kipfler potato wedges and broccolini were the perfect sides to this hearty dish.

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Onto dessert, the table-side theatrics of the grappa infused chocolate sauce being poured into our Cioccolato Rosso Ferrari ($11) had all the nearby tables captivated. Like the gratifying crack of a creme brulee, breaking into the Ferrari red chocolate sphere to reveal the pistachio crostata and stracciatella ice cream was as mesmerising.

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Cucina Vivo also have a rotating menu of housemade gelato, best sampled in the Flavours of Italy ($12) which includes mini serves of two gelati, tiramisu, zuppa inglese and panna cotta.

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We rolled upstairs to the comfort of a plush king bed and awoke to this stunning view:

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Stage 1 of Jupiters’ makeover included the reveal of their new pool so needless to say, I made sure I checked it out for you 😉

For the ultimate poolside indulgence, bungalows and cabanas can be exclusively reserved for private use. I loved how new everything felt! Basking in the warmth of the Queensland heat by the pool just brought me back to my time in Santorini.

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Although the transformation isn’t scheduled for completion until the end of 2016, another component already completed is the hotel facade’s paint work, which took some 12,000 litres of white paint applied over 8,000 hours!

It’s hard to take in the enormity of Jupiters’ until you’re viewing it from afar – or from the monorail.

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That afternoon, we took advantage of the convenience of the Gold Coast G:Link Light Rail and went beach hopping along it’s 13km corridor, all the way to sunny Surfers Paradise.

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So there you have it. The Gold Coast – there’s everything you could possibly want in a short break – sunshine, beaches, shopping, and now, good food.

Jupiters Hotel & Casino
Broadbeach Island, Gold Coast QLD
Phone: +61 7 5592 8100
Web: jupitersgoldcoast.com.au

Cucina Vivo
Lobby Level, Jupiters Hotel & Casino
Phone: +61 7 5592 8130
Web: jupitersgoldcoast.com.au/dining/Pages/Cucina-Vivo.aspx
Open for dinner daily from 5:30pm and lunch Fri-Sun from 12pm

Click to add a blog post for Cucina Vivo on Zomato

I Ate My Way Through travelled to the Gold Coast and dined as guests of Jupiters

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.