It’s fitting for GOMA restaurant to be located in the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art because every element of this two-hatted restaurant (courtesy of the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide) channels the spirit of creativity, innovation and vibrancy in the gallery that surrounds it, while also highlighting the best of local produce. This is a must-visit for special occasions, especially if you schedule it in conjunction with a great exhibition. For me, personally, there aren’t too many better ways to spend an evening! The restaurant, located at the very back of the gallery, features all my favourite elements: high ceilings, crisp and simple furnishings, a huge abundance of natural light (courtesy of floor-to-ceiling glass walls with greenery outside) and some beautiful, slightly quirky decor.
Our amuse-bouche was the Towri farm Eweghurt, caviar and crayfish. Yes, Eweghurt. Our entire table pondered the word for quite awhile before the pun game finally clicked, to general groans (for the unenlightened, Eweghurt is yoghurt made from sheep’s milk. Hah). This was a tiny bomb of flavours and textures to whet the appetite appropriately for the meal to come. The Eweghurt was a delicate blend of acidity, creaminess and sweetness, which brought out the sweetness of the crayfish slivers and enhanced the salty seafood umami of the caviar. The slivers of fragrant, crunchy prawn crackers rounded off the dish in texture and taste.
The generosity of portions on my Moreton Bay Bug with apple, almond foam, beach greens, lilly pilly ($28) entree was such that it almost felt like a main. This is definitely a dish for summer months, a delicate and subtle blend of light, refreshing flavours. The almond foam and beach greens created a herby, nutty flavour that was counterbalanced by the sweet crunch of the apple slices and the slightly tart note of the lilly pilly berry. They all worked overtime to highlight the flavours of the Moreton Bay Bug meat, which was fresh and robust. This was probably my favourite dish of the lot, and that is truly saying something.
My main was the duck, with quandong, winter leaves ($42), and you only have to look at the dish to appreciate the artistry that went into its plating. Inspired by Pínot Noir, this is a rich, smoky and decadent dish that takes full advantage of the earthy flavour of mushroom, which is a theme running through it. The melt-in-your-mouth mushroom paper that looks like a piece of bark was the definite highlight, an explosion of vivid, smoky flavour that managed to be sweet and caramel-like, as well as bursting with savoury umami. The tenderly cooked duck was laid on a bed of mushroom soil, which was blended in a food processor and dampened with a sweet red wine reduction. Little creamy globs of sauce also incorporated vivid mushroom flavours. The winter greens, with their slight bitterness, helped to cut through the richness. The only thing I might have liked more is a little more crunch on the duck skin, but I’m just being spoiled at this point.
It was almost too much to stomach dessert at this point but the second dessert stomach was quickly engaged as the Macadamia dessert ($19) was placed in front of me. Featuring a combination of macadamia, coffee, anise myrtle and burnt meringue. You have not lived until you’ve tried the burnt meringue flakes, which were simply divine as an impossibly soft, melt-in-your-mouth burst of complex burnt caramel and coffee flavours. It’s almost an aerated, abridged summary of the rest of the dessert itself, which is a ice-cream-ball-sized blend of crushed macadamia nuts, caramel shards and coffee creme. It was a tad too sweet for my palate at that point, but I’m sure I would have polished the dish off with gusto on another (hungrier) occasion. I also got a taste of GOMA restaurant’s signature wattleseed custard ($19), presented as a gorgeously minimalist chocolate-dusted plate, inspired by Aboriginal art. You’ll have to see for yourself exactly how to eat the dessert. The flavour is subtle and complex, at once softly sweet and nutty.
We finished with coffee and tea and even there, I found myself falling a little in love with the honeydew green tea by Tea Drop, which added a natural note of sweet fragrance to the soothing, detoxing flavour of green tea. Not to mention the great tea sets that GOMA restaurant boasts.
Each dish from GOMA restaurant is deceptively effortless, hiding a careful and innovative dance of culinary elements and flavours on each plate, as much a work of art as the paintings and scrolls outside. This the restaurant deserves its assorted accolades. Brisbanites, you have something very special on your hands – start saving for that next big occasion. My online advice is to get in before the lines get too long!
Stanley Place, South Brisbane,
Ph: (07) 3842 9916
Web: GOMA Restaurant
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of GOMA Restaurant and AirTrain QLD