Saturday, September 19, 2009

Songbirds Restaurant Review

It was 8pm, it had been a loooong day and T and I had just spent the last 1.5hours driving from Brisbane to Mt Tamborine and getting lost on the mountain in pitch black, trying to find the freakin' resort. Let me explain, it was our 5th Anniversary romantic getaway weekend and because T had meetings till 6pm that night, we were forced to start out journey A LEEEETLE later than we'd liked. We hadn't had anything to eat since lunchtime and needless to say, we were cranky and starving, not to mention the headache I got from his crazy driving up the mountain!!

So anyway, we finally found the place, parked in the parking lot and carried our bags to Reception (which turned out to be right next to the restaurant) only to find out that we had to get back into our car and drive 1 minute to our villa. T was pretty cranky that we had to carry our bags in and out but then again, that's just the way he is. So we got back into the car and drove to our villa (1 of 6 in the entire place) and did a quick look around before walking down a quaint little pathway lit up by lights back to the restaurant as we were told during check-in that the kitchen closed at 8.30pm!! By this time I had a pounding headache and felt nauseous (as I do when I really hungry) - this was NOT the way to start our romantic weekend!!

However, the bubbly waitress Jasmine and the friendly manager Justin were so professional and efficient and we got our bread rolls to start in a jiffy. Two bites into the soft, freshly homemade bread and my headache dissipated and things were starting to look up! We also got an amuse bouche of blue cheese in a cauliflower puree and macadamia nuts which was heavenly. I'm not usually a big fan of blue cheese but the cauliflower puree and macadamias cut through the strong taste of the cheese and it was a pleasant taste sensation indeed.

We ordered the Sashimi of Hiramasa Kingfish and a dozen oysters (half natural, half with Tobiko, finger lime caviar and wasabi foam) for entrees. The sashimi dish was just beautiful - fresh and tangy - and we were left wanting more whereas the oysters were fresh and the unique dressing was something different. I loved them, T.. not so much! After that, we got a palate cleanser of mango and pineapple sorbet which I think was okay.. and could be a little bit more interesting, more sophisticated.
For mains, I was tossing up between the Crisp Skinned Tasmanian Salmon and the Assiette of Lamb and eventually went with the latter because let's face it, I'm a lamb person.. T went for the Confit Duck Leg and I must say, it was the winner of the night!! The duck leg was succulent and the skin oh-so-crispy and it also came with a forest mushroom pithivier that was absolutely divine - crammed full of mushrooms, the pastry was light and fluffy and it had just the right amount of saltiness. I wasn't impressed with the lamb dish, nothing on it really stood out for me so we ended up switching plates of course! I kind of wished that I tried the salmon instead. But oh well, you can't win 'em all!

And now for my favourite part, DESSERT!!! I was almost certainly going for the Valhrona Chocolate Tart and I knew T was definitely going for the Passionfruit Souffle (because that's just what he does) but Justin came on over to our table to refill T's glass of wine and I asked him what HIS favourite dessert was. The answer? The Madagascan Vanilla Fudge.. It's not usually the kind of thing I'd order but I agreed to give it a try and YOU KNOW WHAT?! I'm soooo glad I did!! I loved every single bit of it! It came with rice crispy crunches, compressed strawberries and witches chase goats curd ice cream - O..MI..GODDDD!! It was devastatingly yummy. Every element on the plate just worked together so well and one spoonful with a little bit of everything on it was just to die for. T's souffle looked beeeautiful, rising up soo high and the colour was dreamy.. texture was soft and the chocolate sauce was awesome but I thought it was just a teensy bit too eggy for me. Of course, I'm not the biggest souffle fan around and T DID love it :)

So all in all, that first night was a HUGE success in that we arrived cranky, hungry, in pain and it turned us around into a happy, smiling, nodding-after-each-bite couple. But ahh.. the story isn't over yet! We had our SECOND night at Songbirds Restaurant as well!! I'll keep it short, we HAD to have the bread rolls again cos they were yummylicious! We also ordered an ENTREE-sized portion of the blue cheese amuse bouche that we had the inght before because we loved it so much AND we got a different amuse bouche that night!! It was a little chilli garlic prawn that was sooo cute and tasted swell :) We also got the an entree of the kingfish sashimi for EACH of us and we both ordered the duck again for our mains. The palate cleanser was the same ho-hum sorbet and now... CRUNCH-TIME!! Dessert again.. What should I do?! Should I try something DIFFERENT? Like the Valrohna dish that I wanted the night before?? ....... No, I just HAD to have the Madagascan Vanilla Fudge AGAIN. You know why?? I'd been thinking about it AAAALLLL daay and I just had to have it one more time. In fact, I've been thinking about it ever since we left that place and that was a week ago! Aaargh! Someone get me to Songbirds now pleeeze!

So as you can see, we LOVED the restaurant. The food was absolutely amazing, thanks to the wonderful head chef Trent Dawson. The wine list was extensive and the service impeccable. As we were checking out at the 3rd day, Justin was in the midst of printing out new menus for the restaurant and I'm glad to see that they're keeping things current. I really wish they were in Brisbane so I could go back there over and over again. Very very highly recommended.

Rating: 8/10

Songbirds Rainforest Retreat
Tamborine Mountain Road
P.O. Box 275
North Tamborine
Queensland 4272

Telephone: 07 5545 2563

Lunch: Wednesday to Sunday - bookings essential
Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday evenings - bookings essential

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