There’s a feeling of excitement when travelling, entering a new town and seeing a market set up in the square. Not only is there the stimulation of lush sights, sounds and colours, perhaps we will also discover something completely new.
Bazaar at QT Gold Coast embodies the concept of an interactive marketplace comprising ‘help yourself’ displays and chef-manned food stations, a bustling hive of culinary activity that steers our imagination to faraway places.
When we arrive, we have a brief tour of the displays before our waiter Adrian takes drink orders and offers to deliver steamed dumplings as starters. It’s one of two dishes served to the table, the other being 6-week-aged Sirloin steak.
This table service is a nice touch, indicative of the attentive service we’ll receive throughout the evening. It gives us time to settle, look around and relax before exploring the choices.
Bazaar is up there with the best food stations we’ve experienced. It recreates a Moroccan marketplace; a ‘mosaic’ of dishes spanning from Asia to Australia. With many foods which play on both ‘beach holiday’ and ‘bazaar’, this is concept dining built on the dual theme of a bustling food market set in a “nostalgic surfer chic” seaside town.
For us it contains mostly ‘known’ foods from the cuisines of Asia, the Mediterranean, Morocco and the Middle East. It’s a sampling of food from cultures familiar to the Western world, with little extreme adventure for the seasoned diner. Most diners could venture far enough to be a little adventurous without being thrown into unfamiliar territory and most international tourists would easily find food to suit their palate.
Locally sourced and made to order, the Asian corner features a tower of bamboo baskets filled with dim sum and pork buns, with stir fry dishes made on the spot by Chef Paul; a choose-your-own seafood station shows a bounty of Australian crustaceans – spanner crab and local prawns from QT’s own trawler, mussels and Sydney rock oysters. Wood-fired pizza is also made to order. To one side, diners strip the luscious meat from a whole salt-baked salmon; pulled pork begs stuffing into make-your-own sliders, or Group Executive Chef Justin Zammit can carve you a piece of lamb, fresh from the spit roast.
Interaction with the chefs is a must, asking questions about the produce, seeking information about each dish. It’s all locally-sourced meat, Justin tells us, the lamb from North NSW and pork from a small Darling Downs farm, produced especially for QT. Rabbit and goat are also possibilities for future menu, he tells us. Organic salads dressed with herbs from the hotel’s rooftop garden are laid out on display, and to finish the meal there’s an abundance of desserts as well as an ice cream stand with vintage lollies.
It’s all tastefully arranged as a rustic visual feast for the senses, the open kitchen bustling with activity producing food to order, the displays abundant with a multitude of food choices. There’s tons of colour, clever cultural detailing in each station to give context to the dishes, a glass-fronted charcuterie showing off hung ageing meat yet to be carved, display cupboards of pantry items defining spaces, and chic vintage kitchen items giving points of interest.
Some dishes are sensational, others very good, but it’s the wide selection of food that makes Bazaar so popular, with dishes changing nightly to accommodate returning hotel guests. It’s a fine line to tread in culinary terms as well as in service in this bustling restaurant, with the set price reflecting a three course meal elsewhere.
Dinner at Bazaar would suit an interactive dinner for two, a family feast or a casual business dinner.
While some may wistfully wish their food was delivered to the table, that would miss the point. It’s much more fun to dive in, interact with the chefs, embrace the learning curve and ‘choose your own adventure’. After all, that’s the point, isn’t it?
You can certainly let your imagination wander as you delight in the array of choices on offer at this upbeat international food bazaar.
7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise Ph: 07 5584 1200
Breakfast: Adults $38, Kids $21
Lunch: Adults $59, Kids $29
Dinner: Adults $72, Kids $29
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of QT on this occasion.