Southport’s star continues to rise with the opening of the Jasmine Room Chinese restaurant.
Owned by Chinese restaurant royalty, the Cheng family (ex-Landmark, Sunnybank), who also own the very successful Dragon Cove, Jasmine Room is situated on the second level of the Meriton Sundale building, Southport, overlooking the Broadwater.
In this peaceful, relaxed venue, diners can choose to sit inside or alfresco looking across to Marina Mirage. The venue’s three function rooms cater well for family or business groups; an excellent place to hold a meeting or private celebration with catering included.
The jasmine flower symbolises many things to different cultures, including love, beauty, sensuality and elegance. So different to the bold masculine vibe of Dragon Cove, it’s fitting that this feminine restaurant with its pictures of flowers and landscape should be overseen by May Cheng, who introduces her family’s latest restaurant to us.
“We wanted to bring great Chinese food closer to the Gold Coast population,” May tells us. “We’ve taken a more western perspective on good service and the environment here, but the food is authentic Cantonese.”
The two teams of chefs in the kitchen mostly originate from Hong Kong, one specialising in dim sum (with yum cha available daily), the other in à la carte.
It’s top draw authentic style yum cha, all MSG free from specialist chef Mr Hung, with a wide variety made daily in house, available from trolleys or ordered off the menu. The selection includes delicious spring rolls crammed with prawns and excellent xiao long bao, the scalding liquid filling bursting with flavour. It’s my ‘Ode to joy’, and one of the never fail tests of great yum cha, too often missing on Gold Coast menus.
Barbeque is another of Jasmin Room’s specialties, including excellent crispy skinned pork belly, Peking duck, and specially bred roast pigeon.
“Pigeon is the number one best seller in this restaurant,” manager Nelson Long confides, bringing the bird to the table, head included. “Pigeon’s a highly-prized dish in Hong Kong. Its taste is somewhere between a quail and a duck. First we marinate it in its own juices mixed with Chinese herbs, then it’s dried, lightly fried then roasted, making it juicy and flavoursome inside but with a really crispy skin. Delicious!”
He’s right, of course. It’s one of the most succulent meats we’ve tasted (more so even than their excellent duck), lightly spiced, the juices running down my chin.
Excellent also is the Black pepper steak. A specialty dish featured on the extensive à la carte menu, the marinated top grade beef is quickly cooked in the wok so it’s succulent and tender. Dotted with champignons, it’s a dish we’d return to time and again.
Like many of the best Chinese restaurants, there’s also a strong focus on seafood at the Jasmine Room. Live seafood including abalone, Alaskan king crab and lobster can be seen in tanks awaiting purchase, all highly prized by Chinese diners.
Let’s not forget dessert! The lychee coconut jelly with fresh almond biscuits is a fresh take on the well-loved coconut jelly, or the Chin churros (chocolate-filled spring rolls). This is one of only two places we know serving black sesame ice cream (the other being Etsu).
We noticed the wine room and bar as we entered, beers on tap with some Australian, international and Chinese wines, so we’re surprised to hear that The Jasmine Room allows BYO from Monday to Thursday. It’s a move which is sure to attract locals out mid-week to maximise everyday dining value.
“Our main market is locals, and perhaps some smaller tour groups,” May tells us. She adds that already a few tourists have found their way to the Jasmine Room from Surfers Paradise, but its location means that there is no passing foot traffic. This makes it a destination restaurant because people need to hear about it by word of mouth and make a special trip to dine here.
Set between Southport and Surfers business areas, Jasmine Room can seem a world away from the action. But with the light rail station only a few metres away and two hours’ free parking underneath the building, it’s easy to find. The lift from the car park arrives at the restaurant entrance. Jasmine Room will give you many things to enjoy: delicious authentic Cantonese food including many specialties, excellent gracious service and a great view of the Broadwater. It’s well worth the visit.
Sundale Level 1, 2 Como Crescent, Southport Ph: 07 5628 0470
Open: Mon – Sun, Yum Cha 11am – 3pm daily; Dinner 5pm – 10pm
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Jasmine Room.