There’s something special about making a journey to country, especially when a table of food plucked straight from the garden awaits. There, surrounded by rainforest, there’s a sense of ‘groundedness’; a sense of place, with food ‘in situ’.
Songbirds has always had that special destination vibe. Barely a thirty-minute drive from the centre of the Gold Coast, Songbirds is one of our most lauded restaurants, the winner of numerous awards and even ‘Restaurant of the Year’ within its twenty-year history. Without doubt, it’s one of our most beautiful venues as well.
Under a passionate new owner, the newly renovated Songbirds invites diners and guests to immerse themselves in the rainforest resort’s hyperlocal paddock-to-plate dining experience overseen by the chef of several Michelin star restaurants.
The addition of acclaimed chef Meyjitte Boughenout to the iconic restaurant is part of a total renovation of Songbirds Retreat, the seven-time hat winner of the prestigious Australian Good Food Guide Awards, its run of recognition continuing in 2020 with the award of two hats.
“It has been my dream to create a fine dining experience that showcases and celebrates the beauty of the Tamborine Mountain and allows us to serve exceptional, organic food that we are really passionate about,” says Chef Meyjitte.
“We want to experiment with flavours and textures, have fun with sustainable ingredients and take our guests on an unforgettable culinary journey.
At the same time, our menu, which includes à la carte and a six-course and eight-course degustation, is ever-evolving, based on the freshly-picked, seasonal food we grow,” he says, referring to Songbirds’ own gardens and local farms from which the restaurant’s produce is sourced.
Food lovers will be familiar with Meyjitte’s culinary reputation. After heading the kitchen of two Michelin star Scholteshof in Belgium, Meyjitte worked at several two and three-Michelin star rated restaurants in France before arriving in Australia in 1995. Ten years later, he had moved from Head Chef at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Executive Chef of Tasmania’s two-hatted Franklin Manor to establish Absynthe at Q1 on the Gold Coast, the eatery later named as Australia’s top regional restaurant by Gourmet Traveller in 2007.
From his new kitchen overlooking the rainforest and gardens beyond, Meyjitte produces inventive culinary creations that delight and surprise seasoned foodies. His dishes emerge as a delicious parade: sparkling seasonal produce prepared with great technique, presented with panache.
If flavour is king, then presentation is queen and we are the fortunate recipients of the gardens’ abundant gifts via the hands of the chef.
Described simply on the menu, the food is anything but.
‘Frozen peas’ proves to be an intense sorbet of fresh garden peas and miso set off by the peppery bite of a fresh nasturtium flower.
‘Heirloom tomato/vanilla’ describes only two components of a beautiful dish: two translucent vegan ravioli encasing baby heirloom tomatoes and tomato oil served with cauliflower purée and dehydrated tomatoes; their garden bed boundary set by a ring of vanilla-laced extra virgin olive oil.
Songbirds’ menu is complemented by an extensive wine list comprising over seventy labels from both boutique Australian producers and overseas. The cellar includes premium rare boutique Australian wines, sustainable minimal intervention wines, difficult to procure world spirits, whiskeys and cognacs. Pairing of food and beverages is overseen by internationally experienced sommelier Alex Menzies, whose knowledge and tableside service are exceptional.
With the restaurant transformed in elegant charcoal-clad hues, the shimmering greenery of surrounding rainforest pops in vibrancy. It’s part of a total renovation for the Tamborine Mountain establishment which will include building two additional villas to enhance the luxury accommodation offering, their stand-out features including a fully suspended 360-degree fireplace handmade in the south of France.
Newly clad in a colour palette that emphasises the surrounding rainforest, Songbirds offers guests serenity far away from city stress. For romance or just for pure indulgence, it’s well worth the short journey to experience Songbirds’ new life. It’s a feast for the eyes and palate.
NOTE: Songbirds offers à la carte lunch dining Thursday to Sunday, with dinner Thursday to Saturday including à la carte and degustation menus.
Offers include ‘Leave it to the chef’ 3 courses Thursday to Saturday $55.
CREDIT: Chef profile photo by @sensorysavours
Lot 10, Tamborine Mountain Rd, North Tamborine, Ph: 07 5545 2563
Note: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Songbirds.