I would like to live a life with no regrets. It should include some indulgence of the senses – new sights, colours and tastes, but none so disturbing to my moral compass that I can’t forgive myself. Instead, I’m content to live a life of minor indiscretions…like the occasional doughnut.
My love affair with doughnuts began with the jam doughnuts of a New Zealand childhood. Long and pudgy with a thick filling of freshly whipped cream and a long line of berry jam, they stole my heart; a decadent delight in a household of depression and war mentality food.
From time to time since then I’ve tasted doughnuts to die for; sublime creations of not-too-sweet yeasty goodness. The first bite almost overcomes me, yielding softly to the teeth, coating my lips with sweet sticky goodness. Time to pause and savour. No bite is as good as the first. After that, the law of diminishing returns kicks in.
Recently, however, The Doughnut Affair rekindled the flame.
But, if you’re like me, doughnuts fall under the shadow of the moral compass, placed firmly on one side of the ‘healthy vs indulgent’ spectrum.
It’s a commonly held belief acknowledged by Kurt Lehndorf when he set up The Doughnut Affair, a concept he’d been working on for two years. After his interest in top end doughnuts was first piqued in New York he realised that, in food terms, eating a doughnut was sometimes viewed as just as illicit as having an affair of the heart. Running with that idea, he set out to make his doughnuts as ‘naughty’ as possible – #doughnutsforgrownups with #noregrets.
With the help of Executive Pastry Chef Graciela Jonen, (ex-Otto Brisbane, Sofitel Gold Coast and Palazzo Versace), The Doughnut Affair offers an indulgent menu of doughnuts never before seen on the coast.
“First, we set out to make the dough perfect – light and crispy on the outside with a pillow of softness on the inside,” Kurt tells us. “Then we looked at flavour combinations that hadn’t been tried before: champagne strawberries and cream with candied rose petal, caramelised bacon with bourbon maple syrup glaze, chocolate hazelnut with ganache and praline, Malibu-laced pina colada, and The Tuscany – a breakfast doughnut of prosciutto, blue cheese, rocket and macadamia mascarpone. We wanted to push the boundaries of what a doughnut could be.”
Tailored from the moment you walk in the door, Kurt’s vision embodies a total sensual experience. Firstly, it’s visual. The sophisticated, elegant fitout provides a rich gold on white background against which a range of his luxe doughnuts are displayed under glass cloches. Dressed up in layers with top notches and extravagant additions, they’re creations of beauty, each one so different, as indulgent on the eye as on the palate.
In one corner, the coffee machines lead us into the second facet of experience: aroma, as coffee is prepared – Code Black, a strong chocolatey brew from Melbourne’s Joe Haddad, the only place its available on the coast.
Then, of course, we must make difficult choices and try the doughnuts. From sweet to savoury, we choose a selection and take the plunge to plunder and destroy their beauty in our attempt to try a piece of each.
My favourite? Surprisingly, it’s not the extravagant S’mores Doughnut with its dual-filled centre of dark-chocolate ganache and light chocolate mousse and top hat jumbo toasted marshmallow that lures me but a simple doughnut with yuzu and green tea glaze with a hint of lemon. I’m surprised, but its combination of fresh citrus and soft yeasty dough is irresistible.
Realising the need to keep up the intrigue, Kurt tells us of his plans for the future of the business with collaborations with other chefs and producers and new ‘limited edition’ flavours: “Watch out for truffles when they’re in season,” he says.
When the venue’s liquor license comes through, plans are to extend the business to a bar that takes up the whole ex-Fufu venue. A doughnut and champagne? Why not!
For now, though, I’m content with this affair of the palate, knowing I’ll return to taste other decadent treats. After all, as Kurt says, we can all afford “an affair on our healthy lifestyle. Regret nothing!”
2375 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Open: Wed 9am–4pm; Thurs 7am–8pm, Fri – Sun 7am–9pm