Palazzo Versace, honoured as Australasia’s Leading Hotel in the World Travel Awards 2015, recently unveiled a fresh look for its bespoke accommodation, a new transportation service featuring two Rolls Royce Phantoms, and a dining rejuvenation, to offer a distinctive world class dining experience.
Welcomed by the hotel’s General Manager, Mr Subash Basrur, we were delighted to dine at Vanitas, Palazzo Versace’s signature restaurant, to taste the new menu.
Heading up Vanitas’ rejuvenation is Chef de Cuisine Australian-born Dayan Hartill-Law who honed his skills in the kitchens of Sydney’s three hatted restaurant Quay, and two Michelin-starred restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, London before coming to Vanitas.
Dayan outlined his philosophy for Vanitas at a dinner celebrating the launch:
“Our aim is to push the boundaries of creativity, offering a bespoke dining experience to ignite the six senses,” (the sixth sense being the sense of emotion). Employing the locavore principle, Vanitas’ evolving menu celebrates the best sustainable seasonal produce from the Gold Coast area, matched with locally produced wines.
Our degustation dinner of eight dishes carried Dayan’s ‘whimsical techniques and often playful cooking’ to the table. The sense of unexpected began with the table decoration: a golden onion bedded down in its own pine forest floating in an eerie mist. The menu carries some of the best and most exotic fruits of sea and forest: kingfish with a dab of XO, delicious toothfish with spiced sweet potatoes and sea succulents, Wagyu beef cheek with star anise sauce…
However, it’s the intriguing surprise of savoury sweet which capped off the experience. Bringing a ‘Hestonesque’ twist, the ‘Çhocolate + Espresso + Jerusalem Artichoke’ sweet contained artichoke cooked in three ways to achieve a delectable savoury dessert.
Most intriguing was the ‘Foie Rocher’ (inspired by Italian chocolatier Ferrero’s confections, the chef’s handmade version is filled with a savoury foie gras ganache) as well as the Cauliflower Cornetto (cauli ice cream in a chocolate waffle cone with peanut meringue). These dishes showed incredible skill, creativity and playfulness; a sense of fun!
Sommelier Megan Cox had chosen a local wine to be paired with each dish, Robert Channon’s Verdelho and Witches Fall Wild Ferment Chardonnay among them. Most exquisite was Sirromet’s St Jude’s Road, Monopole, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, an elegant single vineyard Granite Belt wine with a tobacco leaf and cedar bouquet, and a full mouth hit of dark berry and cassis. It’s an exceptional wine which sits easily amongst the best Australia has to offer.
No dining experience is complete without an ambient environs, Vanitas’ being the ultimate in understated luxury. From the floor of mosaics and marble from Carrara, Italy, to the 13-metre canvas wall, the painting inspired by Gianni Versace’s book Do Not Disturb, diners sit in intimate surroundings looking out through floor to ceiling glass to Versace’s sparkling lagoon pool.
Whether you opt for a three course menu or indulge in Vanitas’ six-course degustation, dining in this luxury hotel is a very special, intimate experience.
Palazzo Versace, 94 Seaworld Dr, Main Beach Ph: 07 5509 8000
DISCLAIMER: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Palazzo Versace. Further details of Vanitas’ menu can be found on Palazzo Versace’s Vanitas information page.
CREDIT: Some photos supplied by Versace.