Piggy goes to GC for Christmas

Shop 13 Lido Arcade, 24 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise
07 5538 7816

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Merry Christmas y’all!  As I was in Brisbane visiting parents during Christmas, what would be a better X’mas present to my parents than spending Xmas day in Gold Coast?  I went on Wotif.com to see if there are any mystery hotel deals, but most are sold out except for the 5 star one 😦  Sadness!  But that’s OK, I thought I’d splurge for my parents.  We ended up in Hilton Surfer Paradise which was overall a great hotel.

For lunch, we went to Amimoto, a Japanese place famous for their fresh sashimi.  My BFF Monkylicious took me there a year or two ago for takeaway sushi, and I wanted to go back ever since.  Funnily enough, Amimoto didn’t leave me a very good first impression.  We arrived approx 20 mins before the joint open at noon, and had to wait in the arcade walkway.  The walkway was super narrow and stinks of pee.  And as one other blogger, The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar described, it’s like rape alley.  But once I tasted the sushi, everything changed.  The sushi was super fresh and I couldn’t wait to go back.  So here we are, on Christmas Day.

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My parents were super hungry, so we ordered gyoza, three set meals plus sashimi.  I couldn’t believe that we ordered so much! Although the “set meals” only really came with miso soup, the portion was still quite huge.  The gyoza was delicious.  Perfectly cooked with more vegies than pork.  Just the way I like it!

IMG_4167 [640x480] Mum ordered a california roll thing, with salmon, prawns, avocado and fish roe.  I thought the roll was ok, nothing special.

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I wanted desperately to order a sea urchin and fish roe on top of rice, but sadly they ran out of sea urchin!  Sadness!  So I ordered chirashi sushi instead.  When it came, my sadness and yearning for sea urchin flew out of the window.  This chirashi sushi was SUPER fresh!  The sashimi, the rice, the flavours are pretty perfect, to have something like this in a dinghy arcade was definitely out of my expectations.  It might not be as fresh as what you can get in Hokkaido, but it’s pretty damn close!

IMG_4166 [640x480]Dad got a sushi set and once again, all the fish were super fresh.  I got really annoyed though cos dad couldn’t finish this.  He ate about 3 pieces and then ate two more pieces of the fish and left the rice, which was such a waste.  I was especially annoyed because I then saw the poor sushi chef, Mr Amimoto sat down tiredly behind the sushi counter and his wife (?!) was massaging him cos he looked so tired.  It wasn’t that Dad thought that the food wasn’t good, it just that he was too busy eating the delicious sashimi below and gyoza before, which he insisted on ordering.  Grrrrrr.

IMG_4169 [640x480]Anywayzzzz.  Here’s our sashimi platter!!!!!!  Needless to say, it was yumgasmic.  We thought the seaweed rolly  thing.  It seemed to consist of 3 types of fish as well as an avocado cube.

Grand total of this meal?  $81, pretty cheap for what we had!  It’s obviously not as cheap as Shoya lunch set, but the freshness of Amimoto is definitely well worth the money.

I can safely say this was the best meal I had in Queensland this time round- highly recommended! 9/10

Salt Grill
6 Orchid Ave, Gold Coast, QLD
07 5680 8000

After a quick walk around the beach, my parents went for a snooze back in the hotel.  Then it was time for Christmas dinner yay!  Since not a lot of places were open for dinner on a Christmas Day, we decided to go downstairs to Luke Mangan’s Salt Grill for a Degustation Dinner, which is $125 per person, and $210 for matching wines.

P. Mummy loves degustation, whereas P.Daddy thinks that degustation is a waste of money, so it was an interesting meal indeed.  Whilst P.Mummy was enjoying the variety of dishes, P.Daddy kept going on and on about how he might as well open a degustation restaurant, charge people an arm and a leg and serve them small dishes of little nothings.  He also boast that when HE was in Hong Kong, ordering a million dishes for 5 people would only cost him AUD$100, in total.  BAHHHHH.  Since he’s not paying, I really had to fight the urge to tell him to shut the hell up and eat.  It is Christmas afterall and patience during Christmas time is a must.

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First Course
Tuna tartare with caviar and potato chips:  I found potato crisps too salty.  I couldn’t taste the freshness of the tuna tartare and certainly couldn’t appreciate the caviar.  It was such a waste of great ingredients.

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Second Course
Gowgee (dumpling) with duck broth: I love this dish.  Although I don’t think everyone would appreciate the intense duck flavour in the broth, we all thought it was delicious and it was certainly the highlight of the degustation.  The gowgee (dumplings) skin was perfectly thin and the ingredients inside (duck I think), was delicious.

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Third Course
Cured Salmon and Zucchini Flower: I’ve often had zucchini flower which is stuffed with goat’s cheese and deep fried in a light batter.  I’ve never had it steamed then stuffed with goat’s cheese.  Whilst my parents thought it was a novelty to eat zucchini flower, because I had the deep fried version to compare I found this zucchini flower slightly too bitter for my liking.  I guess the deep frying normally masked the bitter flavour and I thought this dish wasn’t as good as it can be.  Healthy though!

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Fourth Course
Grilled scallop, nori omelette and miso broth: I normally love scallops but I didn’t rate this dish.  The scallops were cooked nicely enough, I just don’t understand the mixture of herbs that accompanied it.  I understand this is fusion cuisine and although it sounded like a Japanese dish there will be an element of fusion in it, but the herbs didn’t really match the dish at all.  It had mint and Vietnamese mint and deep fried shallots in it which once again overpowered the simple flavours, which was a bit disappointing.

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Fifth Course
Rangers Valley Striploin: I was so full by then but I managed to eat a bit of the striploin.  It was beautifully cooked and the meat was juicy and tender.  What a perfect steak should be, really.

I was so full that I managed to only eat 2 pieces, so P.Mummy decided to do what all dodgey Asians do: pack it away.  No she didn’t ask the waiter for a box (thankfully… I think).  She simply wrapped it in the serviette and put it in one of those opened party crackers that was provided because it’s Christmas.  Super embarrassing.  That’s why I don’t bring mum to my favourite restaurants in Melbourne anymore. 😛

IMG_4182 [640x480]Sixth Course
Cheese!: Thankfully I got another stomach for dessert-like food.  Because I managed to fit this delicious cheese course in!  YAY!  I love the beautifully grilled toast with the cheese, fruit and quince paste, but not so much the lavosh thingy, which looked and tasted totally burnt.

On a side note, P.Mummy and I both agreed that there should really be a palate cleanser in between the mains and the cheese course.  P.Daddy had no opinion, he was still mumbling about how many RSL club meals he could have with $125.

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Seventh Course
Coconut Panna Cotta, pistachio baklava and poached peach: Erm… Actually only P.Diddy had this.  P.Mummy looked at the a la carte menu and saw her favourite dessert: chocolate souffle and I begged the restaurant to swap the panna cotta with the souffle and they kindly obliged.

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The only stipulation was that because the degustation obviously only do smaller versions of stuff, but the chocolate souffle can only be served as a full version, P.Mummy and I had to share the souffle.  Fine with me, I love souffles too!

It was the best decision ever.  The souffle was yumgasmic.  Not too sweet but had a really rich, chocolatey flavour.  Yum.

Overall, I thought Salt Grill was nice.  I appreciate how they were flexible enough to change the menu and gave us souffle as a dessert and some dishes were nicely executed.  That being said, for $125 I expected much more flair and originality in the dishes.  For a celebrity chef  who is supposedly famous for his creativity (the website said!), it didn’t blow me out of the water.  6.5/10

Amimoto on UrbanspoonSalt Grill on Urbanspoon