A request. Please take a look at the lead photograph in the collage above. Till date, it’s the most “speaking” photograph I’ve shot. Not just because I shot it from a helicopter (while sitting next to the pilot) but because this one photo distils the spirit of Australia’s gorgeous Gold coast. Ofcourse the focus is food…Australia’s iconic dessert, the coconut dusted Lamington (more about it later) which I put into Gold coast’s style icon, an expensive Versace bowl from the Palazzo Versace here (more about it later too) and ofcourse the golden beaches lazing in the sun are visible in the photo too. What follows is my attempt to encapsulate the delicious beauty of this part of the world, ( Gold coast in Queensland) in a few paras.
How I love this comfortingly delicious Australian dessert. The fluffy square of sponge cake coated with chocolate sauce and rolled in desiccated coconut, the Lamington is a my must-have dessert here. Ofcourse there are variations like cream or strawberry jam added on too. I also love the many varied stories of it’s origins from the one that says it was named after
Lord Lamington, ( Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901,) whose chef was called upon at short notice to feed unexpected guests and so he used left-over vanilla sponge cake baked the day before, dipped the slices in chocolate and set them in coconut. The lamington you see in the photograph is the one I picked up at Gold Coast’s buzzing “Nighquarter”. An amazing weekend collection of food stalls, local fashion and more. It was packed and here, not only was my palate regaled with many a different cuisine and local favourite but I also bought a dress made of bamboo (you read that right) and ofcourse brought back the Lamington to take it on the helicopter for my photoshoot.
THE STYLE ICON…
Located in this stunning sun drenched, famous-for-fun Gold Coast is the worlds first ever fashion-branded hotel, PalazzoVersace. That is sprawls luxuriously and every detail is impeccably perfect, is to be expected. From the custom made Rolls Royces (Versace cushions et al ) to the Medusa head every where. But whoa! what surprises… it’s dynamic General Manager is our very own Subash Basrur ( former chef of the Taj) who delivers experiences beyond expectations. And the other amazing surprise is the many a vegetarian masterpiece, Jain too. French chefs create magic with vegetables here. Even in, Vanitas the fine dining restaurant, I am regaled by many a vegetarian masterpiece. The third surprise is the sprawling pristine swimming pool and it is here that I request the chef to serve up the local seafood delights as I sit chatting with the dynamic Subash Basrur and the gorgeous Jasmine Webb.
GOURMET & ACTION PACKED
Endless beauty of beaches, nature in all her magnificence is a feast in itself but to find restaurants that serve world class fare is a treat to beat all treats. In Brisbane it is the superstar Matt Moran’s Aria (located on the river, overlooking the Story Bridge) that serves up amazing fare (pl see the pumpkin dish in my collage). From the Greek Hellenika to the buzzing modern Australian “Soical eating House” , Max Brenner’s chocolate cafe to Bazar in the uber-cool QT hotel, there is something for everyone. Gourmet meals seduce: even at “Three Little pigs” in the Mountains, Amazing Asian infused “Rick Shores” too. Australia surprises with it’s gourmet vegetarian meals (be it a Jain meal at the Australian Outback dinner theatre while watching horses on stage or the bustling nightquarter.
I feast on it all…From floating gently in a balloon at sunrise. hovering in a helicopter to walking on treetops in the rain forest which covers Mount Tamborine (an hours drive from Gold coast) to soaking in the beaches…. I’ve said it before, I ll say it again… I’m feeling like a queen in Queensland!