I’m in “the worlds most stylish restaurant” . And what am I getting most dazzled by? I am not only amazed at how vegetables parade in their classical, sophisticated swagger yet burst with flavour and freshness, but also with the flavours of our very own Madras Onion and curry powder which is elevated to stratospheric heights (please see photo and recipe) . Can vegetarian dishes be so luxurious? Or wow with their masterly balance of textures and flavours? Be art on a plate and a seduction of the palate? For sure. And where else except in Vanita’s, which the internationally acknowledged Harpers magazine justifiably declared the worlds most stylish restaurant.
It preens stylishly in the worlds first ever fashion-branded hotel, Palazzo Versace which is raising the gold standard here. Palazzo Versace sprawls luxuriously in the Gold Coast. The transcendence of Italian design shines through the marbles and mosaics, vaulted ceilings hand-detailed in gold.
And luxury just became more unique and bespoke as the stunningly beautiful and everhelpful Jasmine Webb takes me on their unique “Glamour E Lusso“ in their custom made Rolls Royce phantom (Versace cushions et al ). We glide to the recently revamped and magnificent Pacific Fare. Not only does the expert stylist guide me through the amazing mall,champagne and chocolates et al but we also stop by for the Chinese Yumcha.
And on return, a stone and seasalt Japanese therapy gets me all rejuvenated for Chef Dayan Hartill-Law’s gourmet dinner in the Vanitas restaurant.
Having honed his skills under the worlds best chefs, like Heston Blumenthal and helmed many a leading restort, Chef Dayan has developed his own inimitable style. Finedining gets redefined. Dom Perignon sparkles our winepaired degustation dinner. Freshest of produce & vibrant flavors implode on our taste-buds. I opt for a mainly vegetarian menu. I love the Evolution of seasonal snacks from the ceviche (juicy watermelon, crunchy radish and fingerlime ). The humble potato is elevated to a gourmet status as it is paired with kombu, the fleshy portobello and the flavor packed porcini. Its the Madras onion that fascinates. Of course I do try the superb Lamb made intense with black garlic jus but its Chef Dayan’s vegetarian fare that suprises and seduces. The finale dessert of the finest French chocolate and peppermint leaves the sweetest taste. As does my conversation with the vivacious and brilliant Claire Huang who helms this iconic landmark. She epitomises style as well as substance, much as the superstylish “Palazzo Versace” does.
Palazzo Versace’s Madras Onion
Madras curry powder
2 tbsp coriander seeds 1 tbsp cumin seeds /1 tsp fenugreek
1 stick cassia bark /10 cardamom pods /1 tsp black peppercorns /5 dried red chillies /25 small curry leaves
2 tbsp ground turmeric
Toast all individually until fragrant, then grind till all smooth.
4 brown onions /4 heaped teaspoons curry powder
100ml olive oil /5g sea salt flakes
Peel onions down to the size of a small apple, leaving the top and bottom intact. Place all in sous vide bag and compress on highest setting then, cook at 68 degrees for 8 hours.
500ml white wine vinegar / 1 punnet raspberries
Bring to a simmer and allow to infuse for 2 hours.
1 bunch baby carrots / 500ml above pickle
Peel and clean carrots. Then slice on a mandolin at 3mm thick. Then pour over warm pickle and reserve for 1 hour. Once cooled remove the carrots from the pickle and roll into cylinders.
Chef had also included Onion foam and carrot and botrytis in the recipe but this maybe difficult to make at home since ingredients are not available here so am not including it. It does take away from the final dish but even just the onion with the carrot and raspberry pickle tastes and looks superb,
Place the cylinders of carrot (carrot pickle) around in a circle big enough to fit the onion on, Then cut the base of the onion off and place on the carrots. I tried this myself and home and soft and fleshy onion tastes sublime with tangy carrots.