It’s a deliciously life changing experience. Above and below the waters too. I’m in this tiny (one mile long,) remote Lady Elliot Island which shimmers in the turquoise blue waters of Australia’s Great Barrier reef. Peter Gash the gallant owner of the island, flies me in his tiny plane and the colourful, naked beauty of nature seduces. He has been dedicatedly reforesting this island and preserving the pristine marine life (I snorkel and dive for the first time)and running this amazing 41 room eco resort. In the midst of this raw nature the brilliant Chef Mitch conjures a gourmet meal from Moreton Bay Bugs in a coconut Asian sauce to handmade Salted Caramel Macarons.
We feast on the beach and right there in the azure sunset flecked waters the sea turtles, whales, dolphins dance to a divine rhythm.
P.S. I love the India connection…this remote island is named after the Lady Elliot ship built in Calcutta. Named after the governor of India’s wife it was the ship in which the island was discovered. Jai hind!
I write from an exquisite sun drenched, remote island (flying in on a private plane is the only way to get here.) Been feasting on a gourmet picnic on a private secluded beach, a seven course Modern Australian degustation menu under the stars to learning to snorkel and dive. Emilio Fortini, the sun bronzed Italian who helms this very exclusive Lizard island resort had just come in from his deep sea dive when the brilliant Chef Mark Jenson conjured his fabulous coral trout dish and I shot this photo. This sensationally beautiful Lizard island shimmers in the turquoise blue seas in Australia’s great barrier reef. Its awesome to be connected to nature yet coddled in luxury and pampered with the finest of food and wine. If this is not paradise what is?
By a happy coincidence, I write from Australia and I’m also about to review a restaurant which is claimed to be Mumbai’s very first Modern Australian restaurant. I’ve been feasting my way through this magnificent country and been back over ten times. So, I was really excited to try Estella.
Read my detailed review on https://whatshot.in/mumbai
Found. Paradise island. Its so exclusive and remote that the only way to get here is by a private chartered plane.
Its one of the few islands in the world that is located on a shimmering coral reef. It has it’s very own 24 powdery white beaches and only 40 luxury suites. So not only do I picnic on a secluded, sun-drenched beach but do so on world class gourmet food. I revel in a seven course tasting menu under the stars on the beach. And just as much as the world class cuisine hits stratospheric heights, the breathtakingly beautiful depths of the ocean’s silent and magnificent treasures reveal themselves to me as I learn to snorkel and dive from the experienced instructors here. Named Lizard island by explorer James Cook over two centuries ago, this sensationally beautiful island shimmers in the sun in the turquoise blue seas on the Northern most tip of Australias awesome Queensland.
DIVING INTO GOURMET FOOD
Please take a look at the photograph I shot on one of their secluded most beautiful beaches. Chef Mark Jenson has cooked up the most delicious fish, which is not only found in the waters around here but is also the most prized and most in demand Coral Trout ( Recipe follows). Joining us right after his deep sea scuba dive is Emilio Fortini the sporting and sunbronzed Chief of the island resort. The dynamic and charming Italian ensures that there is perfection in every detail of the understated luxury here. A wine afficianado and gourmet himself he epitomizes the spirit of the island. As does Chef Mark who having traveled the world and taken a year’s sabbatical only to eat around in Asia infuses his cooking with many a vibrant Asia flavor. He changes the menu daily and his dishes are influenced by the unique environment in which the island is located.
I love the culinary offering here which reflects the tropical climate here and draws influence from South East Asia and the Mediterranean. Not limiting to these Chef Mark also interprets modern Australia and portray through food the many cultures that embody this magnificent country. Over 90% of the produce that he uses is locally sourced from Far North Queenslands fertile soil and the Great Barrier Reef. I trip out on his premium produce coral trout, red emperor, tropical lobster, red claw yabbies and fantastic rare tropical fruits and vegetables. Succulent meats from the Atherton Tablelands where their volcanic soils and high rainfall allow the animal to graze on prime pastures.
Its not just about the superb food here. Ive yet to come across a resort which has it’s own Research centre. A mindblowing trip to the internationally acknowledged research centre reveals all the path breaking studies done here on marine life and the coral reef.
It’s a heady feeling to be connected to nature in every way and yet to be coddled in luxury, from the spa to the beachfront villas. To be massaged under the sky on a beach with the local macademia nut oils and the premium French beauty products. If this is not paradise, what is?
P.S. while it’s blissful most of the time, the only “downside” to this paradise is the lack of phone connectivity. There is only satellite wifi and Im crossing my fingers that this mail goes through now.
Crisp Coral Trout
On my request Chef Mark Jenson shares his superb and easy to make recipe. You can substitute the coral trout with any other fish.
First step is to make the sahn rhot paste. The next step is to make the sauce from the paste. The third step is to cook the fish and plate up.
Sahn Rhot Paste
30 gr red chilli
10 gr garlic cloves
10 gr coriander root
Rough chop and blitz in blender.
40 gr sahn rhot paste
60 gr light palm sugar
30 ml fish sauce
80 ml tamarind concentrate
As needed Oil
Gently fry paste in oil. Add sugar and lightly caramelise. Add fish sauce, tamarind water, bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
Coral trout (or any pan size fish, gilled, gutted and scaled)
Score fish 2 cm deep to resemble diamond shapes on both sides. Use a small skewer to separate the fish wings. Dust the fish with cornflour to absorb the excess skin moisture. Fry in vegetable oil at 170C for 8 minutes till fish is cooked translucent at the bone in the thickest section of the fish.
Pour the tamarind sauce on the plate. Remove the skewer and stand the fish up resting on the fish wings. Garnish with coriander leaves and chilli julienne. Enjoy!
Stop press. Our very own Indian Gaggan Anand is blazing global headlines. His Bangkok based restaurant is crowned “Asia’s best” and seventh best in the world. I write from the high-octane excitement of the high-ceilinged historic Royal Exhibition hall, Melbourne. Here the worlds most prestigious, glittering Oscars of gastronomy The worlds 50 best are in progress. The air is crackling with excitement and every square inch is bristling with culinary star power. The hon’ble minister of Tourism Steven Ciobo, several other dignitaries and the worlds most celebrated chefs have flown in. For the past fifteen years, The Worlds 50 best been a mega force and credible guide to global gastronomy and to gastro-tourism. It is helmed by the dynamic Charles Reed and powered by the dream team of Tim Brooke Webb, Helene Pietrini and William Drew. They’ve held the awards in Melbourne for the first time and Australia is playing magnificent host, with it’s fabulous food and wine. I am getting high not just on Australia’s spectacular produce and restaurants but also on Gaggan being crowned the seventh best in the world. Jai Ho!
Your favorite small eateries in Melbourne please. Im on my way for “The Worlds 50 best restaurant awards” (as regional jury chairperson) I will be dining in the Biggies. It’s the small, local ones that are my passion. Please do mail me on email@example.com waitingly yours.
I love Bandra and its foodie energy. More and more new restaurants are popping up here. And many an intriguing named one too. Like the one under review today “It happened in New York”.
Read my detailed review on https://whatshot.in/mumbai/it-happens-in-new-york-is-a-melting-pot-of-cuisines-r-9736