On Wednesday this week, I was invited by FoodMeUpScotty to come down to dinner with some other foodies at The Palms Bar and Grill at the new and-oh-so-shiny Westfield Garden City.
First of all: Whoa. Town Square at Garden City looks like the futuristic lovechild of the Gasworks and Marina Mirage. Fountains! Glitz! This is not the Garbo of yesteryear. Got me all nostalgic about high-school Amanda's holiday hangouts at the movies, back when it was Birch Carroll & Coyle, and an Oreo McFlurry was the height of gastronimic adventures. Sigh.
Anyway, Brad and Anjelica Jolly from the famed Alchemy Restaurant and Bar on Eagle St have done a fantastic job fitting out their new venture at Garden City. It's shiny, it's fun and casual...you can position yourself to look at either your date, or the stunning new water features- whichever is more appealing!
The food is Mediterranean style, with the star of the kitchen being the Josper grill. It's a fancy big wood-fired oven from Spain that makes things delicious. I know, it's very technical!
Our group was there to sample the menu, get the feel of the place, stuff our faces and take photos. There were a lot of photo-taking. It's pretty hilarious when food bloggers get together to eat.
I'm taking a photo of a photo being taken of food bloggers taking food photos...
The team brought us out board and dish after plate of wonderful things to try, and here are my top picks for when you take your favourite people to this gem of a place:
Croquettas. These babies are stuffed full of jamon and manchego, no mashed potato-filler rubbish here. I predict these will be on Urban List's 50 Things You Must Eat in Brisbane directory pretty bloody soon. The best I've ever had, including the ones I ate in Grenada, Spain. No joke, if you don't eat these when you go to The Palms, please lie to me and tell me that you did.
Clams. Pasta-shell type things called 'Gnocchetti', saffron, butter, mint, dill... the flavours in this dish are glossy, bright and perfect for Spring. Yum.
If you have ever enjoyed beef ribs, stop what you're doing, and go see if The Palm's team will you do one of these for your breakfast. Worst case scenario, go for lunch. This is divine. Amazing melty texture, big beefy flavour, smears of delicious purees and jus(s) (what is the plural of jus?) everywhere.... I wanted to steal this dish, run away from the table and have it all to myself. Thankyou, Josper grill.
I love funghi, and I love risotto, so the wild mushroom risotto was always going to be a win for me, if done right. It was. Fantastic texture, earthy flavours, just the right amount of 'ooze'. I loved that some of the larger mushrooms still had some size and texture - it really added some lovely contrast to the rise. I plan to come back to The Palms, order a plate of this to myself and wash it down with not a small amount of Spanish red wine.
When it came time for sweets, our table was presented with this. The four of us clawed at it as politely as we could manage, soaking up the contrasting rich flavours of the marquise, the ice cream, the vanilla creme fraiche and the berries. Stunning. This is a dessert to come back for, over and over again, until the chef cannot stand to make another.
A huge thanks the to team at The Palms for putting on this fantastic dinner for us. It was a privilege to share in the excitement of a new opening such as this, with such broad and delicious offerings. Thanks also to FoodMeUpScotty for organising - he's a good guy to know!
I can't wait to go back next week and re-eat all my favourites and discover some new ones I'm sure.
P.S: I forgot to mention the drinks! The Pimms Punch and the White Sangria .... holy moly!! Do it!