|Songbirds in the Forest at Mount Tamborine is this year’s Restaurant of the Year, Best Modern Australian Restaurant and Best Newcomer. Songbirds’ owner Bonnie Rodwell is thrilled with the result. “It is a tribute to the songbirds team headed by chef de cuisine Daran Glasgow and sous chef Todd Stuart. I feel very humbled and rewarded by the support we have received since opening just seven months ago,” Bonnie says.Songbirds combines the best of elements of dining in one amazing package at Mount Tamborine. It’s worth the 30-minute drive from the Coast to experience the most delightful food in an idyllic location. This restaurant is set among acres of rainfores populated by sweetly singing birds; the lush greenery and modern decor creates a magical, exotic paradise.Chefs Daran and Todd combined their skills to create an haute cuisine collection of dishes. Daran says they wanted to give people something totally new. “We are both trained in the classic traditions of cooking but we have also worked with the modern masters. This gives us the skills to work with any type of produce and the attitude needed to create new taste sensations,” Daran says.
This season’s menu starts with organic sol bread and homemade dips. Try the connoisseur’s winter warmer of creamed celeriac and potato soup with smoked snapper tortellini. There’s freshly shucked Pacific oysters with pickled ginger, flying fish roe and Vietnamese dressing and sumptious tempura coated oysters with shaved fennel and watercress salad.
Seafood sensations include an Asian-inspired ocean king prawn salad on kaffir lime and lemon grass omelette. The smoked rainbow trout with prosciutto, artichoke, caper and red pepper salad with polenta-crusted potato galette, tomato salsa and sherry vinaigrette shows fish in a glorious concert of colour and flavour.
Try the luxurious textures and taste of Jerusalem artichoke and green olive pithivier with aubergine caviar, or the Thai beef salad.
The confit rabbit and wood mushroom tart with porcini and truffle cream are country inspired. The hickory smoked duck breast with spiced choizo in a white bean and lentil cassoulet with Moroccan scented pan juices is a modern Australian version of a French Provençale classic and the salt and pepper cuttlefish with glass noodles is a fusion of Asian flavours and local produce,” he says. Diners will find the fresh snapper, plump Queensland scallops and Atlantic salmon very much to their taste. For a meaty treat try the thyme roasted chicken breast or the Black Angus graine fed eye fillet.
Indulge in desserts of valhrona chocolate crème brulée, amaretto and marinated cherry ice cream; or the caramel and fig bread and butter pudding with butterscotch saucce and Baileys ice cream. There’s a trio of ice creams or sorbets; rhubarb and wild berry crumble; caramelised banana tarte tatin and the piece de resistance, hot soufflé. Songbirds has a superb selection of artisan made local cheese and the incomparable King Island Surprise Bay Cheddar. Dinner guess are offered canapés on arrival and palate-refreshing sorbet between courses. Songbirds wine list shows a perfect balance of local and imported wined handpicked to complement the menu.
If all this hints at high prices be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. Entrees are priced from $12 to $18 and main courses from $18 to $36. Songbirds has included value in their recipe for success.
Songbirds on Tamborine Mountain Road, North Tamborine is open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and dinner on Thursday, Frida and Saturday nights. Private functions can be arranged and there are six luxurious cabins for overnight or longer stays. Songbirds in the Forest will soon be linked with a luxurious spa resort. Stand by for details of the ultimate mountain escape.