“I have booked a table at the GoMA restaurant for 1pm tomorrow.” Take a guess at who might have emailed me this? This in fact, was from the ex-restaurant reviewer for the Courier Mail, Margie Fraser. Even better, she invited the ex-ex-reviewer Lizzie Loel to come along as well. Not only did I enjoy a terrific meal but also learned from the best in the restaurant critiquing industry! What more could I ask for?
I had contacted Margie to tell her
1. How awesome she is; and
2. To ask if I could come and see her in action at a review.
Unfortunately the Courier Mail changed the section her review was in and axed the reviews. She very kindly let me dine with her anyway. I had already met and worked with Lizzie at the Noosa Good Food and Wine Festival but I hadn’t talked to her about my blog.
To be honest I had barely heard of the GoMA restaurant, so my expectations weren’t very high. When I read their menu online, I was pleasantly surprised. The food looked gourmet and fine dining. I read about dishes that used wood sorrel and juniper berries! Then I read that their new head chef is Josh Lopez who staged at Noma (voted best restaurant in the world) and was previously running Spring before Kym Machin took over. I was excited!
Once at GOMA I realised that it was the first time I walked through without being crowded by my schoolmates on a school excursion.
I arrived a little early, so I walked onto the deck looking over an open grass area that I remember playing on, on school excursions.
Margie arrived first (sorry any chefs or restaurant owners, but I can’t give her appearance away) and we discussed the menu and talked about reviewing restaurants. Then Lizzie turned up and recognized my face but couldn’t remember my name. I reminded her and we started ordering.
We found out that Josh was new to the GOMA restaurant, had been under the radar for a while so even Margie (who is on the board of trustees) didn’t know.
We each chose different entrees.
I had the Carpaccio of Southern Downs beef with egg yolk confit, chive cream, capers and smoked tomato.
Josh presented the dish remarking; “Great choice.” It was beautifully plated with a stunning nasturtium leaf and bits of green rocket adding to the green and red colour theme. Texture played a critical part in this dish with the smoothness of the beef and tomato relish, soft ooziness from the egg and the crunchiness of the smoked tomato and capers. On the downside though, I am going to use Manu Feildel’s (Chef and My Kitchen Rules Judge) famous words “Where’s the sauce?” Nevertheless it was a spectacular dish and a credit to the Chef’s creativity.
Margie had the confit of ocean trout, green peas, spring flora and fennel.
Lizzie had the beetroot and chevre salad, toasted walnuts and ruby chard.
My main was a fillet of pan seared yellowtail kingfish, celeriac, pickled vegetables and crayfish emulsion.
The kingfish was perfectly cooked with amazingly crispy skin. The chef’s knife technique was textbook with fine slicing on display. The crayfish emulsion was superb with a hint of seafood that was neither over nor underwhelming. The whole dish was a textbook effort!
The saying “Great minds think alike” was evident with Margie ordering the same as me.
Lizzie ordered the roasted rack of lamb, celeriac, nettle puree and bordelaise.
Josh had also made us two sides that he thought that we would like.
There was a vine of blistered Noosa red tomatoes with drizzled pear balsamic and shaved
Regianno. Once you bit into the skin the tomato burst releasing its beautiful juices.
There were also haricot verts (green beans) and butter beans with garlic emulsion. So lovely and juicy!
We ordered the dessert recommended by our waiter, to share between the three of us but happily two dishes were served. The dessert was the seven sins consisting of chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, chocolate jelly, chocolate mousse, chocolate soil, chocolate nibs and chocolate sauce. All components using valrhona chocolate.
This was another dish that had varied textures, again showing the chef’s ability to match flavours and textures. All components were outstanding from the light and airy mousse to the dense, rich cake and velvety jelly. I only wish there had have been a second scoop of ice cream. It was a decadent, sumptuous and indulgent dessert.
I predict GoMA becoming one of the best in Brisbane due to Josh’s creativity and his understanding of texture.
Based on our lunch, it’s well on its way to the top!