Driving past my favorite Gold Coast surf spot, Currumbin Alley, I realise not much has changed, though I’m told the Elephant Rock Café has. Now in its 26th year, it’s become an iconic dining establishment with day time views to die for.
The menu here is modern with a European twist, perhaps unsurprising as the Head Chef Oliver is from Cornwall in the UK. He tells me he started working when I was 17. “I never saw myself becoming a full time chef but loved having a job I really enjoyed and was paid well,” he says. “Whilst at Uni I worked in a small restaurant near Swansea in Wales. It was my introduction to fine dining, I loved learning how to make everything from scratch and worked with a chef who trained under Marco Pierre White at Harveys.”
The menu tonight reflects that training. To start, Seared Hervey Bay Scallops with apple, beetroot, baby sorrel, radish and chardonnay vinaigrette.
The fresh scallops are sourced from a local seafood supplier with years of experience who lets them know the freshest produce they can get their hands to enable them to showcase on the menu.
Served with glazed baby purple and golden beetroot, granny smith apple and sorrel fluid gel, mandolin of red and watermelon radish and baby sorrel leaves, this is a very delicate, beautiful dish.
The first course set the theme for the night with our next being a
Terrine of locally smoked Ham Hock and Chicken, kohlrabi remodulate and golden raisin puree. Olly tells me that behind every great chef is a great terrine. In this instance I agree with him, flavours of the smoked pressed meat wok well with kohlrabi (a very under utilised root vegetable) and served with a warm crusty Baguette from their baker in West Burleigh.
Pan-roasted Red Emperor with watercress veloute, scorched heirloom tomatoes, braised leeks and baby spinach was refreshing with fresh red emperor, caught off 1770 north Queensland. Watercress veloute is created by making a potato veloute and whisking a vibrant watercress puree last minute to achieve a lovely vibrant sauce.
After a break came the Wagyu marble (which scored 9+), with white onion puree, braised celery, pancetta, gnocchi & manchego. The Wagyu rumps are sourced from northern NSW. After careful trimming they are slow cooked for 90 minutes at 64.C to achieve a perfect medium cuisson. Served with white onion puree, potato gnocchi made with a little manchego cheese which offers subtle cheesy nutty flavours.
Crème brulee with shortbread was the piece de resistance, served with rhubarb ripple ice cream. A variation of this has been on our menu since I began. The consistency, richness and level of sweetness have been carefully balanced in the brulee and the shortbread is an old recipe from when I worked in Scotland.
Summary: This was an experience that I didn’t expect. Service was smooth, food exceptional, needless to say elephant rock is at the culinary level that the Gold Coast is being known for.
Food: Great for those who enjoy dining.
Added bonus: Amazing views. Breakfast and lunch menus.