TOP 100 QUEST: GOMA RESTAURANT, Brisbane
Well, what can I say about GOMA Restaurant? I’d flown all the way to Brisbane for it, so I wanted it to be good. It was also an opportunity to catch up with my Brissie friends Sally and Rick who I met on our Luke Nguyen Vietnam tour a couple of years ago. They’re always up for a good meal – so much so they accompanied me to four Top100s in one weekend on my last trip up.
GOMA Restaurant is the fine dining restaurant operated by QAGOMA, the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art. It’s where food meets modern art. Executive Chef Josue Lopez’s seasonal dishes are inspired by the surrounding artwork on display resulting in beautifully presented food. This man respects his ingredients and focuses on the local. As well as working at Brisbane’s acclaimed Moda and Two Small Rooms, Josue has worked overseas in Michelin Star restaurants including Noma in Copenhagen. From Noma to GOMA.
GOMA Restaurant is a light and bright space with a high ceiling, lots of glass, a deck area and white tablecloths. This was a Saturday lunch and a beautiful sunny day so we had a lovely view. Onto the food, you can opt for a la carte with entrees ranging from $22 – $28 and mains $39 – $45, or there’s the tasing menu. We had no time constraints so we decided to have the tasting menu – it didn’t take much convincing! You have the choice of five ($110) or nine ($140) courses and surprise, surprise, we choose to have the nine.
What followed was, as much as I hate the term, a ‘journey’. A creative menu of beautifully plated culinary delights. This included a dish with celeriac as the hero ingredient with pecan, chardonnay, parsley and egg (alas, I forgot to get a photo!), a ‘Plate of Bait’ featuring school prawn, clams, octopus, squid and sardine, a delicate dish of Monte Nardi hard cow milk cheese… but probably the highlight of the savoury dishes for me was the Mutton, sorrel, sheep milk feta, saltbush and leek. Not only did this dish look amazing, the flavours and the textures of the mutton done three ways was pretty special.
Dessert was pretty much a showstopper. Humbly titled ‘Wattleseed custard’ I’ve since found out it’s actually rated by the Gourmet Traveller magazine as one of ‘Australia’s hottest chocolate desserts’. What arrived was what looked like, a simple brown plate with white dots – it resembled an Aboriginal dot painting. It certainly didn’t look like custard to us – however, all is not always what it seems. The white dots are actually vanilla curd and the brown is a spray ‘paint’ made up of dark chocolate and cocoa butter. When we cracked into it, we realised the wattleseed custard was hiding underneath. So clever.
I was surprised the restaurant wasn’t particularly full that day but that meant we were very well looked after by the attentive staff. We enjoyed some excellent wines, and all up we had a lovely afternoon. So was it worth the trip to Brisbane? I’d say yes.