**Note: I was an invited guest on behalf of My City Life, The Summit restaurant and Brisbane Lights Tours.
Recently I received a mysterious email from My City Life pertaining to a secret location dinner. Points for building the hype!
On the night, our group of media folk were whisked away by the family-run Brisbane Lights Tours group from our CBD pick up point (The Sebel Brisbane). Told nothing of our destination, our only hint was that it would provide a good view of Brisbane. On the bus ride, we nibbled on a prawn rice paper roll as a light appetiser as we hypothesised over the location. We were led through a convoluted route through the streets of Ashgrove and eventually, we found our way up to The Summit Restaurant at Brisbane lookout, Mt Coot-tha!
Aside from being a tourist destination, it’s a favourite amongst locals who want to take in the twinkling Brisbane skyline. At almost 300m above sea level, the lookout provides panoramic views from Brisbane’s highest peak.
As Russell pointed out, why drive around the Valley for 15 minutes looking for a park when a 15-minute drive is all it takes to enjoy one of Brisbane’s finest locations. The lookout boasts a restaurant, café, function rooms as well as a gift shop within the heritage-listed building. With indoor and outdoor dining that ensures to make the most of the views regardless of the weather.
Owner Russell Barrett greeted where we learnt a bit about the history behind the location and how he came from Canada, fell in love with Brisbane and ultimately came to own of Brisbane’s hotspots for the last 20 years.
We were seated in a private dining area that sits 20 people. Very luxurious. Amazing views.
To start we had:
- Ciabatta with Lightning Ridge EVOO and house-made dukkha.
- Duck and porcini terrine, continental salad, sweet mustard dressing, gherkins and toasted ciabatta – actually from the main course options. Served as an entrée because it was a cold dish.
The terrine was interestingly imported from France. I can imagine that this would be a perfect light meal now that we approach the warmer, stickier summer days.
We had a selection of all the express lunch/sunset dinner menu items:
- Atlantic salmon, potato and fennel gratin, green pea and leek, lemon butter sauce.
- Pan fried gnocchi, semi dry tomatoes, parsley cream, shaved parmesan
- Grilled Moroccan chicken, Lyonnaise potatoes, spiced pumpkin, vine tomato, mint yoghurt
- Aromatic crab cakes, panko crumb, daikon and miso coleslaw, wasabi aioli
Served in sample-sized portions, it was difficult to decide what to eat first!
The gnocchi was a bit generic and lacked the crispiness of hot pan action. The Moroccan chicken was similarly a bit pedestrian although the mint yoghurt was a good addition.
My favourite dishes were tied between the salmon and the crab cakes. You can never go wrong with pan-fried salmon. I loved the potato gratin. Together with the light lemon butter sauce, the salmon was a tasty, fresh offering. For the same reason, I found the crab cakes with the wasabi aioli and the daikon and miso coleslaw to find the balance between satisfying on taste whilst keeping flavours light. I felt these really embodied the summer-y vibes of modern Australian dining.
We had a brief intermission (and meant we could walk around/aid digestion ready for dessert). A mini tour onto the lookout itself as well as a brisk visit to the function room and the café to observe the diverse dining options.
Returning for dessert, we had a selection of:
- Choc fudge ice cream sandwich (#icecreamdiet), poached berries, hazelnut crumbs, white choc ganache
- Rustic hummingbird loaf, lavender and pistachio butter, coconut ice cream, isomalt, candied peel
- Old school caramel tart, banana ice cream, macadamia praline, toasted marshmallow
As your official-but-actually-totally-unofficial ice cream ambassador, you can be sure I was excited by the aspect of an ice cream sandwich being offered for dessert! Did not disappoint.
However, it was the hummingbird loaf that I was really a fan of. It was a bit odd having it served with ice cream AND a flavoured butter when it really could have been one or the other. That being said, all the components were wonderful. The coconut ice cream featured toasted shredded coconut that I could imagine my coconut-loving father going nuts over. Texture and flavour was a winner. I was delighted how it was presented on the candied peel like its own little plate too. The little details, y’feel?
Likewise, the banana ice cream was also thick with fruit. The toasted marshmallow was a hit with the crunchy macadamia praline. The old school caramel tart would have made the ladies at CWA proud – the head chef had used his grandmother’s recipe. Of course.
Later we were told the ice cream was supplied by Lick. Ahhhh. That explains so much.
Lunch from 11.30am (express lunch menu). Dinner for 5pm for an early sunset dinner (cheap!).
Of course, Kuta café offers more casual dining options and an ice cream area selling ice cream by the scoop or pre-packaged. Something that I’ve taken advantaged of many, many times.
When was the last time you visited?