We recently enjoyed a memorable luncheon at the Artichoke Restaurant on Ephraim Island. The Artichoke Restaurant and Bar is located on Australia’s famous Gold Coast. The venue however, is Gold Coast’s best-kept secret, even though it is only a short hop over the bridge from Paradise Point in the Marina Precinct of Ephraim Island.
No passing traffic, no bells and whistles advertising, just word of mouth marketing for brilliant food and matching great wines.
Chef Grant Madgwick has achieved what only a very few chefs have achieved. His jewel, the Artichoke Restaurant is his passion alright, but he has geared his working hours to suit his lifestyle and bringing up his kids in Paradise.
Artichoke’s has turned out to be one of the region’s most outstanding dining venues. Grants philosophy for success is simple: “it’s not about me! It’s all about the food!” You can feel his passion for his art in every dish served, as he truly creates from the heart. He sees a colour – he creates, he smells a flower – he creates. His whole life is about food.
Artichoke offers a modern, relaxed dining experience. Grant “combines down-to-earth hospitality and contemporary modern Australian cuisine in a sophisticated package”. He “combines Indian, French and Asian flavours with French cooking techniques to produce dishes such as mild beef vindaloo with lychee risotto and braised goat with a wasabi pea risotto, finished with a quail, duck, chocolate, port and beetroot jus. Artichoke also offers a wine matching service, with over 2500 wines in the cellar to choose from”.
On the day of our luncheon, Grant and his small team were flat out working magic. They were looking after a party crowd in the function room and at the same time, serving about thirty of us the starters in the al fresco area. Simultaneously, the staff provided a flawless service to about twenty a la carte diners. Impressive! “It’s all in the preparation and having excellent and loyal staff”,” said Grant.Having the most delicious canapés served to us al fresco, overlooking the water, was a real treat. Sipping a glass of Sieur d’Arques Grande Cuvee 1531 de Aimery, France – and peaking into the million dollar apartments across the harbour, was good fun. The tasty morsels of ocean trout cannelloni and home made gnocchi and pork, duck spring rolls wrapped in prosciutto and the strawberry bulbs were a pure delight. None of us minded that it was raining cats and dogs!
Little by little, we filed into the Restaurant for the mains. The floor-to-ceiling windows gave an uninterrupted view over the water from inside the simple, but well-designed restaurant and bar. Our tables, covered with immaculate white table linen, together with the white stretch dining chair covers gave the setting a very crisp and festive finish.
I could not do justice here to describe Glen’s outstanding dishes. His own spontaneous depiction of every course served was mind boggling. I can only summarise; the texture, taste, smell, and feel of our lunch was in every way unique. The presentation – clean and beautiful.
The starter: Mooloolaba Whiting – Salt pepper dusted with pickled fennel sumac salad, homemade gnocchi, lemon, lime, piñata beurre blanc
Wine: Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2013, borgo Sanleo
The main: Duo Grass Fed Lamb – with parsnip puree, tomato bouillon baby ratatouille, tomato, basil, chutney
Wine: Lovers Not Toreadors, Tempranillo Ribera Del Duero, Spain
Wow, what a dessert: Deconstructed Frangelico Chocolate Thickshake – Frangelico, vanilla bean, homemade Belgium chocolate ice cream thick shake deconstructed with Snickers chocolate smear
Wine: De Bortoli 1994 Tawny Port
Grant’s amazing ability to create is even shown when serving a cup of coffee:
Another fabulous lunch event came to a very late and happy conclusion, even though we had to dive into torrential rain to make it to our cars.