It’s official. I have a favourite lunchtime restaurant! That’s a big call for me to make but after several visits (all at lunchtime), I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no better place to enjoy a long, leisurely lunch with stunning food in a beautiful, tranquil atmosphere then at Songbirds on Mt Tamborine.
Recently awarded one hat by the Brisbane Good Food Guide 2012, Chef Trent Dawson, takes great pride in sourcing as much produce as possible from local growers and the on-site organic garden. While enjoying a pre-lunch drink waiting for our guests, we watched two young chefs walk into the rainforest with empty bowls, to pick fresh herbs and flowers.
Songbirds is approximately one hour from Brisbane, but it’s a really pleasant drive through rural landscape and then winding up through the rainforest. Once you arrive, you immediately feel that ‘I’m on a tropical holiday’ kind of feeling. Staff are friendly, knowledgeable about the food and relaxed and why wouldn’t you be working in this environment.
We ordered a bottle of Cloudy Bay Sav Blanc while we studied the menu. I had looked at the menu on the website in the morning so had a fair idea what to expect but it changes regularly depending on the produce and on this occasion several items I had expected to see weren’t available. Not that I was disappointed, I just found it very difficult to make a final choice.
The menu is just the right size. On this occasion, six entrees, five mains and five desserts. Wait staff will also offer you the vegetarian menu if wanted which consisted of three entrees and three mains.
For entrée Al and B both chose the Byron Bay Berkshire Pork with fennel pollen, sage gnocchi, caramalised pear puree and pea crumble. M and I choose the Goats cheese, walnut crumble, poached pear and beetroot salad. This was such a pretty, delicate dish and when all combined into one mouthful was heaven on a plate. The pork dish had some strong flavours but again was beautifully balanced on the palate.
For mains Al choose the Miso glazed wild river Barramundi with scallion relish, truffle dumplings and garden aromats. B chose the fillet of beef with lentils, spinach, carrots and beetroot. M and I must have been on the same wave-length as we both chose the salmon. Mine with pickled onions, cashews, pureed celeriac sitting in a delicate broth. As M can’t eat onions, chef kindly altered the dish serving it with pesto and garden herbs. You know the food is good when the table goes very quite. All conversation stopped long enough for us to really appreciate the flavours and until I asked Al for a taste of his barra! We also had a serve of the greenest and tastiest beans I’ve had in a long time and a serve of roasted beetroot with blue cheese, macadamia, shaved fennel and lavender honey.
It’s common knowledge that most well balanced people have a second tummy just for dessert. Promise me you won’t ever come to Songbirds and not have dessert. They are always spectacular.
Al and M ordered Strawberries and cream, which consisted of a Tahitian vanilla parfait, strawberry sorbet, strawberry leather (kinda like a strawberry rollup) and strawberry cloud. I tasted this and immediately had food envy. Intense strawberry flavours and interesting textures. My mouth is watering just writing this. I chose the Iron Bark honey pannacotta with toasted walnut ice cream, lemon myrtle foam with fresh lychees, raspberries and watermelon cubes. The pannacotta wobbled on the plate and had the texture of silk. B chose the riced pudding with white chocolate bark and burnt caramel ice cream. One of the dessert choices on the website really had me excited but unfortunately it wasn’t on the menu. Smoked Medjool date gateau with weetbix and honey ice cream, toasted coffee marshmallow and saffron steeped apricots. One day I may have to come for lunch and just order all of the desserts.
Songbirds serve lunch from noon Wednesday through to Sunday and dinner from 6pm Wednesday through to Saturday evenings. They also have gorgeous accommodation if you feel you can’t make the trip back down the mountain.
To get to Songbirds, drive up the Tamborine Mountain Road passing Thunderbird Park and Skywalk and you will see Songbirds in the Forest clearly signposted on the right.
We were the last people to leave after enjoying a stroll around the gardens to look at the sculptures. It was a lovely way to finish our afternoon. If you are looking for a special occasion restaurant (we were lucky enough to witness a marriage proposal on the day and we even got to see the ring) or just a happy and relaxed lunch with friends, Songbirds is a beautiful experience.
ph: 5545 2563