Gambaro on Caxton
A staple of Brisbane dining, Gambaro Restaurant on Caxton Street holds the titles of Queensland Restaurant of the Year and Brisbane’s Best Seafood Restaurant, and with good reason.
Tasting a sample of what this season begs at the original Gambaro brainchild was nothing short of magical. Starting with staggered entrees, first came the Ocean King Prawn with barley, pumpkin, orange and bottarga – a samba of flavours with tails standing to attention on a bed of soft grains. Next the Calamari, with a surprisingly delicious combination of radicchio, zucchini, chilli and aioli, hiding gems of baby octopus. The vibrant Spanner Crab and Ricotta Ravioli screams to the table in a bright smattering of red bisque and tomato, the pasta al dente and filling velvety. Finally came the Grilled Scallops, perched atop a medallion of porchetta, topped with shaved apple and crunchy hazelnuts – the favourite of the table, it is rare to find a scallop cooked to such delicate perfection.
Simple perfection mixed with hints of innovation is the only way to describe the main dish of meaty Barbecue King Prawns crouching in a pool of squid ink-infused cauliflower puree and garlic butter. Curious to the eye, the tasting notes were familiar despite the interesting appearance. A steak of Barramundi was another favourite main dish, served traditionally with lemon and aioli, skin crispy and flesh silky. Sides of Hand Cut Chips, Roast Pumpkin with garlic yoghurt and Heirloom Tomatoes with balsamic onions and parmesan all made appearances, quickly dissipating into open mouths.
Bridging on feeling full, with belt buckles at capacity, dessert marched out of the kitchen and on to our table. A Poached Pear Semifreddo stood tall and proud on a foundation of spongy Almond Cake, dotted with greens and sprinkled with almonds and ginger. An inventive mix of flavours that worked surprisingly well made for a light and floral dessert, perfect for a third course. But the favourite of the table – bold and rich in its salted sweetness – was the Date Pudding, complete with vanilla bean custard, burnt caramel gelato and candied walnut crunch. Dense, creamy and syrupy all at once, it was an indulgence enjoyed by all, every spoonful heavenly.
The seafood coinesseur’s latest winter menu dances on the brim of pure excellence, mixing an array of classic seafood with inventive subterranean curiosos to create a menu laced with excitement.