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Published March 6th 2016
It's no gamble to dine at this venue
Garden Kitchen & Bar has attracted a lot of attention since its opening in mid January 2016.
The casino complex is undergoing a $345m redevelopment which will bring the venue into a new league in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a variety of restaurants and the construction of a six-star luxury all-suite tower.
A Warm Welcome is always nice
The winning formula for Garden Kitchen & Bar starts at the Casino entrance with the massive wall of cascading foliage embedded with the name of the restaurant. As you turn the corner the scene opens up as you see reception areas in the foreground and a light and airy restaurant & bar spanning the width of the room and opening out to a very attractive outdoor bar with live music on Sundays, and conservatory-styled dining areas with high vaulted ceilings, lounges, and a leafy outlook. In fact, these are ideal for larger semi-private celebrations.
With 350 seats, you would think it's easy to get a table. Having eaten lunch here twice within one week, we found mid-week was easy, but come Sunday (late in February) the story was different. We wanted a table for nine people so called three days earlier, only to be told there was nothing available. We called again the next day and got the same story. Not believing this we fronted up on the Sunday and after a twenty minute wait, we were ushered to a table that suited us perfectly.
Inside Bar & Part of Dining Area
The lunch menu is quite varied, offering everything from light seafood entrees to burgers, sandwiches salads and a very nice selection of main courses. You can even build your own meal out of the selection of side dishes. What is really nice is that they use either herbs and vegetables from their own garden or from local farms, sourcing further afield only when necessary.
The open kitchen is in full view, a great thing if you want to see the lamb or roast of the day cooking slowly on the large rotisserie.
The Open Kitchen
Rotisserie Roast of the Day
We chose a selection of dishes from the lunch menu, although the Seared Tasmanian Salmon ($29) and the Hot Smoked Salmon Salad ($17) were most popular amongst the girls. The Beer Battered Flathead ($24) and the Char-grilled Pasture-fed Rib Eye ($41) were also a hit, as were the Mooloolabah Spanner Crab crab cakes ($18).
Seared Salmon, House Smoked Salmon, Crab Cakes, & Rib Eye
Both occasions were birthday celebrations, so apart from attentive and prompt service, we were surprised by small birthday cakes accompanied by candles and staff singing "Happy Birthday".