My ‘Grazing Bison’

A couple of weeks ago my sister and I decided to get away for the weekend for a bit of R and R before the silly season. We had just purchased MyFun annual passes so we thought we would head to the Gold Coast, visit Seaworld and stay a few nights.

So after days of dredging the net for some value accommodation, I came across QT. As soon as the website opened I knew that this was the place. It has been around for a while now and why I have never heard of it I don’t know, but, better late than never!

I think the rest of the GC needs to take a leaf out of QT’s book. They have taken an old, run down Surfers Paradise apartment block and turned it into an uber cool drinking, dining and accommodation destination. QT Gold Coast was the first of a nationwide series of unique, designer hotels where you can stay and play in a very untraditional, fun and quirky custom designed surrounds.

Being food obsessed, the restaurants and bars were the definite highlight for me. Breakfast and dinner were in the Bazaar restaurant, a modern take on a traditional buffet, the brainchild of renowned and hatted Sydney chef George Francisco. This impressive, interactive bustling marketplace took a Gold Coast hotel buffet and turned it on its head. With a tasting plate of ceviche, soft-shell crab and Asian style pork burger offered to start, we knew this was going to be no ordinary buffet. From steak, custom made pizza, fresh seafood, an extensive and delicious range of salads, fresh cold meats, an Asian station with duck San Chow Bow and dumplings steamed fresh to order, Bazaar has something to suit everyone and for someone like me who likes everything, well go for your life.

Breakfast was just as impressive, your traditional hot foods, a great station of beautiful fresh breads, pastries and homemade jams, a made to order area for omelettes, an Asian station and a Charcuterie station which, to be honest, I hit pretty hard!

And then there is Stringray. This is a super cool bar that, like Bazaar, attracts crowds not necessarily staying at the hotel. Stingray is a retro cool, Southern California inspired oasis. With mixes of industrial chic and pop art, 50 in house tequilas and a damn good food and cocktail menu, we were impressed. After a morning sunning ourselves by the pool we retired to ‘The Lawn’ for a cocktail and some sustenance. We had the popcorn shrimp and squid with almond chipotle sauce, onion rings and tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad. Perfection. If you are on the Gold Coast, heading here for a cocktail and some MexiCali style street food needs to be at the top of your list.

So from the food to the fittings QT have created a complete destination with no need to venture out, and with the Gold Coast being ‘local’ for us, we didn’t feel guilty about settling in for the weekend and not leaving the hotel.

One of the cocktails we had at Stingray was a The Grazing Bison, delicious and refreshing and from the menu description easy enough to make at home, I gave it a go. Probably not quite as good as the one delicately crafted by the professional bartender at Stingray but it was pretty close and a nice refreshing cocktail for summer nonetheless.

Makes 2 litres

250ml vodka
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bunch of mint
150ml peach schnapps
400ml mineral water, cold
1200ml cloudy apple juice, cold
1 cup crushed ice
1/2 peach

First get your vodka infusing. Combine vodka, vanilla and half the mint, slightly scrunched to release the oils, stir well and then set aside to infuse. About an hour is enough.

Remove the mint stems from the infused vodka, and add vodka, apple juice, mineral water, ice, more fresh mint, leaves only, and peach slices together in a jug and serve.

I served this cocktail at Thanksgiving last week in a collection of random jars with these cute paper straws. They looked pretty impressive and were a hit with our guests. Hope you enjoy.

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