Review: The Polish Place and Le Chile Cafe, Mt Tamborine, Gold Coast QLD

On one of the days that K and I left our romantic honeymoon retreat to explore the local area, we drove up through Chillingham in Northern NSW, into the Numinbah Valley in Queensland, before heading on through to Advancetown and Mount Tamborine. It was quite a bit of a drive, and we spent quite a few hours in the car, stopping off for ten minutes here and there as we saw something interesting. K in particular liked spending time inspecting Hinze Dam as he’s a designer by trade, and engineer in training.

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By 2pm though, I was getting quite hangry so we pulled into one of the first places we drove past on Mt Tamborine. It just happened to be the Polish Place on Mt Tamborine, a quaint looking little building with amazing views over the valley. Luckily, I’m always in the mood for pierogi!

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We ducked our heads into the kitschy decorated restaurant itself, only to find it deserted as we had missed the main lunchtime rush. Anyone still lingering around at 2pm were taking advantage of the excellent weather and the view, and sitting outside on their many courtyard tables.

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We did the same and well…the view is breathtaking. Honestly, it kind of speaks for itself, and we were happy to simply sit and relax after a long drive. There’s nothing quite like sipping on a cold drink with a great view in front you.

Polish Spring Salad (Selected fresh vegetables and fruit finely diced, with whole egg mayonnaise and fresh dill, served with Vienna sausage and cheese, bread roll and butter), $19.90
Polish Spring Salad (Selected fresh vegetables and fruit finely diced, with whole egg mayonnaise and fresh dill, served with Vienna sausage and cheese, bread roll and butter), $19.90

We ordered two dishes to share, and the first came out a bit earlier – a Polish Spring Salad. I loved the salad – equal parts sweet fruit and crunchy veggies, dressed with fresh dill, it was a really light and refreshing meal…though I was confused by the inclusion of the slices of Jarlsberg cheese and the Vienna sausage as it seemed quite out of place. Perhaps it would have made more sense if it had been cubed and mixed into the salad, rather than just served on the side?

Meat and Herb Pierogi (Traditional Polish dumplings filled with meat and herbs, served with fried bacon and onion), $25.90
Meat and Herb Pierogi (Traditional Polish dumplings filled with meat and herbs, served with fried bacon and onion), $25.90

The meat and herb pierogi came drenched in a layer of bacon and onion which completely hid the Polish dumplings underneath. Unfortunately, the pierogi weren’t quite to my taste – I found the dumpling skin too thick, and the pulled pork inside too dry. I also found it alarming that there was a thick layer of oil left at the bottom of the plate after we finished eating. Perhaps I’m just too used to Chinese style dumplings with their thin skins and juicy soup insides, and I can’t properly judge these pierogi on their own merits?

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Still, though the food wasn’t quite to my own taste, it’s probably more a reflection of my unfamiliarity with Eastern European cuisine than anything else…especially as 85% of people on Urbanspoon seem to like Polish Place!

Polish Place on Urbanspoon

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Rather than staying at the Polish Place for dessert, we decided to drive onto the main road on Mt Tamborine for dessert. There’s many dessert places there (a fudge place stands out in my mind), but we decided to stop into Le Chile Cafe for our dessert fix that day.

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Marketed as a South American style cafe, it’s attached to a gift shop that sells lots of hand-made crafts both from Chile, and local artisans. I had a bit of a poke around, but as I’m currently in a decluttering phase, I decided not to make any purchases.

Latte ($5), Burnt caramel ice-cream ($5) and orange cake ($5)
Latte ($5), Burnt caramel ice-cream ($5) and orange cake ($5)

What I never say no to though, is dessert! K ordered a latte to help combat his mid-afternoon sleepy period, but found it too milky and wished that he’d ordered his usual cappuccino instead. I ordered a scoop of burnt caramel ice-cream, which was just delectable – an interesting mix of sweet and bitter at the same time. The orange cake was less impressive – though marketed as being home-made every day, a corner of the cake was actually covered with mould and we soon put it to one side.

I don’t think I’m a particularly discerning consumer – I like food in general, and don’t tend to get hung up on minor details. However, if there ever was going to be a deal breaker for me, it’s mould or bugs in my food. I just don’t deal well with it, and for that reason alone, we will probably never go back to Le Chile Cafe.

Launch of Mordeo Bistro & Bar, Sydney

I’m not going to lie – Southern European isn’t generally a cuisine that grabs me and insists that I partake of its delights. I grew up on Chinese food, and other regional variations, and that’s what I naturally gravitate towards. My late mum’s version of a pasta was home-brand spaghetti mixed with some mince and frozen vegetables. Heck, my own current fast version of a pasta is spaghetti with mince and frozen vegetables! I really just haven’t had the opportunity to try Southern European cuisine beyond the usual spaghetti bolognaise and lamb kebabs, so my interest in the region’s cuisine was never really piqued.

With my recent visit to Mordeo Bistro & Bar though, I would say this has all changed! K and I were recently invited to attend the launch of this new restaurant in the heart of the Sydney CBD, and treated to an evening of music, drinks, and delicious food.

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Located in the Assembly of Deutsche bank place, Mordeo is perfectly situated for those after work drinks for anyone working in the city – from suits to creative types. The giant lampshades that mark its presence are eye-catching – you definitely can’t miss it! The space is surprisingly warm as well, despite the open-air location.

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Slow cooked Octopus Carpaccio with split green beans and chorizo sausage

Starting with a slightly healthier option, we try the octopus carpaccio with split green beans and chorizo. The octopus is sliced so thinly that it’s almost translucent, and cooked to perfection. There’s no rubbery octopus served at Mordeo!

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BBQ lamb ribs with Pedro Ximenez

Moving onto a slightly less healthy option, I simply fall upon the BBQ lamb ribs with Pedro Ximenez. The lamb is incredibly tender and simply falls apart almost as soon as you pick up the rib. The sticky sweet marinade is just melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

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Squid ink Gnocchi with truffle salumi

The squid ink gnocchi was extremely simple, and the soft gnocchi texture worked really well with the extremely flavourful truffle notes in the salumi.

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Grilled quail with caramelised red onion salsa

The quail was excellent – I often find it hard to eat quail because it’s so small and fiddly, but this quail was prepared beautifully and grilled to melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

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Chicken Ballotine with pearl barley, spinach and a hazelnut salad

The chicken ballotine was tender and tasty, with the pearl barley adding a special something to the mouthful. The creamy spinach wasn’t bad either!

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Pea risotto with sage and Iberico Jamon

I personally really liked the pea risotto, which I found had a really fresh mouth-feel by itself but an extra salty burst when combined with the jamon. This is something I want to try and replicate at home!

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Catalana

We tried the Catalana, a Spanish-style creme caramel. As K’s favourite dessert is creme caramel, I bet you can expect how wel this went down! We ended up going back for seconds.

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Loukoumadis

My favourite dessert was the Loukoumadis though, a Greek-style donut. Soaked in honey and topped with icing sugar, these little fried doughnuts are dangerously more-ish.

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Trio of cocktails:

Keen to try some of the cocktails listed, K flags down one of the wait staff on the evening who obligingly gives us all three to try.

  1. Red wolf – white wolf cream ale with Campari, Antica formula red vermouth and a blood orange foam
  2. Jamon and chargrilled pineapple sazerac with a jamon and sage crisp – Jamon and Pedro Ximenez butter washed Hennessey vsop with a chargrilled pineapple shrub and pechauds bitters
  3. Cold drip spiced rum old fashioned – Kracken spiced rum, cold drip single origin coffee, cold drip syrup, angostura bitters with a twist of orange

I’m not drinking very much at the moment, but I’d say that my personal favourite was the red wolf – the blood orange foam really topped off the drink. K preferred the smokiness of the pineapple and jamon cocktail…can you blame him?!

We’ll certainly be back to Mordeo – and in fact, their weekly Friday banquets caught my eye! For only $35 per person, you can have a “Chefs Pick” all you can eat feast…now that’s the type of dining experience that convinces me to give Southern European cuisine a try!

Mordeo Bistro and Bar on Urbanspoon

Gourmanda attended the official launch of Mordeo Bistro and Bar as a guest of Pendulum Communications.