If there was ‘royalty’ among Gold Coast restaurants, Ristorante Fellini would be the king. A consistent performer in the culinary arena for almost twenty years, Fellini has garnished over 100 industry awards, including ten years as a hatted restaurant in the Good Food Guide awards, Queensland’s Best Italian Restaurant (2014 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards) and the coveted certification of the Eccellezene Italiane.
Several times a year Chef Richard Burt, (partner in the restaurant with Carlo Percuoco, his sister Anna Cacace and Raffaelle Di Benedetto), adjusts the menu to reflect the season and maximize the use of fresh produce. It also allows diners to experience the different tastes of Italian cuisine, adding interest for regular diners.
We’re celebrating a family occasion, choosing Fellini as a place we can share time together to chat, enjoy the excellent service provided by our waiter Bart Feliziani, Fellini’s classic modern Italian fare with gorgeous views to top off the experience. So, we sit and relax, looking out across the sparkling Broadwater as we indulge in Fellini’s flavours of summer; fresh and zesty seasonal dishes to complement warmer weather.
“We always make sure we design our menu around the best seasonal and local produce available, so our new dishes are bursting with an abundance of summer flavours including ripe and juicy tomatoes, delicate fresh figs, crisp snow peas, tender veal and delicious duck,” Chef Richard Burt tells us, adding that seafood cooked with seasonal ingredients was always a winner.
It’s so difficult to make a choice, but of course family familiarity means that we can sample more than one dish. Who doesn’t dig their fork into their partner’s plate, especially when invited!
We start with entrées of Burrata estiva, one of my favourite dishes. It’s an imported Italian mozzarella cheese with a soft creamy heart served on toasted bread with a salad of heirloom tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil to offset the creamy cheese. This is a gorgeous dish to share alongside the Bresaola (thinly sliced air-dried beef topped with fresh tomato, rocket, aged balsamic and extra virgin olive oil) – one of Fellini’s signature dishes, or Fresh figs wrapped in prosciutto with a light gorgonzola infused cream reduction.
With gluten-free and vegetarian dishes clearly marked, it’s easy to make choices to suit dietary requirements, the Twice-cooked duck breast filling the GF bill nicely. It’s tender luscious meat thanks to being cooked sous vide before pan roasting, the smoky eggplant and sage infused jus providing a modern twist on classic cuisine.
For some of us, though, we can’t go past Fellini’s signature pasta dishes featuring seafood from local trawlers which moor 100 metres up the Spit, simply finished in white wine with garlic, chilli and tomato. For me, the more wintery dish of Pappardelle with twice-cooked duck and vegetable ragu, finished with fresh herbs and pecorino cheese fits the bill. It’s a traditional regional dish, Bart tells me, and his personal favourite on the menu.
Despite being amply satisfied, we’re tempted with dessert, a lemon and vanilla bean panna cotta served in a glass with strawberry compote, berries and mint. The afternoon is fast disappearing. Looking out through the open windows to sweeping views across luxury yachts and the Broadwater beyond, the boats are returning from tours as we finish our most exquisite lunch. What a life!
Level 1, Marina Mirage, 74 SeaWorld Drive, Main Beach Ph: 07 5531 0300
Open: Mon – Sun 12 noon – 2.30pm; 6.30pm – 10.30pm
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Fellini. Photograph of figs courtesy of Fellini.