Our recent dining experience at Little Truffle reinforces how truly exceptional this restaurant is.
Six years after opening, the restaurant looks better than ever following its mid-2016 facelift! While the four separate dining areas, chandeliers and gilt mirrors overlooking period furniture and luxurious crisp serviettes may seem a throwback to the golden age of dining, they’re pushed to modernity by new timber flooring, the elegance of plain-coloured walls of silver and maroon, sheer gold drapes as dividers and the courtesan-like paintings of local artist Corinne Lewis. We dine in half light, overlooked by ‘His Girl Friday’ who, bare-shouldered apart from a few strings of pearls, watches us from the wall.
Far from starchy, Little Truffle takes all the things we love about silver service and hones them back into an intimate, casual and relaxed modern dining experience. The venue and courteous informed service provide the ambient backdrop to Chef Daniel Ridgeway’s elegantly presented modern European-style cuisine.
Having begun his career on the Gold Coast at Royal Pines Resort, Ridgeway worked in London (The Square and Searcy’s) and Vancouver (Hawksworth), returning to the Gold Coast to work for Sofitel, founding Room81 with his own stamp. More recently Daniel and his wife Ruggie have been busy opening the BiN series of restaurants with partners.
But don’t think that this detracts his attention from Little Truffle. Not at all! Little Truffle is the cornerstone to his work. Ridgeway’s in the kitchen when we dine, handmaking pasta alongside BiN’s Head Chef Dustin Sanderson, or more regularly Little Truffle’s talented Chef de Cuisine, Jason Burt (the son of Fellini’s Chef Richard Burt).
“This won’t change. We’re staying here at Little Truffle,” he tells us. “It’s where it all started.”
Ridgeway’s menu is exceptional. His award winning culinary skills, recognised as ‘Chef of the Year’, Ambassador chef for the Tastes of Gold Coast, two Gold Box Challenge awards and winner of the Australian Culinary Federation Queensland’s Restaurant of Champions two years running (to name a few), are displayed in the food, only seen when the dishes arrive at the table, works of art which look almost too good to eat.
Deciding to limit our choice to the $59 three-course dinner special (Monday to Thursday) will make it easier, we hope, narrowing the choice to three dishes for each course. It’s a menu of favourites, Daniel says, and we believe him; the choice is still difficult!
We sigh deeply and take the plunge, beginning our meal with a complimentary amuse bouche, a Truffled cauli and parsnip velouté. It’s a perfect taster of what’s to come – meals with faultless taste and texture balance: Zucchini flowers filled with Persian feta and parsley crisp fried in the lightest batter; magnificent gauze-like Tortellini filled with Moreton Bay bug and prawn, enriched by a blush beurre blanc; Rich braised beef cheek with potato gnocchi and truffle cream sauce, accompanied by a gorgeous garland of beetroot and goat cheese salad, a playground of textures and flavours.
Cocktails, beer, as well as an international well-chosen wine list provide lots of choices, including a boutique Central Otago pinot noir, specially opened upon request.
We decide on the desserts of the lightest air-like Raspberry soufflé and an amazing Vanilla bean panna cotta, cooling rose granita adorned with a berry and floral bouquet. No one should forego these delights!
“We’ve found the happy medium here,” says Daniel. “Regulars are our bread and butter, some coming to dine on the same day every week. But we get tourists here as well, which is great.”
It’s no surprise that Little Truffle has attracted a loyal following. Ridgeway provides the diner with exquisite food, elegantly served in surroundings which show it off at its best. A rare treat indeed!
2444 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach Ph: 07 5526 5033
Open: Dinner Mon – Sat 5.30pm till late; Lunch Fri – Sat 12pm-3pm.