We love dining experiences that whisk us away to another place. The Marriott is doing just that in November, offering a Mediterranean experience for a ten-day festival from 4 November to 13 November in Citrique Restaurant.
One of a series of themes, including Mexican Fiesta, An Indian Fiesta and Oktoberfest, The Surfers Paradise Marriott continues their world culinary tours, this time with ‘Mediterranean Indulgence’, a festival sure to kick start the celebratory summer vibes.
The festival provides a celebration of culture, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when the El Bari Flamenco Performance Troupe perform throughout the dinner session. Flamenco burns the floor. Dressed in colourful costumes, to the mesmerising voice of a solo artist accompanied by flamenco guitars, the magic of tap dancing turns the heads of diners, filling the dining area with the sound of celebration. The performance is an international language we all understand.
With staff dressed in costumes from around the rim of the Mediterranean, the atmosphere is almost complete, and we’re yet to try the food!
Taking a culinary journey around the Mediterranean through Spain, France, Italy, Greece and the Middle East, we taste dishes featuring fresh seafood, freshly picked tomatoes, feta cheese and grilled meats, tied together with olive oil. It’s an archipelago of taste from the homelands of the Marriott staff.
The Mediterranean component of Citrique’s menu is in addition to the popular sections of the buffet. For example, the famously sumptuous seafood buffet remains unchanged, but the central chef stations display regional Mediterranean specialty dishes such as Whole baked snapper with chorizo cream sauce, peasant chicken, lamb tagine, pizza, roast lamb and shish kebab, while the cold buffet holds additions such as tabouleh and smoked fish.
In pride of place on a prominent corner is a magnificent paella, the pan laden with rice, sausage and seafood. It’s a dish said to reflect the colour, passion, variety and social warmth of the Spanish people. Each region of Spain has its own version of the dish, and a festive ‘Paella Day’! While we’re not eating this paella in the traditional style with everyone digging into the pan with a fork, the dish makes a great centrepiece for a celebration.
The dessert selection has been supplemented by French, Italian, and Middle Eastern sweets, our favourites being baklava and Turkish delight – the freshest, most delicious versions we’ve tasted in a long time.
Greek Mythos beer and wine, such as the vibrant floral Semeli white wine from Peloponnese, and Croatian Karlovacko beer, established in 1854, are available. I indulge in a Mediterranean Sour cocktail – its Spanish Licor 43, gin and watermelon form a great party starter!
As well as the buffet and food stations, wait staff bring dishes to the table for diners to sample: aranchini, falafel and Greek wines, a chance not only to taste small amounts of different food, but also to discuss the dish with the wait staff.
Our waitress Carla brings a dish we’ve not seen before, Mloukhiya, a Lebanese specialty, which is one of her family’s favourites. It’s a type of soup using Malabar or climbing spinach, a plant we have growing in our home garden. Carla tells us about her extended family celebrations which start at lunchtime and carry through until midnight.
Head Chef Andrew Fraser tells us a little about the Marriott’s kitchen and the idea behind the culinary tour concept:
“We have the Marriott’s largest food and beverage department in Australia. Staff of twenty-four different nationalities work in our kitchen, so we thought it would be a great idea to use their expertise to cook their country’s classic dishes. We’ve had culinary tours of Brazil and the Philippines, as well as France. It’s a great way to extend our reach to diners, by giving them a taste of cultural food in a festive atmosphere.”
Why not get a group together and join in the celebration! It’s a foodie adventure not to be missed!
Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Ph: 07 5592 9772
Disclaimer: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Surfers Paradise Marriott. Cost of the buffet is $85 per person. Check the hotel’s website for week night discounts, or use your Marriott card.