The Best Exotic Gambaro Hotel
From a small fish and chip shop in the 50s, the effervescent Gambaro family has raised the bar literally as multi-award winning restaurateurs and hosts of a very chic hotel, as Helen Flanagan discovers.
John Gambaro has always been before his time. He is a stickler for real food, excellent produce, great service and making sure guests feel at home. Such traits he’s honed thanks to Brisbane’s Caxton Street pioneers – his grandfather Giovannibaptista, father Michael, and uncle Don – at their fish and chip shop, where inky newspaper lost out to clean white paper.
The original Gambaro Seafood Restaurant opened in 1972. These days the trophy cabinets groan under the weight of awards for its superior seafood. Head chef is Lukas McEwan, ex Rockpool Bar and Grill and he is responsible for 40 chefs across the group’s four restaurants.
While lobster mornay, crumbed barramundi and the seafood platter are such favourite dishes they’ll be on the menu forever, his contemporary menus and specialties are all about provenance, freshness and keeping the ingredients in perfect harmony.
He sings the praises of ocean king prawns, tuna and swordfish from Mooloolaba; scallops from Hervey or Coffin Bay; bugs from Moreton Bay; ditto oysters which vary as they’re seasonal and are consumed in large quantities such as on Saturday nights when 30 dozen are required. Queensland mud crab and Tasmanian crayfish aficionados can choose a live one direct from the tank.
With salivation levels high and after a glass of champagne in the MG Bar, elegance awaited in the restaurant. Muted tones, linen tablecloths, a stunning contemporary glass fish feature wall and with suave sommelier James Tetts pouring wine, who could ask for anything more?!
Well, how about crudi misti of caught-today kingfish, salmon and tuna; dance-on-the-tongue grilled scallops with porchetta, apple and hazelnuts; brilliant Moreton Bay bugs with fennel, nduja, (Italian sausage) and orange; a colourful expose of baby beets, orange and goat’s cheese; and the finale of a rhubarb and apple tart. Ahh, la bella vita!
When it comes to menus it doesn’t stop in the restaurant.
There’s lots of posh spiced exotica in the hotel room with moody hues from deep olive and black to rich timber plus a pillow menu to induce sweet dreams in a big downy bed. Gambaro Hotel is managed by TFE Hotels Collection that specialise in unique and stylish hotels with a sense of place and purpose. A perfect fit.
In the morning why not forsake breakfast in bed and totally indulge with breakfast in the bath. Fling open the
shutters and drink in the views of the bold and the beautiful.