Park and Vine is a gorgeous new restaurant in City Beach offering a “functional rotating menu” of modern Australian share food, that caters for kids, vegetarians and those with a sweet tooth. They use local farmers’ produce and freshly grown micro herbs in their dishes. Situated opposite a park, there is a large outdoor area that mums with prams love and once the weather warms up will be a much sought after venue.
On arrival we are greeted by owner, Paulette, who lives in the area and has always wanted a local restaurant that served great food, affordable drinks, and where you felt comfortable enough to just ‘hang out’. I think Park and Vine meets that criteria. We are seated at a long share table with plump olives to begin with.
Our first dish to try is smoked trout schmear caviar, creme fraiche with house made rye and caraway crackers ($16). The description doesn’t sound all that appetising but it is delicious. The crackers don’t have a lot of taste but they accompany the delicious spread perfectly.
Next I devour the home made chips and aioli ($9). Just the right amount of seasoning and with the skin left on they are a huge hit with me.
Next a large assorted deli board ($26) is placed in the middle of the table featuring an array of bite-sized morsels to choose from, which can change daily. The beetroot disappeared quickly!
Following on from the deli board are chicken liver parfait profiteroles with black olive toffee, white chocolate and salmon caviar ($19). I am saving myself for what’s coming next but my dining companions assure me that even though they were a little sceptical of mixing these flavours, they all said the combination worked and the taste was not what they expected. Paulette advises us not to nibble at them but to eat them in one go to appreciate the full effect.
Park and Vine have vegetarian options including a pickled pear salad with raw sunflower seeds, walnuts, pepitas and goats yoghurt ($25).
And a dish that is not yet on the menu. Polenta chips with oyster mushrooms and baby zucchini in a roasted onion garlic cream sauce.
I do love fresh vegetables but the next dish is my favourite and has also been their best seller. Pork Kofta in steamed Bao buns with cucumber, mint, coriander, ginger benihana, sesame, Korean BBQ and puffed wild rice ($18). The flavours compliment each other perfectly and I would have eaten more but they were gone in seconds.
The next dishes are for meat eaters and can be made plainer for children. The Wagyu beef slider has cheese, Boston pickle (which I found really strong) onion, mustard and tomato sauce ($10). They are recommended as bar snacks because they are very small. An adult would need more than one.
Two little hot dogs in a toasted bun with sauerkraut, mustard and cheddar ($12) are also a bar snack and very small. Perfect for children’s hands and also perfect for an adult to hold it in one hand while keeping the other free to hold a beverage.
We are then served a mouth wateringly tender slow cooked smoked BBQ beef brisket, chargrilled corn and cajun butter with puffed pork crackling and Texas sauce ($38). The beef just falls off the fork and the corn is sweet with a little spice. This is probably my second favourite meal, a more hearty dish for a cold winter night.
Sweets are next and I am not a fan of cheesecake but the smashed cheesecake doesn’t taste cheesy, it tastes chocolatey and after being coerced into trying it I found I really liked it.
Lastly, the prettiest dish of the night is handmade ice cream with a strong taste of liqueur, soaked muscatels and cake. The little blue flower can apparently either taste like cucumber or oyster. I don’t attempt to eat it but one of the diners says it tastes like nothing when you first pop it in your mouth and then oyster flavour bursts through! I stick to the ice cream.
Park and Vine is open from 6.30am till late Tuesday to Sunday and the varied menu caters for everyone with ample parking and a spacious interior.