Some places are special.
You can tell from the moment you walk in the door that there's a mix happening that doesn't occur everyday. Songbirds at Mount Tamborine is one of those places.
It's got a swag of awards, including Restaurant and Caterers Association Restaurant of the Year 2006, the first time in the 60 year history of the awards that a restaurant from the informal category won this prestigious award.
Hidden amongst the rainforest on Mount Tamborine, the location is definitely out of the way making a visit a special occasion but the menu makes it more than worth it. There are also some delightful cottages in a tropical rainforest setting where you can stay should an overnight stay be required.
I took a stroll around the gardens with the owner, the delightful Bonnie Rodwell, and inspected the luscious organic vegetable garden. Later we dined on vegetables from the garden - ah, the maple and spice roasted pumpkin!
The food was masterful. San choi bou of pork belly with bamboo shoots, water chestnuts on betal leaves with plum sauce; seared scallops with carrot and ginger puree and sesame wakame nero sauce and three tastes of the sea, all entrees.
Mains included seared kangaroo fillet with sweet potato and sage gnocchi highlighted with the zing of a juniper sauce, and poached salmon and shellfish in a lime and coconut broth. The Terra Rossa beef fillet was so tender you could cut it with a fork.
Find Songbirds about a hour from Brisbane or the Gold Coast at Lot 10, Tamborine Mountain Road, North Tamborine. +61 7 5545 2563, www.songbirds.com.au