Looking for one of the Gold Coast’s best kept secrets? Put the beaches behind you, wind your way up the mountainous roads and drive – literally – through the clouds. Soon enough, you’ll find it – and it’s well worth the journey.
True to its motto, Songbirds is ‘like nowhere else’.
A rainforest retreat in every sense of the word, it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the Glitter Strip; a place to ‘get back to nature’ and indulge in luxury all at once.
With just six spacious villas – and two more on the way – to accommodate its guests, Songbirds feels like yours. Nestled in the lush rainforest of Tamborine Mountain, between trees sprouting from ancient soil, Songbirds’ villas are sprawled over 51 acres of expansive rainforest. The choice between socialisation and solitude is totally yours.
If you do choose to socialise, it will likely be in Songbirds, the restaurant. Drawing visitors from Brisbane City in the north to the Gold Coast in the east, Songbirds’ menu is the topic of much conversation – and rightfully so.
They were just awarded best fine dining restaurant on the Gold Coast by the Australian Good Food Guide.
Michelin star chef Meyjitte Boughenout has designed the menu – nay, adventure – around fresh produce, 75% of which is grown on Songbirds’ grounds.
“It has been my dream to create a fine dining experience that showcases and celebrates the beauty of the Tambourine Mountain and allows us to serve exceptional, organic food that we are really passionate about,” says Meyjitte. “I’m on a mission to put the Gold Coast and Mount Tamborine on the culinary map.”
Should you choose the degustation, your adventure will begin with bread – homemade sourdough with charcoal butter, naturally. Then, a garden pea sorbet, flavoured with miso and esturgeon flower, followed by heirloom tomato garnished with vanilla and cauliflower puree.
Next, John Dory that even the fish-averse will relish – the beetroot tofu a menu stand-out – followed by pork belly with celery and blue cheese.
Vegetarians, fear not – the meatless menu is equally considered, complete with such delicacies as parmesan and mushroom risotto (likely the best you’ve ever had) and pumpkin ravioli with two goat’s cheeses and blanched asparagus.
A pause in the degustation brings an exciting palate cleanser. Simply titled ‘aspirin’, this homemade tab of bicarbonate soda dissolved in marigold and rhubarb is a fizzy, sweet surprise, and a sharp left-turn from the sorbets most menus offer up.
“We wanted to do something a bit different,” says restaurant manager and sommelier Alex Menzies.
And different it is.
Finally, dessert: smoked pineapple, yoghurt bubbles and an Apero lolly, served cinematically in a smoky orb. Yes, you read that right.
For refreshments, opt for the wine matching – Alex expertly describes each drop, including why one dish calls for both a white and a red option. As though we needed convincing.
While it’s hard not to feel deflated (albeit, incredibly full) when the degustation is over, remember to walk off lunch through the rainforest grounds. You may even spot Songbirds’ permanent residents – a small herd of alpacas, peacocks, chickens and ducks.
Whether you stay for a meal or a week, there’s no sadder sound than the crunch of gravel under your tyres as you head back to reality.
It’s little wonder that most people are planning their return to Songbirds before they’ve even settled the bill.