Let’s just be really up front here – I generally try to avoid buffets. To me they’re a bit excessive & usually disappointing, mainly because it’s hard to keep them interesting and fresh (fresh = both the opposite of stale & keeping a contemporary selection of food on offer).  So now I’ve said all this, I can tell you I was pleasantly surprised by Bazaar at the QT.

Many (!) years ago I worked at the Gold Coast International in my first hospitality role in banquets.  Back then it was a swanky 5 star venue with a fine dining restaurant that still did gueridon cooking at your table (in a strange coincidence Sime worked in the fine dining restaurant – we didn’t know each other then).  So fast forward to now when the hotel has undergone a full refurbishment and rebrand to become the QT.

First impressions when entering the hotel are that the fitout is amazing.  Warm, modern and quirky, with some retro Gold Coast design aesthetic injected tastefully.  Even the staff uniforms look cool.  The hotel has a small gift shop with some great looking merchandise and their bar was full (The Stingray).  Also I loved the choice of furniture and the large monitor with changing displays in the foyer.

We headed up to Level 1 and met the family for dinner (8 of us went along for a pre-Christmas feast).  The restaurant is just as tastefully fitted out as the rest of the hotel.  There seemed to be lots of staff rostered on; we all agreed that they were an attractive bunch of hospitality workers, which I guess is fitting when you’re in the GC’s funkiest new hotel.

I had missed the buffet tour provided to the first guests who arrived so my sis offered to take me for a walk. Before this though, on to the important business of ordering wine.  The wine list looks good with some reasonable choices (glasses from $7 with wine available by the glass in most styles).  I chose a sparkling to start off with – now on to the buffet.

Choices – basically the buffet ($65 pp)  is divided into (with details of what was on offer the day I was there):

  • Hot food – steak cooked to order, roast pork (you could see the whole pig roasted with crackling), ribs, lamb shanks, osso bucco, mash, broccolini, asparagus, mushrooms, soup, pizza, jus, apple sauce, tasting plates available to order
  • Salads and cheeses – a large selection of amazing looking salads (no limp lettuce or dodgy potato salad / coleslaw) and cheeses
  • Seafood – oysters in shell, oyster shots, crab, prawns, scallops grilled in the shell (no roe) in a variety of sauces
  • Asian – 4 or 5 different noodles and stir fries, dumplings steamed to order, tasting plates available to order
  • Dessert – a selection of bites including baklava with rosewater syrup, macarons, caramel slice, eggnog custards, brandy snaps, a mini dessert ‘burger’, marshmallow fried egg and much more

So what to do when faced with such a variety of options?  We started by sharing a tasting plate from the hot food section.  We ordered the plate from a somewhat surly chef and a friendly waiter offered to bring it to our table – cool!.  The plate included fried zucchini flowers, crispy pork belly, deep fried soft shell crab and roasted figs with some sort of Christmas filling (tasted like cranberry and yoghurt maybe?).  Verdict – yum!  The zucchini flowers were crispy, cheesy and salty.  Crispy pork belly was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of sauce.  The figs were fresh and cooked perfectly but my sis and I both thought they would have been better with a gorgonzola or something, the sweet filling made it a bit too sweet.  I didn’t try the soft shell crab but was told it was great.

For my second plate (no photo available sorry – I was too hungry) we shared some steamed prawn dumplings.  They were yummy, I think the standard yum cha prawn dumpling, soft and tasty.  After this I moved on to the hot food section and ordered a steak medium rare which was also delivered to my table by the same buffet waiter.  I had a selection of hot and cold sides – creamy mashed potato, steamed broccolini, wild rice salad and mushrooms.  The steak was cooked perfectly and char grilled with that lovely smokey flavour.  Others at the table tried the roast, pizza, osso bucco and shanks, and all were very impressed.  My sister said the salads were amazing, and particularly liked the caramelised sweet potato salad.  My nephew loved the pizzas which looked authentically thin and crispy.

I was nearly full (oh no!) but continued on to the Asian food section.  I tasted a beef stir fry and ordered a tasting plate of salmon sashimi.  The salmon was beautifully fresh and light.  Sime tried a taster of pan fried teriyaki salmon (skin on) and said it was delicious (my aunt said the teriyaki salmon was the highlight of her meal).   A couple of the guests on our table tried the cold seafood and said it was fresh and delicious.

Sadly by this stage most of us were almost full.  Time for dessert – which I did manage to get a picture of.  On my plate is baklava with thick rosewater syrup,  choc dipped strawberry, coffee macaron, oreo sandwich, dessert burger, caramel slice, brandy snap and fried “egg”.  Each item was very tasty, I loved the Heston-esque fried egg (marshmallow with passionfruit jelly I think?).   But overall the dessert highlight for me was the “burger”: choux pastry with a crunchy chocolate nougat patty with green ? – I couldn’t figure out what it was but it tasted great.

Overall we were all very happy with our experience.  The service was attentive and friendly apart from a couple of stressed / surly chefs (there’s a reason they’re usually back of house;).  We agreed that the price was reasonable given the quality and range of food on offer.  Wine list is reasonable and quite large, tea was $4 each, and they had a great selection on offer.  Our only tip is – beware – you do end up eating too much, but at least it’s all good!

Oh, nearly forgot to say that parking is provided on Level 2 of the car park – you just need to get a token from the restaurant or front desk before you leave.

Loo review – as a funky hotel with a new fitout the loos are very clean and modern, 8/10.

Bazaar at the QT, Level 1, 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise 07 5584 1200

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