Season at Salt – Kingscliff

For our special weekend away, I wanted to try a restaurant that we haven’t been to before (we’re quite familiar with Fins back from its Byron days). So I chose Season, which is conveniently located at the Peppers resort. I’ve heard a little bit about Reuben Radonich and wanted to see, well, what he was all about. Would you believe that this dude started his career out at KFC??!

So we turned up for our booking on Saturday night, was warmly greeted and lead to out little table. Mr Ana wondered why we didn’t get a booth. Didn’t know there were any – something to request for next time.

Both of us were quite full from lunch so we decided to share an entree. There were a few to chose from, but we chose the Bangalow pork belly braised in tamarind with crab, served with green papaya and dry mango salad ($22). My second choice would have been the Tasmanian scollops wrapped in Italian ham ($22), but I don’t think we could have squeezed it in.

Now I love pork belly. It’s used in a lot of Asian cuisine and I love to eat and cook with it. I also love pork from Bangalow – what can I say, they really know how to breed flavoursome and juicy pork! Pork goes very well with rock sugar as it produces this wonderful caramelization and brings out the sweetness of the meat. Mr Ana was wowed by the pork – it was so tender yet had a crispy skin – great combination texture. It was deliciously sweet and salty at the same time. I wish the dish was a bit more generous with the crab, however the bits of crab that we ate were sweet and went well with the dill from the salad. The salad that came with the pork was so so yummy. The julienned green papaya was slightly seasoned in a chilli lime dressing, and I really enjoyed the chewy texture of the dried mango (which had been rehydrated). Loved the entree.

For my main dish, I chose the crispy skin snapper fillet with celeriac purée, wilted wombok and oyster mushrooms, and truffle jus ($34). The snapper was very fresh and flavoursome. While the edges of the filler were crispy, the middle wasn’t – this was a bit of a let down. The celeriac purée was so smooth and creamy, I really enjoyed it. The wilted wombok was lightly seasoned and cooked just right. I love oyster mushrooms, and they really brought out the truffle flavour in the jus. The dish was just right in size for me.

Mr Ana ordered a rare rib fillet, which came with potato fondant, butter beans and baby carrots, and a confit garlic purée ($40). I was lucky enough to have a try, and while the steak was cooked appropriately, the actual flavour of the beef was lacking – Mr Ana said the natural flavour in the beef wasn’t quite there. However overall, Mr Ana was happy with his main.

While we shared our entree, I wasn’t willing to share my dessert! I ordered the V6 chocolate cake and vanilla bean ice cream ($14). The cake essentially has 6 layers to it – chocolate, sponge cake and various types of genache. The cake slice was generous and was incredibly rich. Too rich. The layers of genache were too thick and very sweet. The layers of sponge cake was nice, however I was too distractedly the chocolate genache. Despite the pleasant vanilla ice cream which cut through the sweetness, I couldn’t finish my cake. Which is very, very unusual for me. I was disappointed.

Mr Ana ordered a trio of creme brûlée ($14). The creme brûlées came out in little espresso cups on a little wooden tray. The flavours of the brûlée were orange blossom and leatherwood honey, raspberry, and peppermint chocolate. Mr Ana was generous to let me try all three – the raspberry brûlée was lightly flavoured and fresh. The burnt sugar topping went well with the tartness do the raspberry. The orange blossom and honey was very nice – I loved the orange flavour and the hint of honey. Yum! I tried a few bits of the peppermint chocolate brûlée and it was simply too heavy and creamy. It really didn’t go with the other two brûlées. I think an alternative flavour, such as rosewater, would have been more complimentary. I really enjoyed the raspberry and orange blossom brûlées though.

The restaurant service was friendly, and the service time was prompt – signs of a well run restaurant. Overall the dishes we chose were pretty good. It wasn’t fine dining, however I don’t think this is what Season is aiming for. I appreciated that the chef has worked hard to produce some good dishes and it was evident in our food. I think with a little more fine tuning, the food would be great.

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