The Chameleon. Lurking in the urban jungle, undetected, unknown, blending into the ever changing landscape, sampling everything from fine dining to reviewing take away joints, this lizard loves food possibly a little bit too much.

Amalfi Bistro and Wine Bar

Overall score: 75/100
Amalfi Bistro & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Restaurants attached to hotels/motels/any sort of accomodation really, often has The Chameleon scrambling for his urbanspoon app dreading the bland offerings from the limited menus and the overdone steaks (example here). But also recently, Bazaar was a very acceptable option; and not far from Bazaar was Amalfi Bistro and Wine Bar, attached to the Watermark Hotel and Spa.       

Amalfi is a rather nicely fitted out restaurant at the back of the hotel. The Chameleon had in fact walked past it a couple of times prior to his visit wondering if they were open or not; you see the doors were closed, only a faint glimmer of light emanating indicating life and no doubt a few diners would bypass this for the buffet next door which is open and airy and somewhat more inviting (review to come soon). 

All this hidden-ness does have it's benefits though, as when The Chameleon entered, the place instantly made him feel at ease, relaxed and smooth. The dim lighting and the ambience music worked well, the large window opened the diners to the intermittent traffic outside, the car lights of the metropolitan bustle that is now the Gold Coast seemingly adding to the cosiness of Amalfi.

The Chameleon's group's waitress was young and showed glimpses of professional practice, but alas her inexperience did show through on a number of occasions, for example as she bumbled through some of the menu items. 


The entrees of choice was carpaccio and The Chameleon opted for one of his favourite pasta dishes for the main, Linguine alla Carbonara, from a menu which somehow felt limited.

After a somewhat reasonable wait, the entrees arrived and were well received. The quail egg in particular was masterfully cooked and overall, it got the evening off to a reasonable start. The flavours were very subtle, perhaps a little bit too subtle and The Chameleon was expecting a little bit more for his money, but a great start nonetheless.

The group ordered wine and the evening continued swimmingly as they patiently began the wait for their mains. And wait. And wait. And wait. And then....wait. The mains took an unnervingly long time to come to the table, and although the group was cheerfully engaged in conversation, the topic did turn to the aforementioned waiting time; this should never happen. The Chameleon got to such a point that he began to wonder whether this was a deliberate ploy for diners to buy more wine and alcohol. It wasn't a particularly busy night, perhaps 4-5 tables with a few couples and his group. He wonders still.

The main was indeed very tasty. The carbonara ideal was there and that sauce, although somewhat oily, had beautiful undertones of rich creamy complex flavours. But, what was this meal's triumph was also it's diminishing demise. There was simply too much topping and, dare The Chameleon say it, too much meat! Typically The Chameleon is able to proportion out a meal to finish with one full mouthful, a bit like a special fulfilling ending to a movie, but on this occasion, all the pasta had disappeared with only topping left. The Chameleon was indeed glad when another diner made a similar comment which confirmed his thoughts. Balance.

The wine at this place was amazing. Great examples of somewhat expensive wine, but of course The Chameleon isn't a wine tasting critic, so apart from seemiongly fluking a nice dry match for the somewhat oily pasta, the deep cherry flavours which slipped out of every drop was well appreciated.

The Amalfi Bistro was a relaxing venue which The Chameleon appreciated after a hectic busy day. The food was of a high standard but alas the small entree, the long wait, the lack of balance in the main and the inexperienced waitress all impacted on the overall experience. Would The Chameleon recommend Amalfi? Only if you have time to kill and love a drop or two of fermented grape juice. 75/100

1 comment:

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