Restaurant Review: room81

by smithstandard
Bowl of soup with scallops served in shells

I decided to take my partner to a fine-dining restaurant for his birthday recently.

Anyone that knows Josh, would know that he’s a birthday-month kind of man and he loves to celebrate BIG. I decided to spoil him (and myself) and take him to room81, a restaurant that is a part of the Sofitel Hotel, and located right next door to the Loose Moose and Roosevelt Lounge in Broadbeach.

Josh didn’t twig where we were going until I steered him up the pathway to the restaurant – and by that I mean, I just told him where we were going as we arrived because I was too busy clinging to his arm for dear life as I had walked from our apartment in heels into the heart of Broadbeach #neveragain

Once we were on non-sloping ground and I realised Josh was excited about dinner, my feet woes were soon forgotten about. Alright, let’s get to the good stuff.

Service

Includes: attentiveness and efficiency of the staff, wait times

We were looked after for the entirety of our evening by a young man named Harrison. He reminded me of Apollo from the Bachelorette and gave us the complete run-down of how this whole fancy-eating thing would work. He pulled out my seat for me, did a fancy twirl with a silk-like napkin before placing it on my lap and also gave us a full pour (full glass) for our first course as it was a special occasion.

By the end he was cracking jokes with us, and I was like “oh Harrison you devil”. It was really quite delightful pretending we belonged in a fancy restaurant, when usually I’m in Cambodian pants with no makeup and a beer in my hand.

As we were the only ones in the restaurant for most of the evening (it was a Thursday night and it was also a night where a giant storm was rolling in) the service was excellent. Hell, maybe it’s always excellent, but with how rave the reviews were, I’m going to take a stab the staff there are always on the ball.

The food came out promptly as we finished each course and its accompanying wine. Harrison didn’t miss a beat and I ended up tipping him at the end of our meal for his service and attention to detail. It was probably one of the lowest tips he’d ever received, but he still thanked me for it as we left. Again – delightful.

Environment

Includes: location, décor, ambiance, even interactions with other people

The restaurant had a nice feel to it, quite dim with a soft glow around the feature areas of the walls. I didn’t love the fact that there seemed to be seven staff members on for two patrons – I felt like they were watching me eat. In hindsight, I am sure they didn’t give a fuck about my eating habits and were just happy to be chilling out. As a former waitress in a fancy hotel, I know those feels all too well.

Halfway through our dining experience a Greek woman took the number of patrons up to three. She was trying to FaceTime her husband so she could show him how amazing the food was. I loved that she ordered a seven course degustation with matching wines for herself, and gave zero fucks. We could all be a little more like that woman sometimes.

The eating and drinking part

Includes: quality of the food and drink, menu selection, $$$

  1. Holy fucking shitballs: the food is amazing.
  2. Holy fucking shitballs again: it’s expensive AF.

The restaurant has been awarded two Chef Hats by the Australian Good Food Guide. The only other restaurant on the Gold Coast to have done the same is Kiyomi (inside the Star Casino). Look, I don’t really know the ins and outs of the Chef Hat thing, but apparently it’s a big fucking deal.

The choices on the menu are:

  • Five-course degustation (matching wines extra)
  • Seven-course degustation (matching wines extra)

That’s it.

So while the variety in the degustation itself is wonderfully diverse and delicious, the actual options for meals is not. You either commit to the degustation or you can hop next door to the Loose Moose for a burger and beer (also awesome when the occasion calls for it).

We opted for the seven-course degustation with matching wines. IKR. Fancy as fuck.

The food was sensational.

Tomatoes with this jelly-stuff and flowers on top, fresh kingfish, scallop soup with white wine, butter that was so creamy and delicious it was probably churned by tiny mice out the back, Suvee’d lamb and wagyu marble steak, TWO desserts … I mean, I’m obviously not using the correct terminology, but SHIT. Unfuckingbelievable.

Plate of tomatoes and flowers coated in jelly

Our first course

I have to admit, that when the bill came, I was okay about it. I had mentally (and financially) prepared for it. I’ll admit there was a split second of me thinking – how did we end up doing a fine-dining extravaganza for a guy who is 32? Not 18 or 30 or 50, but 32? However that thought disappeared almost instantly and I can say with confidence I have zero regrets. Not only was the experience better than I had expected, by that point I also felt sick from all the dessert I had shoved into my pie-hole and wanted to get home quick fucking smart.

Man holding plate with dessert says Happy Birthday

He’s simply chuffed.

We ended up calling an Uber because it was about to pour down and there was lightning in the distance. AKA I had heels on and was slightly buzzed, so Josh affected a slight limp when the Uber pulled up. Just in case the driver thought we were so incredibly lazy not taking the seven-minute walk home.

Overall rating

Five stars, 100%, 10/10, all of the Chef Hats. This place was bloody amazing and whilst it was more on the pricier side of our usual budget, it was definitely worth it for a special occasion.

On that note, Josh better be taking me to a three-hatted place when I’m 32.

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