Emporium Hotel South Bank chefs have been busy visiting regional producers in the Scenic Rim and around Brisbane and the Gold Coast over recent months to source the freshest quality homegrown ingredients to inspire their bespoke menus. Last night they hosted a dinner at which the chefs and producers both spoke to gathered guests.

Signature fine dining restaurant at Emporium Hotel, now open again for dining for up to 20 guests, is headed by husband and wife duo Executive Chef Chris Norman and Executive Pastry Chef Alex Norman. Their new menu includes an array of dishes featuring local produce such as fresh fish from Rock Point Aquaculture at Woongoolba, as well as edible flowers and leaf mixes from Pretty Produce in the Scenic Rim. Numerous dishes feature Towri Sheep Cheeses, and meats from Running Creek Beef, both based in the Scenic Rim. Mottainai Lamb and luxurious truffles have been sourced from further afield in Western Australia and Majura Valley in Canberra.

Entree options on the seasonal Signature menu include Mooloolaba tuna, Rocky Point Cobia, Fair Game Venison and The Falls Farm Heirloom Beetroot, as well as fresh rock oysters from the Clyde River. Main courses include  Coral Trout with tropical rock lobster, zucchini, heirloom tomato and rosella tea, and Mottainai Lamb with gnocchi, black garlic and oregano. Australian cheeses are served with mulled wine, and four desserts are being offered including sweet Queensland strawberries, accompanied by rosella consommé and pineapple sage.

Executive chef Chris Norman said the new menu was a direct reflection of the current times. “Something that has been very apparent with COVID-19 is that we’re not in a position to dictate what we want anymore. We’ve had to be very led by what the farmers have available. Anything imported has slowed down or stopped completely. It’s made us focus more on the amazing produce we have on our doorstep, less than an hour from Brisbane.”

In the lead up to the reopening of Signature, both Chris and Alex visited the the Scenic Rim in order to meet the farmers behind the food. “For us it was a nice reprieve to go out and see our suppliers,” said Alex. “We don’t often get to put a face to the beautiful produce we’re getting. It was good to build a stronger connection with the people who are bringing the flavours to our dishes. It was really incredible to see how resilient these farmers have been during this difficult time, and how they are adapting to the circumstances. It blew us away to see how positive and hospitable they’ve been, despite significant financial loss,” she said.

“It’s important for our guests to know where their food is coming from. They should know it’s not coming from a factory, but from local farmers in their area who are lovingly hand feeding the lambs that make their cheese; who are working from dusk til dawn to ensure our produce is the best it possibly can be.”

In response to COVID-19 measures, Signature is currently open to a maximum of 20 guests. Reservations are highly recommended.

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