New kid in town

Rasa Restau­rant and Lounge

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Wil­low Wil­lis

NI­RA­MAYA’S Rasa Restau­rant and Lounge is one of those spe­cial venues where you feel as though you are step­ping into some­thing not quite real, al­most a fan­tasy. The unique de­signs of the main foyer build­ing in­spires thoughts of great ships, mod­ern crafts­man­ship and 21st cen­tury cut­ting edge ar­chi­tec­tural bril­liance woven to­gether, just so, as to in­spire grand yet calm­ing moods.

De­scend­ing the stairs one en­ters into an open court­yard / restau­rant with a cosy bar tucked to the side of the en­ter­tain­ing area giv­ing the feel­ing there are end­less nooks and cranny’s to dis­cover with se­cret gar­dens and pri­vate snugs where you could dis­ap­pear with a spe­cial some­one. The in­fin­ity pool of­fers a calm­ing tran­quil­lity that draws the eye to­ward the frangipani and forested edge of the well-kept lawns. Ba­li­nese sen­ti­ments are touched upon in the heavy wooden framed and cur­tained sun beds nes­tled in the pic­turesque gar­dens that whis­per ‘go on, get a cock­tail and lie down, silly’ as the sun gen­tly sets be­yond the green leafy fringes in pinks and pur­ples.

The launch was like open­ing a present, no one was quite sure what we would find in­side. Small groups of friends and ac­quain­tances gave way to a pic­turesque ban­quet style lay­out where ev­ery­one be­gan to feel more at home and chat­ted freely. Lovely, al­though non- in­tru­sive live soloist sounds lin­gered in the back­ground through­out the event.

The evening’s de­gus­ta­tion was bold and quaint and unfolded with won­der as our imag­i­na­tions an­tic­i­pated the next and the next dish, al­though t he chefs al­ways re­mained one step ahead of us, pre­sent­ing each dish like a toy for us to play with; pro­fes­sion­ally known as ‘‘molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy’’.

The flavours, the smells, tex­tures and vis­ual fun of it all – smoked wa­ter­melon and jas­mine granita spring to mind – de­lighted our col­lec­tive pal­ettes.

The pre-din­ner cock­tails and canape´ s gave way to ‘‘ooh!’s’’ and ‘‘ aah’s’’ as a seven­course per­for­mance of pint size dishes mar­ried care­fully with an ac­com­pa­ni­ment of white wines, red wines and fi­nally deSsert wines, leav­ing a per­son feel­ing sat­is­fied in more ways than one.

The chefs, Jared and An­drew, pulled off an avant-garde food ex­pe­ri­ence with a ‘‘no wor­ries’’ at­ti­tude the Far North is known for even un­der strain­ing cir­cum­stances. The new op­er­a­tors, An­drew Saville, Jared Jones and Louise St Ge­orge, of Ni­ra­maya in­tend to in­tro­duce Sun­day jazz, beau­ti­ful food, in­ter­na­tion­ally wor­thy wines and stun­ning sur­rounds while mak­ing a point to keep Port Dou­glas lo­cals very much in the Ni­ra­maya loop – home, af­ter all, is where the heart is. Don’t be a stranger now . . .

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