Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to sample the Rendezvous Hotel Scarborough and their fabulous amenities.
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I’m going to say it before I even kick off the review…
My favourite part was the games room fitted with actual arcade games and an Iron Man Pinball Machine. How did I not know this existed until now?!
Anyway… Grab a glass of wine and get cozy. This review is a bit detailed and will take a little while to get through.. But it’s certainly worth the time 🙂
Parking was a little confusing at first, as we entered at the Matisse Beach Club entrance. We weren’t sure if it was considered part of the hotel and we wanted to take advantage of the $15 self parking overnight rate (which was significantly cheaper than the regular tariff). After a circle and then entering once again (through the front of the hotel), we parked our car safely and headed up to reception. We could have taken advantage of $30 valet parking, but we were determined to figure this out for ourselves.
Our check-in process was quick and easy, with friendly staff and a well appointed reception desk. If we had arrived at the actual check-in time of 3pm, we would have been able to enjoy the sunset views from our Deluxe King Ocean View Room or the amazing Observation Deck on level 24.
The corner room (which are always a little more spacious) was located on level 20 and easy to find. We walked in and found that the room was very comfortably sized and had lots of space to get settled.
The large window/balcony door drew the eye to beautiful sweeping views of Scarborough Beach.
Our King Bed was comfortable, clean and complimented by beautiful artwork on the bedhead. Usually the bed is the main feature of a room, however I liked that the sitting area was given generous space allocation to balance the layout. I spied a copy of Menu Magazine on the coffee table and was impressed that Rendezvous were supporting local talent.
Now… the bathroom.
A fabulous woman requires good facilities and space to properly preen and prepare.
The shower was HUGE and I loved the fittings and fixtures that came with it. Lots of space, good lighting and good quality toiletries.
After enjoying the views from the balcony and watching a little of the Richmond v Carlton game on the good sized plasma, we headed down to Straits Cafe for dinner.
We were seated near the corner window, providing excellent views of the ocean and Scarborough surrounds. Our attendants were lovely and we quickly became big fans of our waiter Trent. He offered passionate descriptions, polite service and a big, genuine smile.
I started with a glass of Mojo by Rockbare, Pinot Gris (Barossa, South Australia) and Adam (the hubby), went for Matua, Pinot Noir (Marlborough, New Zealand). My Mojo was fruity with floral tones and had a refreshingly dry finish. Surprisingly complex for a fruitier Pinot Gris and perfect with our starters. The Matua was deliciously full flavoured with cherry and blackberry. I enjoyed Adam’s drop so much, I ended up ordering the same with my main. For Adam’s second glass, he chose a Rockbare, Shiraz (Mclaren Valley, South Australia). A full flavoured wine with a spicy bite and full of berries. We teamed this with the very clean Apani Premium Mineral Water. I’m a water snob so I really do appreciate good mineral aqua.
We couldn’t decide what to get for starters, so we chose 4 different dishes to satisfy our palates.
- Coffin Bay oysters, natural
- Seared Hervey Bay half shell scallops, anchovy butter
- Grilled baby octopus, rocket and frisee, mini red peppers, lemon dressing
- Free range twice cooked pork belly and braised beef cheek, nut puree, textures of beetroot and braising jus
The oysters were massive, fresh and smelled of the ocean. Beautifully complex, yet delicate, these gorgeous things were enjoyed with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon.
Scallops were succulent, perfectly caramelised and left cooked slightly under – exactly how I like it. The anchovy butter and scallop sauce was so delicious.
I ended up licking the shell clean – classy.
The grilled baby octopus was a very generous portion and fabulously tender. Full of flavour from the grill, these little guys were perfectly matched with pops of mini peppers and pickled capsicum. A bit heavy handed on the frisee, the beautiful flavours were a little masked by so much green. I would have liked to see about half the amount and a little more dressing. Otherwise, a really exciting starter.
The pork belly and beef cheek was lovely. The cheek was wonderfully tender, had good marbling and fell apart. The pork was perfectly cooked and very juicy. There was a slight hint of crispy skin, but certainly not crackle. I think a full crackle would have been too much and I like the slight crunch the chef went with. The nut puree was so delicious and seasoned to perfection. Finally the roast beetroot was ripe and surprisingly sweet. I loved how it complimented the pork and beef.
We ordered mains after we finished starters and went for:
- Tasmanian salmon fillet (200g)
Blanched asparagus, baby carrots, lemon EVOO and toasted pine nuts
- Bourbon cola braised and grilled pork rib full rack, french fries and spiced coleslaw
I have never been asked how I would like my salmon cooked.
Considering the size and nature of the fish, I would expect any restaurant that serves this should ask. However trusty Trent was the first waiter to ever ask me this very important question. Delighted, I let him know I do enjoy my salmon quite pink.
The salmon was thick, buttery, juicy and perfectly pink. I would have liked a little crispy skin to break up the texture. The asparagus had a slight snap and peas were wonderfully earthy. The carrots were sadly overdone, but were saved by the incredibly punchy salsa verde. Overall the dish was tasty and the salsa brought everything together, however I felt there was texture and a little seasoning missing. I think if the skin was more crisp it would have really made the dish pop.
Ok. Get ready. These ribs. Omigosh these ribs.
Just thinking about them has sent my brain to mush…. so I am going to give you my list of thoughts that popped into my head while taking notes after I had eaten these amazing things. No editing… just my brain rambling post taste explosion.
- Ribs: Fall aparty (that’s a word, right?), sweet, perfect serving size, flat which made it easier to cut, no need for hands, tender, juicy, delicious.
- Coleslaw: served attractively (not an easy task), creamy, tasted of chipotle, white pepper and a hefty hit of lemon.
- Sauce: sweet, lots of bourbon, thick, reminiscent of chocolate.
- Chips: crispy, salty, perfect accompaniment.
For dessert I wanted to go for something different. My heart was saying Cheese Plate and Brownie… but I told myself to go for something interesting and out of the ordinary and we ended up sharing:
- Salted pistachio and pumpkin cheesecake with caramel sauce. A deliciously light cheesecake with a perfect caramel accompaniment. The shard was a wonderful hit of texture and I love edible flowers. This dish was gorgeous.
- Grilled golden pineapple with Malibu granita, candied orange and mint powder. Such a fun dessert to eat, this exciting plate was full of flavour, texture, temperature and punch. The perfect summer sweet.
The evening progressed to Matisse Beach Club where we had partaken in Gin drinks and people watching. Fabulous venue.
Morning arrived and we were ready for breakfast. Some may remember the old days when The Pines was the place to be for buffet breakfast. Things have changed quite a bit since then.
Breakfast at Straits was clean, simple and covered the basics for a full buffet spread. Personally, I like either a comprehensive, well cooked selection of food from a buffet breakfast (which would include something special that sets them apart) or a smaller, higher quality selection of dishes. They have rather large shoes to fill coming after Pines, but with a little work, they can turn their buffet into something special.
Highlights: Very fresh fruit, nice selection of cereals, tasty and cute yoghurt pots, quick service to clear plates, tasty mushrooms, yummy breakfast sausages.
Lowlights: Cold eggs, pastries/danishes soft, French toast made with raisin bread and lack of: grilled/roasted tomato, chilli sauce, cheese plate and Asian alternatives for tourists.
I think they have their heart in the right place but need to re-evaluate the approach. Perhaps have a smaller selection of food and increase the quality so it’s not so hard to manage. Eggs should always be the star of a buffet and I think they didn’t quite get there.
I have faith and will be willing to give them a go again in the future. The breakfast is fine if it is included in a package or if you just want something simple.
After breakfast we explored the Levels and facilities of the hotel.
We stumbled across a Games Room with Pinball Machine. How did I not know this existed until now?
BIG THUMBS UP! Of course I had to have a game (or two… or three). There were quite a few arcade machines available to play and I was surprised as it was not advertised much. Certainly a selling point to push to the punters (at least to me)!
After getting my pinball fix, we explored the upper levels of the hotel and came across the beautiful Lagoon Pool with Cabana Bar and kiosk. I had no idea this place existed. So beautiful and picturesque, I could imagine warm days, cold cocktails and lazy afternoons around the pool. I made the resolution to come back to the hotel in the warmer months to properly enjoy these gorgeous facilities.
Final stop before flitting home was the observation deck. With breathtaking views of the ocean and the serenity that comes with it, we had a wonderful moment taking in our beautiful coast. Absolutely gorgeous way to end such a great overnight getaway.
I absolutely loved my time in the Rendezvous and really look forward to coming back and sampling the delights again and again. The 3pm tapas and cocktails in the Lounge Bar are certainly calling my name for next time…
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- 10% off the best available rate
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- Booking period: now – 31st August
- Stay period: 1st June – 31st August