One of the few downsides about working for yourself is the lack of an awesome Christmas party. Well, Brisbane Airport took care of our festive season blues by inviting us to an amazing dining event at the International Terminal! As part of their paddock-to-gate series (what a name! they saw an opportunity and they took it!), Brisbane Airport’s Botanist Kitchen and Bar hosted an exceptional Christmas feast. The evening showcased some of Queensland’s best seasonal produce, bringing the quintessential Aussie Christmas to life with each bite. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos from the event and, hopefully, a little inspiration on how to make the most of pre-departure time on your next visit to BNE airport!
We arrived at Brisbane Airport‘s International Terminal, making our way to Botanist Kitchen and Bar in the Departures Hall (located on level 4). Overlooking the departure gates below, with loved-ones waving each other off, was the most beautifully laid table. Adorned with gold accents, candles, bright red ribbons, festive berries, pine cones and colourful accents, it was a sight to behold! Three cheers for the lovely team who styled it because it was absolutely stunning.
Of course, I wasted no time getting stuck into the booze! We enjoyed Salinger NV Premium Cuvee (bubbles) with gorgeous blackberry liqueur to cut through the honey-like sweetness. We quickly established Matt was designated driver then savoured the festive season spirit as we watched the Christmas tree in the background and chatted with the other guests. I love people watching (what a creep!) so we did a spot of gazing at the travellers below, headed off to all corners of the world.
Waiters offered up delicious plates of food to try, all prepared at Botanist Kitchen and Bar! On the left, baby ‘herb stuffing’ crumbed turkey breast schnitzels with roasted garlic aioli followed by Christmas melon and black forest ham forks with a squeeze of fresh lime. On the right, my absolute favourite, roasted seasonal pumpkin layered with soft goat’s cheese, homemade macadamia pesto and parmesan cheese zest – eaten by the spoonful! I swear, I would be quite happy sitting down to one of those for dinner with a bottle of Pinot Noir. Yes, please!
Oh look, here’s me spreading Christmas cheer(s)!
We got comfortable in our seats and, before we knew it, our entree was served. Importantly, it was served by the best Christmas Elf I’ve ever seen – one bearing freshly baked bread so warm the butter just melted rrrrrrright into it. In Australia, Christmas is all about seafood so the entree was the perfect Christmas-inspired meal. On the plate were seared scallops with ajo blanco and sherry vinegar, lemon and extra virgin olive oil emulsion as well as freshly shucked Pacific oysters with red onion vinegar and charred lemon cheeks. Also served, Court Bouillon poached local prawns with homemade Mary Rose sauce and perfect yellowfin tuna carpaccio top with fermented black bean dressing and watercress. It was served with a Sirroment Vineyard Selection Verdelho and, you guys, it was sooooo good! Matt and I have recently started eating seafood again occasionally and this was just the perfect way to enjoy it.
In-between courses, we tucked into a fantastic Gin & Tonic with The Botanist gin and an elderflower tonic. It was so refreshing, just the perfect cold drink for a warm summer night (or surviving Christmas with your family/in-laws).
Before we knew it, it was time for the main course. On the plate, beautifully fresh carrots cooked so they were both tender and still a little crunchy with smokey Brussel sprouts. For the meat eaters, traditional Christmas ham roasted with honey, mango and soft brown sugar glaze and for us, roasted seasonal vegetables, couscous and pine nut filo wrap finished with a salsa verde. Both were served with bubble and squeak potato and, I gotta say, I would definitely be happy tucking into an entire bowl of that bubble and squeak. It was all things creamy and delicious! The whole main course paired beautifully with a glass of St Hubert’s Pinot Noir.
Just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, dessert arrived. Now, I’ve got to be honest, I’m not usually a big fan of eggnog or gingerbread but this dessert was so good it made those two things absolutely delicious. Homemade individual gingerbread eggnog tarts were served with cinnamon and star anise infused black cherry compote and just as we had eaten most of our cherries, Chef came around with more! The dessert was so lovely and light, really well balanced and the perfect way to end a Christmas-inspired meal. Paired with 3 Bridge, Botrytis Semillon, it was bliss. To finish the meal, we enjoyed the coffee prepared by an award-winning barista and it was delicious.
The whole night was fantastic from the moment we arrived at the last bite of eggnog tart! We ate delicious food that truly brought an Aussie Christmas to life, showcasing the abundance of amazing Queensland produce on offer during the season and combining all those quintessential flavours together beautifully. We loved each dish and the cocktails and wine paired perfectly. The company was amazing, we spent the whole time catching up with old and new friends, laughing, cracking Christmas BonBons, telling bad jokes and, surrounded by travellers, talked about past and future adventures. It was a proper Christmas dinner right in the heart of the airport and, somehow, it felt like home.
If you find yourself travelling through Brisbane Airport this festive season, you don’t have to say a quick goodbye. Instead, take advantage of the discounted pre-book parking rates, come inside and enjoy a proper Christmas dinner together. Even if you visit after Christmas, Botanist Kitchen and Bar is the perfect spot for a pre-flight bite with loved ones as the menu consistently boasts delicious food aimed at showcasing local flavours and fresh produce. I’m really proud to see Brisbane repping with delicious food at the airport. I can tell you right now, I’ve had more than my fair share of terrible airport meals and seeing how much hard work and energy the Brisbane Airport and Botanist teams put into the restaurant is just fantastic. So, a huge thank you to both Brisbane Airport and the Botanist teams for having us – we had an amazing time and can’t wait to visit again.