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fine dining, food and wine, milton, Miscellaneous, price, pricey, restaurants and cafes, suburbs

NOT: Drift Cafe, Jetty & Events– 330 Coronation Drive, Milton

Oxley’s on the River was a Brisbane icon for as long as I can remember. When I first moved to Brisbane at the ripe old age of 9, story all I wanted was to go to dinner with my folks down at the cool pontoon restaurant – something to do with my love of food and water. Over the years we went a few times for dinners or weddings….truth be told I was never that fussed, but the outlook was always something to remember. In recent months, old Oxley’s has been done away with – enter Drift (café, jetty, events).

A testament to Brisbane finally growing up and getting a life, when we walked into Drift just after 6.30pm on this Wednesday night, we were informed they were fully booked and we’d have to wait for the 8pm seating. We chose to take a seat in the bar/lounge area and crack a bottle of Sav Blanc to pass the time.

The décor has totally been revamped since its Oxley’s days – Drift has an old-school jazz and cabaret club feel to it. Bottles of Moet lined the walls around the bar, a lady sat at the grand piano singing pleasant but dated tunes and the staff hurried around with an air of arrogance and sophistication. From my initial 30 second appraisal, I couldn’t help but feel I was a little out of place – particularly when the bulk of the clientele walking through the door were my parent’s age.

After ordering the bottle of wine from their extensive list, I was a little shocked when the waiter waltzed back over and insisted I show my ID. Sure, one should probably take this as a flattering gesture, but how many under aged patrons come in wearing business attire? To soften the blow he kindly requested my two colleagues show their ID as well, but only gave them a token glance over. When it registered in his head that I was over 30, he gave a mild shriek followed by half an apology. Sigh…

8pm finally ticked over and after being promised a table three times, I managed to stop one waiter in his tracks and request that we be seated at last (my eyebrows were raised – he knew I meant business). Once we were seated the service was very prompt and professional, however a little stale and false for my liking. The Drift menu however was innovative and mouth watering and it was hard to make a call on what to have.

For an entrée I chose the crumbed goats cheese, zucchini flower and asparagus atop a cauliflower puree ($18). MM loves his sashimi style dishes, so he chose the ocean trout tartar with salmon caviar, salted cucumber and wasabi-avocado cream ($19). Big Dog’s choice (the best of the three in my opinion) was the Gladstone scallops, chorizo and crisp pork belly dusted in cumin, with quince paste ($21).

The goats cheese dish was really pleasant and beautifully presented, however the zucchini flower was very small and wasn’t stuffed as they usually are. This meant that the dish really was just the crumbed platform of cheese and had no other element of real substance to compliment it or balance out the strong cheese flavour.

MM’s tartar was a great composition of raw flavours and the dish presented very well however, he thought it was lacking an element of flavour that he couldn’t quite put his finger on.  Either way it needed a bit more punch. Big Dog’s scallops looked exceptional and again Drift gets top marks for presentation. The scallops and chorizo were in my mind a strange combination but they seemed to work and both were cooked to perfect texture. The pork belly however was overcooked and whilst the cumin dusting was a nice touch, the meat was too stringy and didn’t melt in your mouth like a good piece of pork belly should.

The mains were of similar standard when it comes to the look of the dish – this is something Drift really excels at and obviously take a lot of pride in. I chose the macadamia encrusted snapper with prawn ragout in a creamy citrus sauce ($33). The fish was cooked perfectly however the macadamia lid resting on top was too sweet and in fact it tasted like a crust of brown sugar. With the sweetness of the creamy sauce as well, it was a little too much for my palette but overall it was a nice dish.

MM’s choice of the honey glazed duck breast with cinnamon and blood orange sauce ($35) brought the little green monster out in me. Whilst the duck was a little over-cooked, the flavour and composition of the dish was spot on and I wanted it!

Big Dog chose the Drift special of the day – Moreton bay bugs in Rendang sauce atop a bed of coconut rice (sorry, no record of the price for this one). There was a generous serve of the beady eyed creatures, and The Dog enjoyed devouring these treasures of the sea.

We were too full to even look at the dessert menu and by this stage we really just wanted to get home; the service had started to wane and any hint of vibrant atmposhpere that may have existed earlier in the evening was certainly nowhere to be seen now.

The overall experience at Drift was pleasant, but it was tainted by little moments of pretentiousness and neglect that lead me to rate this as NOT. To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend it to any of my friends who were looking for a fine dining experience, as there are plenty of vibrant venues around our beautiful city with better food and friendlier service. Interestingly enough, Drift has just won the award for best new restaurant at the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence.

  • Drift – 330 Coronation Drive, Milton, +61 7 3368 1866

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  1. Very similar to my experience.
    Eat, drink + be Kerry´s last blog post ..Entertainment Videos

    Posted by Eat, drink + be Kerry
    Twitter: eatdrinkbekerry
    | August 23, 2010, 9:44 am
  2. have been to drift and i am confused. why are you recommending (or not recommending) drift as a fine dining restaurant. the name even suggests it is a cafe (drift cafe jetty events). to be asked for your id you should be thankful and no doubt understand that staff are trained in responsible service of alcohol. being only 24 i wish i was asked for id more often – lucky thing…. i have been to drift for lunch and for dinner but if you want to see the venue in full swing i recommend friday or saturday nights when the place is alive and buzzing. i go to the supper club with my girlfriends all the time! Plus, where else in australia can you find a bottle of moet for $75??

    Posted by Claire Chadwick | August 24, 2010, 8:50 pm
  3. Hi Claire,
    In my humble opinion, Drift falls into the fine dining category by their price, presentation and image they portray. I appreciate that bar staff have a responsibility when it comes to service of alcohol however the manner in which the waiter handled the situation wasn’t one bit complimentary…and I’m 31 so I’m pretty sure I’d be pleased if it had been at all flattering. Thanks for your comments in any case and your recommendations on the supper club – enjoy your moet!

    Posted by CazM | August 29, 2010, 5:56 pm
  4. This is the best web blog I have read.

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