Last Friday James and I had another overnight holiday. James was at work so I left the office early and met him in the Gong to stay at the Novotel.
I booked the Mystery Deal on Wotif, but since there are so few hotels in the Gong I knew which one I was getting. It was only $120, which I thought was an amazing deal - cheaper than the Metro in Sydney ($130 for the room) and much nicer!
We had a Queen bed, which is a much better option than a King because Kings are usually two King Singles with a big sheet, whereas Queens tend to be an actual Queen. The advantage of that is that you won't wake up lodged in the gap between the two mattresses in the middle of the night.
We'd planned on going out to the CBD for pizza and drinks, but that went out the window when we found out about the $60 Seafood Buffet in the hotel restaurant. We love seafood and we love buffets, and we also love not having to go very far.
The chicken on the right was really amazing, it had a creamy sauce that was kind of bland yet somehow delicious. Like a bit of a coronation chicken maybe?
This plate contained the aforementioned chicken, some asparagus, smoked salmon (lovely), crab, Balmain Bug and a mussel topped with onion, tomato and lemon. I loved the mussels, but annoyingly they didn't have any of those long metal thingies for getting the flesh out of crustaceans.
I also sampled the creamy tomato penne and calamari and wedges. These are obviously the options for children and the unadventurous, but both were absolutely outstanding. The calamari rings were cooked perfectly, tender and firm at the same time and free of stringy bits, and the batter was so crispy and not greasy at all. The other thing is a bit of fish stuffed with smoked haddock and other stuff and it was AMAZING.
At this point I had a plate with mountains of smoked salmon and cold prawns, which was probably the savoury highlight of the night. I was too overwhelmed by deliciousness to stop and take a snap, but I suppose everyone has seen prawns and salmon before.
We weren't crazy about the cakes (the chocolate was quite dry actually), but those little cups of chocolate mousse were super tasty. The thing that looks like a bowl of whipped cream was actually a sort of spongeless trifle/parfait, with jelly, fresh raspberries and custard. It was amazingly delicious and after sharing a mixed tasting plate of desserts with James, I went back for a big plate just of the jelly.
Cheese and fruit
I was pretty full after all the jelly but James wanted to have a cheese course. They had a great selection of cheeses so it was pretty good. I also tasted a bit of dried apple, holy crap it was so gross!
Afterwards we thought we would go out for a drink, but instead we just walked over to the lobby bar.
French Martini, $12
This was some kind of passionfruit cocktail, it was beautifully Summery.
There were a lot of people in the bar, and some definitely weren't staying in the hotel. I guess it's just a popular hang for the locals? I'm not surprised really, it was a great little bar.
All the Novotel staff were delightful to deal with too, professional but friendly and very helpful. My only complaint about the entire experience is that my pillow was too squashy, which isn't a huge issue. I had a wonderful time and I'd definitely go back. Thanks Novotel!
On Saturday we went for brunch at lee&me cafe, which I learned about from Cate of All Cats Are Grey At Night, who eats there a lot.
We sat outside and it was freezing so we ordered some hot drinks. I had a yummy hot chocolate and James had a coffe, which he said was really good.
This was a really oustanding bacon and egg roll with avocado, spinach and a lovely tomato relish. I would have preferred cooked spinach to raw, but it was great nonetheless and only $12.
Then we did some shoppin'!
Mini straighter from Cotton On Body, $5! I've wanted one of these for ages.
I bought this Trinny and Susannah book for $5!
We had a look around DJs, wow. It wasn't as fancy-looking as the ones around here, but gosh it was good. When we walked in a lady was handing out perfume samles, she gave me this nice Bottega Veneta one and James got a Diesel one that actually smells really good (most men's fragrances make me feel sick so I'm pleased we found one that doesn't).
They had a L'occitane shelf and on it was a basket filled with samples of a lovely rose-scented body lotion for people to help themselves! They don't have things like that at Miranda. I couldn't believe my eyes so I asked the saleslady (yeah that's right, I could actually locate a salesperson in the store!) and she ended up giving me some Jurlique handcream samples too. Awesome!
Outside there were three young guys in a band playing awesome covers of Top 40 songs. Their rendition of that One Direction song - what's it called again, You Don't Know You're Beautiful? Or maybe just Beautiful? Anyway - was one of the best things I've ever heard.
Last stop was a brewery where we had this tasting trio of beers. The pale ale was fruity and delicious but the aftertaste was too bitter. I didn't care for the others either.
And that was it. What a lovely trip. Snaps for anyone who's still reading!