By Vivienne Pearson
Cadeau, meaning ‘gift’ in French, is the newest restaurant in Brunswick Heads. Its initial gift to you is the addition of European-influenced food to the area (keep reading for a second gift). Think Switzerland, Italy, France and the UK.
Cadeau feels like a gift to its owners. Operated by husband and wife team, Giorgio Ravelli (chef), and Holly Ottignon (front-of-house), were on the lookout for a new place to call home. Their journey to Brunswick Heads started in the UK, where Giorgio had cheffed in places like The Ledbury (named as the top restaurant in the UK on numerous occasions).
Holly had been a professional jazz singer, and a move to hospitality was a natural fit. ‘I was a food-obsessed kid, and meeting Giorgio opened up that world,’ she says. Music is still a big part of her life and her musical family are stoked about her move to Bruns as her brothers love performing at the Brunswick Picture House.
Apart from singing lullabies to her toddler son, Holly has been more focussed on the amazing turnaround late last year from purchase to opening. ‘Donna from The Kingswood had already created such a beautiful space,’ says Holly. ‘We feel very welcomed by neighbours, locals and summer visitors.’
Six weeks in and the team have started to attract heart-warming positive reviews, including from the team at Fleet who ‘ordered just about everything on the menu’ and others who are comparing the food to that of Barrio and Harvest.
The menu is small but incredibly rich in options. Arranged in order of size, dishes can be shared or eaten solo. My group of four opted for the banquet menu, allowing us to experiment without decisions.
Giorgio and Holly talk about ‘low manipulation’ of ingredients, and the result is taste.
Some dishes were new to us, like a collar of snapper, which is the neck portion of the fish, served with its fin sticking upwards to use as a handle. Others were familiar with a twist, like the roast lamb served with creamy butter beans instead of potatoes, and the best mint sauce I have ever tasted.
Most dishes had a similar sauce-based wow factor; everything from a curry-leaf based relish to a seaweed sauce for a potato ‘cake’. Mustard featured for a couple, with each one very different, befitting the more nuanced European approach to this condiment.
Dessert offered something for each of our group, from blue cheese served with a fennel biscuit and beer honey, to a coffee ‘opera cake’ served with Chantilly cream.
The wine list has been carefully selected, with one of my South Australian companions over the moon to find three different rosés, and the other enjoying her first taste of ‘orange’ wine, something she had read about in the in-flight magazine on her way over.
Cadeau Bar & Restaurant,
2/26 Mullumbimbi Street, Brunswick Heads. Wed–Sunday 5–10pm.
6685 1111 | cadeaurestaurant.com.au