Christmas Dinner at Osteria Vivo in Jupiters Gold Coast

“You’re going to have luxury and you’re going to like it.”

That’s what the SO said as the last days of work fast approached. Each time he brought up the subject of what to do for the vacation and suggested we take a staycation, I would shake my head and insisted we could simply stay home for the holiday. We had a million things to do… to clean… to file and put away… there was an endless list of chores we had been putting off for ages, waiting for us.

Nonetheless, the SO would not be dissuaded and made all the arrangements for us to spend a couple of nights at the Jupiters Gold Coast. Unfortunately it was also Christmas, so with many places shut for the holidays, he took precautions and made reservations for dinner at the hotel’s Osteria Vivo.

Osteria Vivo

Seeing as I didn’t plan or do any research into Osteria Vivo, I had no idea what to expect. The SO did let on that it was an Italian restaurant and studied the menu online. He did not, however, tell me there would be a dress code, but I came prepared – I had packed a dress and heels lest we decide we wanted to check out the casino and security wanted to be overzealous with the dress code (everyone should pack a ‘just-in-case’ when travelling).

Suitably dressed and eager to explore the hotel after dinner, we were promptly presented with complimentary bread after placing our order. Just looking at it, I had thought it was some type of cake. The glossy crust had been liberally drizzled with virgin olive oil, leaving that characteristic green richness flavour as we bit into the fluffy pillow of flour and yeast – which wasn’t terribly yeasty at all. In that sense, I was right to think this might’ve been a piece of cake.

Osteria Vivo

Osteria Vivo

Pumpkin tortelloni with brown butter sage and amaretti biscotti. AUD$24

There were at least 5-6 options in each of the sections, offering a diverse selection of meats and vegetables. I was tempted by a number of pastas and mains, but stuck with the one that drew my attention first: Pumpkin tortelloni with brown butter sage and amaretti biscotti.

My reservations were that it would be unduely sweet, what with the pumpkin and amaretti biscotti. But Osteria Vivo did a beautiful number with this. The amaretti biscotti provided a delightful crunchy crumb texture, rather than the sweetness that I was worryingly expecting. Natural pumpkin sweetness filled the firm tortelloni, which could’ve been made with a slightly thinner pasta. The joining knot was a tad too hard, possibly from having been drying out a little. But overall, it was beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the dish.

Osteria Vivo

Roasted Tasmanian salmon with pancetta lentils. AUD$34

The SO, staying true to his ‘if there’s fish, I’ll have it’ mantra, was taken by the roasted Tasmanian salmon. The serve looked a lot bigger than my tortelloni, especially when lifting the block of salmon, we discovered there were broccolini and carrots hiding underneath.

But back to the centrepiece of the dish. There is something I find particularly orgasmic about crispy fish skin. It’s usually never as salty as pork crackling, but it holds the same ‘umf’ factor when it crunches between your teeth. Osteria Vivo‘s roasted Tasmanian salmon had that punchy flavoured paper-thin stiff crackling that I would’ve normally associate with fried fish. If any restaurant decided to serve fish crackling instead of pork, I would be there in a heartbeat, ready to live the rest of my life with fishy breath (woe is the SO).

On the flesh side, the salmon had lost a bit of its crust around the edges, but it served its purpose of keeping the salmon plump and moist. Coupled with the earthy lentils, this filled the SO’s normally gimme-more! appetite very comfortably.

That said, we couldn’t walk away without trying the pancetta brussel sprouts. I had never grown up with the childhood trauma of the overcooked brussel sprout, but the SO had and had always been a bit reluctant for me to buy them at the market. But since I recreated Porteño Boys’s crispy brussel sprouts from MasterChef Australia, the SO has slowly (but surely) become a fan of this misunderstood vegetable.

Osteria Vivo‘s pancetta brussel sprouts was a little undercooked for my liking, making the little bulbs a smidgeon harder to bite through than I would’ve preferred. They also chose sprouts that were quite large. Any larger and there would’ve been no way we would’ve been able to fit each half in our mouths. Nonetheless, better under than overcooked when it comes to brussel sprouts and the euphorically full flavour made this side as far from the limp overcooked brussel sprout cliche as the ocean is to the moon.

Osteria Vivo

Pancetta brussel sprouts. AUD$8

And in case you were wondering about the service, Osteria Vivo‘s was flawless, but could you expect anything less from a restaurant in the Jupiters Gold Coast?


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