International travel may still be off the cards but that doesn’t mean you can’t fly straight into the heart of Southern Italy whenever you feel like it – at least for the next five weeks.
From March 25 – May 3 escape Oz by jetting straight to W Brisbane’s WET Deck where you can live out your best life and Italian dreams with an exclusive menu curated by MasterChef Australia alum Laura Sharrad and a special cocktail menu created by Aperol’s expert mixologists.
My darling Josh and I dressed up to fit the European summer vibes and after a long week of intense rainfall and flooding on the East Coast, we couldn’t be happier to see blue skies and feel the sun shine down on us. I opted for a thin black maxi dress from Assembly Label paired with heels, large freshwater pearl earrings and ‘natural’ but glowy makeup to give that subtle sunkissed look (see here).
We attended the activation of the five-star hotel’s Endless Summer last night where we arrived at golden hour and started off with a bright and refreshing Aperol Spritz ($19) – the iconic combo of Aperol, Prosecco and soda water garnished with an orange of course and served in a custom glass. You can’t go wrong with a classic spritz.
The Spritz was followed by the vegan-friendly Ruby Sherbet ($18) – a mixture of Aperol, ruby grapefruit, Angostura Bitters, thyme syrup, and finished with an aquafaba foam. Thyme’s mild flavour profile makes it complementary to fruity flavours and an excellent pairing with Aperol, not to mention is on-theme as a Mediterranean native. Neither of us loved this flavour combination that much, but can appreciate the concept.
Our favourite cocktail of the night was served next – Bella! ($19) made with Aperol, Pinot Grigio, strawberry puree, soda water and watermelon foam. With its beautiful pink summertime aesthetic served with a in a wine tumbler. We definitely helped ourselves to seconds. This is one for anybody with a sweet tooth.
After Bella! came Nonna Would Drink This ($20) and I can tell you that this indeed would be the cocktail for your grandparents. This combination of Aperol, Appleton Estate Rum, Amaro Montenegro and agave (aged in an ex-Negroni barrel) would sit well in the hands of a person who’s spent their life well-travelled. Smokiness lingers on the tongue and amplifies the strength of the alcohol’s taste on this one.
The night ended with an East ‘8’ Hold-Up ($18), a summer tipple consisting of Aperol, vodka, pineapple, passionfruit and lime is the cocktail of choice for those who enjoy sours but still like a touch of sweet in their lives. Excellent over ice.
See pics of the other cheeky cocktails here.
As for eats, we had some whipped ricotta, local honey, black pepper with Gnocco Fritto ($24), which is essentially an Italian deep fried bread that I could eat forever.
The ocean’s influence in the menu is clear with a range of seafood options making it perfect for pescatarians. Their solid selection of Mediterranean inspired bites is mostly gluten-free and has a reasonable range of yummy vegetarian options too.
We also tried the hand picked mud crab and pickled cucumber fingers ($44) and the potato cake with creme fraiche, smoked salmon roe and chives ($33). We absolutely loved the mud crab fingers, which were so delicate, balanced and delicious. The potato cake was also great and tasted like a super crunchy hash brown. Creme fraiche added a lovely contrasting texture and freshness to the deep fried potato, with the smoked salmon roe adding pops of salt in every bite.
Our final savoury dish of the night was Mooloolaba whole BBQ king prawns cooked with chilli, parsley and cured egg yolk ($45). This was aesthetic as hell. Cooked perfectly, the chilli and parsley are timeless seafood seasonings that enhanced the cooked prawns’ flavour. The richness of the egg yolk was a fab addition. I’ll upload a photo on Instagram tomorrow.
To finish or if you’re just feeling like a sweet treat, I recommend the Sorbetto Cones ($20) which come with both strawberry and lemon flavours. The tang and zing leaves your mouth feeling clean and is such a nice way to round off the night. It brings us full circle having started with the fruity bitterness of the Aperol and ending with an ice-cool fruity treat that’s light on the tummy.
MasterChef’s Laura Sharrad hopes to transport guests to another time and place with her specially curated menu that features classic Mediterranean dishes using QLD’s freshest ingredients for the W Brisbane x Aperol collaboration.
“We’re so fortunate to have such beautiful summer ingredients still in season,” Pasta queen Laura Sharrad says.
“Fresh local seafood and berries are quintessentially summer and I have naturally featured them in the menu for an Endless Summer,” she says.
On another note, the service at the WET Deck is always so awesome. The staff are always so helpful, knowledgeable and are always open to having a quick chat and receiving feedback on current menu items.
There’s also no plastic waste produced by guests, which always gets bonus points for me. Keeping to their five-star standard, all their flatware and cutlery are real, which obviously means they can just be washed and reused time and time again. Depending on the drink, they’ll use paper straws or no straw at all.
W Brisbane is bringing these European holiday vibes every Thursday to Sunday for the next five weeks, so if you don’t have any plans this weekend, bring a mate or a date along and sip on a Spritz and feel the Italian Summer glitz and soak in the stellar river views from Level 4’s WET Deck.
*I attended W Brisbane’s Endless Summer as an invited guest