Food review: The Doughnut Affair

2375 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

I would like to live a life with no regrets. Some indulgence for sure, but none so disturbing to my moral compass that I can’t forgive myself.

My love affair with doughnuts began with the jam doughnuts of a New Zealand childhood. Long and pudgy with a thick filling of freshly whipped cream and a long line of berry jam, they stole my heart. Recently, The Doughnut Affair rekindled the flame.

Kurt Lehndorf recognised the fatal attraction of sweets when he set up The Doughnut Affair, a concept he’d been working on for two years. After his interest in top end doughnuts was first piqued in New York he realised that, in food terms, eating a doughnut was sometimes viewed as just as illicit as having an affair of the heart. Running with that idea, he set out to make his doughnuts as ‘naughty as possible – #doughnutsforgrownups with #noregrets.

Enlisting the help of Executive Pastry Chef Graciela Jonen (ex-Otto Brisbane, Sofitel Gold Coast and Palazzo Versace) the pair have developed an indulgent menu of doughnuts never seen on the coast before.

“First, we set out to make the dough perfect – light and crispy on the outside with a pillow of softness on the inside,” Kurt tells us. “Then we looked at the flavour combinations that hadn’t been tried before: champagne with strawberries and cream with candied rose petal, caramelised bacon with bourbon maple syrup glaze, chocolate hazelnut with ganache and praline, Malibu-laced pina colada, and The Tuscany – a breakfast doughnut of prosciutto, blue cheese, rocket and macadamia mascarpone. We wanted to push the boundaries of what a doughnut could be.”

Tailored from the moment you walk in the door, Kurt’s vision embodies a total sensual experience. Firstly, it’s visual. The sophisticated, elegant fitout provides a rich cream and gold background against which a range of his luxe doughnuts are displayed under glass cloches. Dressed up in layers with top notches and extravagant additions, they’re creations of beauty, each one so different, indulgent on the eye as well as the palate.

In one corner, the coffee machines lead us into the second facet of experience: aroma, as coffee is prepared – Code Black, a strong chocolatey brew from Melbourne’s Joe Haddad, the only place its available on the coast.

Then, of course, we must make difficult choices and try the doughnuts. From sweet to savoury, we choose a selection and take the plunge to plunder and destroy their beauty in our attempt to try a piece of each.

My favourite? Surprisingly, it’s not the extravagant S’mores Doughnut with its dual-filled centre of dark-chocolate ganache and light chocolate mousse and top hat jumbo toasted marshmallow that lures me but a simple doughnut with yuzu and green tea glaze with a hint of lemon. I’m surprised, but its combination of fresh citrus and soft yeasty dough is irresistible.

When the venue’s liquor license comes through, plans are to extend the business to a bar that takes up the whole ex-Fufu venue. Doughnuts and champagne? Why not! For now, though, I’m content with this affair of the palate, knowing I’ll return to taste other decadent treats. After all, as Kurt says, we can all afford “an affair on our healthy lifestyle. Regret nothing!”

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