Essence at Darwin Airport Resort
1 Henry Wrigley Drive
Marrara NT 812
Tel : + 61 8 8920 3333
License: Fully Licensed (no BYO)
The casually luxurious surrounds make Essence one of Darwin's most intriguing restaurants. The menu evokes both the fresh market fare of Asia and the classic cooking styles of Europe (thankfully straying well off the conventional hotel food path).
Next to Darwin international airport, ten minutes drive from the CBD.
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Essence captures the spirit of the tropics with its exquisite poolside area complete with a soothing waterfall and fern fronds. It's a pleasant surprise to find this level of effortless elegance at the local airport hotel, and a delightful greeting or farewell to Darwin’s guests. But Darwinites themselves love Essence too, and visit for intimate dinners and sparkling festivities independent of their travelling.
The resort entrance is palatial, with capacious cane lounges in the breezy atrium setting the mood for an evening of casual extravagance. It’s a treat to arrive at dusk and subside into a deckchair with a sundowner. There’s a lively bar, and plenty of quieter seating by the pool for moon-lit cocktails. The air is always deliciously warm and a dip in the pool prior to dinner is tempting.
Go inside for a divine dinner where executive chef Neil Salonga offers a menu sizzling with variety. Dishes display a seamless blend of traditions from Salonga’s Filipino origins, his experience as a Melbourne restaurateur, and the fresh Territory produce at hand. The barramundi fillet seared on Indian pastry is a classic example – the favourite fish of the Top End is given a charming Indian twist away from just fish ’n’ chips. The flesh is firm, white and delicious. Seasonal changes to the menu always carry fresh flavour. Tonight’s dessert is vanilla black sticky rice trifle. The classic English pud is given an Asian accent and is luscious, sweet, and indulgent.
Essence is a great restaurant for enjoying a pampered dinner and dip, whether you are escaping for a night or getting ready to jetset around the world. But no matter why you're here, you will definitely return.
Merridy Anne Pugh
The Darwin Airport Resort, literally a stroll away from the runway, is a cleverly-designed example of NT-style architecture, combining functional, heat-evading design with contemporary Australian art and a touch of tropical luxury.
The newest addition to the resort is Essence, a restaurant that should prove to be a blessing for foodies seeking fine dining outside the CBD. Sip a Marguerita on the plush pastel lounges at the adjoining Runway Bar before ambling into Essence, a good-looking, modern dining room, full of glass and dark timber, with a tall, tempting wine rack and alfresco seating overlooking the resort's tree-lined pool.
Filipino-born chef Neil Salonga heads the kitchen, his sophisticated, culturally diverse cooking thankfully straying well off the conventional hotel food path. His cooking evokes both the fresh market fare of Asia and the classic cooking styles of Europe, with deftly-selected native Australian ingredients adding colour and character to the dishes.
An exceptional wine list and cheese selection round things off beautifully.
While the primary clientele here is tourists, this is not a "tourist restaurant". Locals who make the journey to Essence will come away proud to call it their own.
About Darwin Airport Resort
Located within 350 metres of the Darwin International Airport, Darwins newest accommodation venue offers guests the unique opportunity of enjoying resort style accommodation set amongst lush tropical gardens with a variety of accommodation styles to suit both the holiday maker and business guest alike.
A range of accommodation options are available including spacious family suites, business suites and deluxe bungalows. Facilities include a beautiful 26 metre long pool, bar, restaurant, conference and meeting facilities, boardroom, gym and courtesy transfers to and from the airport.