Food review: Beachside Pavilion

The Oasis, Broadbeach Mall, Broadbeach Ph: 07 5539 0377

Sometimes there’s reason enough for a restaurant to change its name. Especially when it changes persona.

Co-owned by the Ierna and Dimmatina families for twelve years, the sister restaurant to Mario’s has transformed from the sexy dusky Alto Bar into a beach babe, the ‘Elle’ of Broadbeach dining. The new Beachside Pavilion has stepped out of the darkness into the brightness of beachside life.

Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Beachside Pavilion presents as decidedly casual. Emerging fresh from the surf her whitewashed walls, still dripping with salt water, she’s bold and empowered; so much more savvy and sophisticated than we expect. Unexpectedly, we’re drawn in by her charm.

There’s a casual holiday vibe to the venue that makes us expect fish and chips to come romping out of the kitchen. Yes, there is that, with a takeaway window at the front of the restaurant, serving fish and chips to eat on the beach. But there’s more…

Impeccably sourced sustainable seafood is the hero of this bright and breezy beachside restaurant: a bucket of Ballina prawns with dipping sauces, Mussels Provençale from the Spencer Gulf in SA, Baked ocean trout from Macquarie Harbour TAS.

There’s the lightness of a Mediterranean or modern Italian touch; minimal intervention that we see in our best seafood restaurants: Whole Snapper is cooked simply in lemon, mustard, olive oil and dill; Yellow belly flounder from Victoria in luscious brown butter and saltbush. Both are accompanied by moreish crispy chips and a honey mustard dressed leafy salad.

Saffron linguini marinara is piled high with fresh seafood, topped in glory with a perfectly grilled half bug. No cloying sauce in sight, lit instead by a flash of chilli, the dish is light, balanced and healthy.

The rest of the menu backs up in style to deliver amazingly smart modern food, the influence of the owners’ Italian heritage evident, yet that’s not all. World cuisine that heroes fresh seafood adds to the mix, be it Japanese, Singaporean or modern Australian.

Having secured the services of Japanese sushi chef Yus-uke (formerly sous chef at Ten, then Head Chef at Etsu for two years), the seafood master orders the best available in Australia, displayed on ice in a glass cabinet fronting the restaurant.

Yus-uke explains to us that he only uses trout belly in his poke bowl, (one of three on offer on the menu), which must be cut in a certain way to maximise flavour and texture. His light touch can be seen in the Hiramasa Kingfish ceviche and tuna tartare, part of the ‘Raw’ menu section. Yus-uke says a sashimi bar is planned for summer, the location boasting a street-side terrace looking out to the beach.

Two signature dishes take pride of place in the middle of the menu: Chilli mud crab and Seafood platter. While these may be the choice for a big occasion, don’t be distracted by the ‘big ticket’ items. Modern classics are scattered throughout the menu. This is food perfect for sharing, if only because there are so many dishes too good to miss!

For example, in the ‘Starters’ section, Grilled polenta bruschetta is a triumph, soft and melt-in-the-mouth creamy, topped with a mix of fresh heirloom cherry tomatoes, roast capsicum, endive and asparagus in a fresh basil pesto.

Our dishes are all simply delicious, so well done that we can’t help but murmur one word: ‘Perfect!’

Meat lovers will be pleased too with the investment in a Mibrasa charcoal oven, the only one on the Gold Coast, Chef Tony tells us, imparting a smokiness to the meat that only a wood-fired grill can give. Our Angus rib eye still clinging to the bone yields easily to the knife, succulent and full of flavour. It’s top drawer meat, just like the seafood.

We’ll be returning for the Burrata, sourced from an old Italian family in Brisbane, served with the intriguing mix of heirloom tomato, watermelon, basil, mint and fig vincotta. Oh my!

You may have to walk that little bit further towards the beach to find Beachside Pavilion, but when you do, be sure to wander in..

Order a burger or fish and chips if you must on a cool blustery day, but there’s so much more on this menu to intrigue and delight foodies. Look for the hidden gems within.

Ticking all the boxes for friendly service, drinks and exceptional food, Beachside Pavilion raises the bar on great modern Italian food on the Gold Coast. It’s totally worth a visit!

Read more of Marj’s reviews on Good Food Gold Coast foodgoldcoast.com.au

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