• Stepping Out

Burleigh Pavilion - Dining review

Updated: Mar 14, 2019

The iconic building perched on the spectacular shoreline of Burleigh headland has undergone an impressive renovation. The hype surrounding the opening of The Burleigh Pavilion was palpable, and now that the establishment is open and in full operation, the site continues in its long history of delighting the community of beach-loving habitués.

After the dust had settled from its grand reveal, we went to meet renowned Head Chef Guillaume Zika and experience the food of this glorious venue, up close and personal.

The building itself is reminiscent of other well recognised Australian beach pavilions (think Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia, or the historic North Beach and Bondi Pavilions in New South Wales). With white-washed walls, high ceilings and spaces that seem to blend together effortlessly, the building is perfectly suited to our outdoor lifestyle and the natural beauty of Burleigh’s surrounding headland.

The true magic is simply being that close to the water, where the vista is world class. We watched as surfers took their last wave to shore before the sun set, and as the City lights from Surfers Paradise slowly filled the oceans’ horizon. Fresh salty air rolled through the large open space, mixed together with aromatic smells from the kitchen - it was just heavenly.

The open kitchen sits pride of place in the centre of the dining area where Head Chef Guillaume Zika and his respected team create food for the two separate restaurants, the Terrace, which is for the casual diner, and The Tropic, which offers a fine dining experience.

Chef Zika’s prestigious career begun in France where he learned the strict disciplines of the kitchen and gained a passion for his art. From here his career blossomed, working in established restaurants across Paris, London and New York including two and three Michelin starred restaurants, and recently awarded two hats as head chef at Sydney's exclusive Cottage Point Inn.

His unique dishes are creative, using as much local produce as possible from Byron Bay and surrounding Northern New South Wales farms. As most of our best seafood goes directly to Sydney and other parts of the world, Chef Zika makes a concerted effort to source the best local seafood that we do have available, including our local prawns.

Chef Zika explains in simple terms how he creates the menu, “It is decided by what I like to eat, and I design the vision around that. I like to keep things interesting, we stay classic in the bar as that is what people what, but in the restaurant we try to be a little more creative. We make our own bread, burger buns, fermented and preserved vegetables”.

Chef Zika invited us to enjoy some of his personal favourite dishes that showcase his creativity and inspire those in the kitchen:

The watermelon stracciatella made with fresh mint and lime, is a brightly coloured dish with strong summer flavours and a combination of lovely textures.

The anchovy and butter bean dish was served with almond cream and lashes of extra virgin olive oil. Once again, a dish suited to coastal eating; not too light, not too heavy, just well balanced and tasty.

The standout dish for us was kingfish crudo. The cubed fish was so very fresh and the finger lime dressing was the perfect citrus accompaniment. The dish was so easy to eat that I felt like I was falling into a trace with each mouthful.

As we sipped on cocktails, 'The Burleigh Hill’, and ‘Dusk Till Dawn’, one a sweet refresher full of mashed strawberries, the other a tart and refreshing passionfruit sensation, we watched as the last of the sunlight danced over ocean.

Dining at Burleigh Pavilion was an all round excellent experience for a mid week dinner, and as a venue with so much more to offer, we will surely return (and soon) for a lazy lunch and more magical views with family and friends.

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