Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Passing the Taste Test; the Food Scene at Airlie Beach Is Rapidly Gaining Ground

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Passing the Taste Test; the Food Scene at Airlie Beach Is Rapidly Gaining Ground

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Backhouse

THE huge two-tiered platter arrived brimming with seafood including mud crab, bugs, tiger prawns, South Australian oysters, Tasmanian smoked salmon and more.

It was the culmination of a "gastronomic experience" at restaurants at Airlie Beach and the world-famous Fish D'vine and The Rum Bar didn't disappoint.

The afternoon began with lunch at the Coral Sea Resort jetty where I was served fish and skewers straight off the barbecue.

I was then whisked away on an Airlie Beach tuk tuk courtesy of Just Tuk'n Around to Walter's Lounge.

Opened in June 2015 as a cocktail bar, it became so popular it later opened as a restaurant.

As the meals started to arrive I wasn't sure if my palate was sophisticated enough for the offerings from the restaurant's Australian Good Food and Travel Guide Chef's Hat award-winning chefs.

The delicate bite-sized meals included chicken liver parfait, beef tartare with egg yolk emulation and wagyu rump served with onion puree, gremolata and pearl onion.

That was all washed down with a glass of prosecco recommended by sommelier Rebecca Anderson.

Owner and manager Heath Bentley said he had convinced three friends to work with him, giving them a combined experience of about 55 years.

"We're all super competitive and like to challenge each other," he said. Mr Bentley said the food scene at Airlie Beach was constantly improving.

"Airlie is realising that there's more than just a backpacker market and they're going to start looking at that higher end and introducing a better level of service and food which will be great for the area."

He said chefs at the restaurant tried to use as much local produce as possible.

"We've started looking at what farms are around the area and what we can source locally."

The restaurant is on the ground floor of the Mantra Boathouse Apartments and overlooks the beautiful Port of Airlie marina which is packed with multi-million dollar vessels. …

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