There’s a secret club in Burleigh that even some locals don’t know about. But this is a secret that won’t take long to get out.
Situated under the Swell Resort, the venue has had a complete makeover thanks to Goodna Services Club. Opening in December 2015, it’s the first club in Queensland to start from scratch in over 15 years. What has emerged is a fresh, smart entertainment venue – just the sort of place where the whole family can enjoy a night out.
We accepted the invitation to join general Manager Stephen Lawrie for dinner, parking under the club and arriving incognito to gauge the reception.
“How about you join the club tonight? You’ll get 10% off the bar and be able to access food specials as well.” We don’t get past the doorman without handing over our $1 lifetime membership. What a laugh! It’s the best deal we’ve ever been offered, and definitely the cheapest club membership on the coast!
Looking into the venue, there are pokies discreetly tucked behind glass panelling on our right, a two-tiered expansive dining room and lounge wrapping around a huge central bar, sports screens scattered around the venue, as well as a kid’s play room clearly visible behind floor to ceiling glass. Seating around 200 people, this is family dining heaven!
Don’t get me wrong… I love seeing families dining out together, but a separate kids’ room is one way that kids can enjoy creative play and be supervised within sight if they get restless. It’s got to beat ‘iPad dining’ any day!
This is such a well-appointed venue that we can’t wait to check out the food!
Sitting on the higher level overlooking the action, we’re surprised when the waitress brings menus. Yes, there is full table service, including recommendations of dishes she likes, and a complete children’s menu.
Our two starters, Coconut and macadamia prawns and Peking duck pancakes are also on the lunch menu. They’re great sized starters, tasty and really fresh. We follow up with mains of Salmon, the fresh fish of the day, served with chips and salad, and Angel-hair pasta with fresh local prawns, scallops and fish in a creamy sauce. Both are exactly as described.
Head Chef Rolf van der Kamp is a local, having spent time in the kitchens of the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Surfers and Executive Sous Chef at Twin Towns Resort. Club Burleigh is his first chance to run his own ship from the ground up. Employing celebrity chef Andy Phipps (‘Phippsy’) as consultant, they’ve developed the à la carte menu to be fresh and contemporary, focussing on locally-sourced ingredients.
A chat with Rolf confirms what the taste has already told us: the seafood is fresh (not frozen), bought locally (from Pacifica Seafood) and everything is made in house, from the sauces to the relish. (Yes, they do buy in the chips, but they’re super crispy anyway). There’s no flour used in the sauces, so they’re suitable for gluten-intolerant diners, and food can be adjusted for vegetarian and lactose-intolerant diners as well because it’s not pre-made. Wow! That’s mighty impressive for a club!
When we ask him about his food philosophy, he’s really clear: “…accessible fresh food, vibrant, flavoursome and flourless, simple and tasty.”
It’s all those things: fresher and better quality than traditional club food, but with club facilities; a middle road in dining which is hard to find!
Better still, there are specials which are hard to ignore: $10 lunch specials and Monday’s ‘Family eats for $50’ deal, as well as a number of other specials to mix up the menu for locals.
There’s a lot in the drinks list to please locals: members’ 10% off drinks (which are already at club prices); $5 Happy Hour from 5 – 6pm during the working week, $10 cocktails every Wednesday on ladies’ night, premium beers on tap including local Burleigh Brewing’s Big Head, 28 Pale Ale (named after Burleigh’s 28 days of perfect swell in ‘74) and, surprisingly, Black Giraffe, the only venue in Queensland to sell it, in conjunction with Zarraffa’s Coffee, which you can also consume in a Dirty Giraffe cocktail (Black Giraffe, vanilla Absolut vodka, Tia Maria and berry coulis).
Most of all, though, we see this as an extended family venue with something to please everyone. With live music on the weekends and a classy, well-supervised fitout, it doesn’t have a view of the beach, but its hideaway location has a cosy feel all its own. It’s such a handy venue to know that locals won’t want the secret to get out!
Follow Club Burleigh on social media for their specials and live entertainment schedule.
1640 Gold Coast Highway (under Swell Resort), Burleigh Heads
Club open daily 10am – 12 midnight.
Open for meals: Mon – Fri 11.30am – 2.30pm; 5/5.30m – 8-9pm; All day dining Sat – Sun 11:30am to 9pm. Ph: 07 5655 0140
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Club Burleigh.