We recently accepted an invitation to have lunch at Four Winds Restaurant at the top of Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise. Opened in 1991, it’s Queensland’s only revolving restaurant; one of ten revolving restaurants in Australia. Retro-chic, revolving restaurants throw us back to the 60s, when Australia’s first real skyscraper, Australia Square, boasted the iconic Summit restaurant as the place to see and be seen!
Natural panoramas have provided me with the most memorable views: a helicopter ride up Franz Joseph Glacier to the top of Mount Cook, a light plane scenic flight over the Olgas, Uluru and the Grand Canyon, a funicular ride to the top of the Alps, Wellington and Queenstown.
But I’m still thrilled by the Gold Coast’s mixed vistas of natural beauty and towering skyscrapers. I call the Gold Coast home, and feel more warmth from this view than from looking at the uniformity of Singapore’s unit blocks from the New Asia Bar, or from the Empire State Building across New York’s concrete, glass and gold leaf skyline, where interest lies in building tops reaching vainly to the heavens.
Perched high up on the 26th floor, there are sweeping views of the Gold Coast’s golden sands stretching out in yawning beauty. You can pick out iconic buildings, north and south and, looking west, waterways twinkle like a school of bait fish. Beyond, the Hinterland stands guard like a mountain of green. There’s interest in every direction outside the restaurant, 360 degree views to the four winds.
Inside, the restaurant circles bundt-like around the hotel’s lift core. Tables are one or two deep against the floor to ceiling windows, the inner tables placed on an upper tier, allowing a great view from every single table, group tables stretching across to the breadth. We order our drinks, and head off to discover the food.
The mainly Asian & seafood buffet is arranged in five stations around the curve:
- A seafood selection of seafood (Balmain bugs, small Pacific oysters, medium tiger prawns, mussels, and spanner crab) with wakame and seafood sauce to accompany, sushi, several varieties of smoked fish, cold meat and cheese.
- Steamed and fried Yum cha dishes including prawn dumplings, pork buns, gyoza, Oysters Kilpatrick and Peking chicken pancakes.
- A hot station window which opens into the kitchen, serving Teriyaki salmon, Crisp pork belly, Honey chicken and Mishu tofu.
We’re up to the fourth station, and Coolangatta swings into view. It’s a reminder that the Gold Coast is not a straight line. There are curves and bends everywhere, its tail whipping around at the last minute, with Point Danger at its tip. Yachts and wind surfers cavort in the water below, sunbathers and walkers evident along the shoreline.
A cry goes up from a table nearby and we turn just in time to see a whale breaching offshore. It’s a rare and beautiful sight; one which makes this a special meal.
- We move on to hot dishes in stainless steel domes – Pad Thai, Hokkein noodles, Beef Massaman, Cashew chicken, Garlic pepper pork, Lemongrass beef and Nasi Goreng, gluten-free and vegetarian choices clearly marked.
- At least a dozen desserts are presented in small portions, perfect for those who wish to try a couple of different tastes. There’s also fresh fruit and Sticky date puddings on offer. Filtered coffee and tea are also included in the price.
While a buffet’s appeal is based on the illusion that you can choose from a multitude of dishes and eat as much as you wish, many of us realise that for us that’s just not true; we must choose our food carefully.
The nature of buffet economics also means that you will not get the very best representation of every single dish, as you would in a specialty restaurant. That’s so for Four Winds, but some dishes were above average. Overall, it was a better buffet than we expected.
What a buffet does provide, however, is an experience which is enjoyable for most people for a set price. Several families, when we visited, were celebrating birthdays, with three generations present.
The service we experienced was cordial and efficient, water refilled, food stations replenished, plates and finger bowls replaced on our table.
Best of all was the stunning view, to enjoy as we relaxed for the full 70 minute rotation. Although not as high as Q1, there is no entrance price to take the lift up to the restaurant. Shop smart online, and you might find discount or bonus offers to make your lunch with friends or family at Four Winds not just a relaxing and memorable experience, but also quite affordable.
There’s free parking under the building, or take the light rail. The Florida Gardens Q-Link station is right outside the door!
NOTE: Lunch prices when we dined were Mon – Sat $59 (on special online for $49), Sun $69; Children 5 – 12 $30; Under 4 free. Check current dinner prices or booking details on their website here or here.
Level 26, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise Ph: 07 5592 9906