Eat. Drink. Play.
It’s an invitation to an oasis – a bar embellished by verdant foliage opposite the famous surf beach Kurrawa – as Broadbeach Hotel is relaunched as The Broadbeach, an upmarket bar and restaurant to refresh travellers on their journey.
It’s a reminder how far Broadbeach has come in a mere 63 years since the first Broadbeach hotel was built on the same site. Then, it stood alone in a desert of mined sand dunes and unsealed roads.
In the years following WWII, many servicemen came to the coast to enjoy the beach. In an attempt to replicate Jim Cavill’s success with a hotel in Surfers Paradise, a solitary bar and beer garden was the first building on the Broadbeach foreshore, built in 1955 when the suburb housed 300 residents. It was followed by Lennon’s Broadbeach Hotel a year later, a luxurious five-storey building with Queensland’s largest private swimming pool, a tennis court, landscaped gardens and 100 accommodation units.
Despite being the coast’s tallest building, success for the hotel was elusive, the building seen as an ‘oasis in a desert’, leading to the name of the shopping centre situated on the same site today.
Following the building of Lennon’s, surrounding canal-fronted housing estates were built in the late 60s and early 70s: Florida Gardens, Miami Keys and Rio Vista, all forming part of today’s Broadbeach Waters.
My first memories of Lennon’s date back to the late 1970s when the Broadbeach International Hotel (as it was then known) held live stage shows including Las Vegas showgirls and Les Girls. It also hosted the first ‘Schoolies’ celebration.
Never a financial success, in 1987 Lennon’s Hotel was demolished to be replaced by the Oasis Shopping Centre and The Broadbeach Tavern, completed in 1989. Ownership and name changes followed, each carrying memories – many to be remembered and a few best forgotten!
Signified by the ‘definitive article’ attached to its name, The Broadbeach is very different from its forbears. The refurbishment of both the shopping centre and the hotel marks a new phase of life for the area. International eateries flanking the mall attract locals and visitors alike, the iconic hotel opposite the beach and new Kurrawa Surf Club now offering a range of refreshments from the bar – craft beers, boutique wines and high-end cocktails to enjoy with bistro snacks or a full meal service.
With the eastern face of the hotel opening out to the foreshore, Kurrawa’s famous surf within sight, the veranda makes a gorgeous place to dine, enjoying a meal with a sea view.
Inside, decked out in tropical tones with pillars depicting scenes of volcanic jungle locales offset by white tiles and brick, you can find your own nook for a party at high or low tables, in a quiet corner, overlooking the action of an open kitchen or near the bar.
Starting with gin and oyster shooters and champagne, the urge to eat soon hits.
We begin our feast with an assortment of smaller bar snacks on the Broadie Board ($39) – karaage chicken, beef ragu and mozzarella arancini balls, baked brie with caramelised onion and beetroot jam… It’s food to share between two or more as you drink; perhaps with a pizza as backup from the imported Italian oven.
To us, though, there’s more joy in the larger bistro-styled meals: an excellent tender Grazier’s 400g wagyu rump steak served with chips and Caesar salad (or potato gratin and vegetables) for $39 or fresh NZ King Salmon with crisp kipfler potatoes and proscuitto-wrapped asparagus topped with lemon thyme salsa verde. They’re excellent generously-sized dishes, enough to appease a large working day appetite.
How far Broadbeach has come in a mere 63 years! The Broadbeach makes a statement that the suburb’s new watering hole has come of age. It won’t take locals long to find it!
The Oasis Shopping Centre, Old Burleigh Road, Broadbeach, QLD 4218 Ph: 07 5538 4111
Open daily 10am – 5am; All day dining 11:30am – 8:30pm