As a city, we are very young indeed… at least superficially. We can’t boast a Colusseum, nor the glorious artworks of the Sistine Chapel. There are no obvious antiquities dating back 20,000 years to when the first Aboriginal footsteps were etched into our sand, nor to the first European settlers who breathed this air and walked this soil.
We need to dig deeper to find our heritage, but the story is there for discovery, lying in ancient burial sites and middens between Broadbeach and Stradbroke Island.
The sea also tells its own story, hiding beneath it tales of adventurers and immigrants, of the Cambus Wallace and the Scottish Prince, ships that foundered off our shores, namesakes claimed by two bar restaurants at Nobby’s and Palm Beach.
The Scottish Prince ran aground in 1887 about 500m off the coast near Main Beach as it sailed from Glasgow, Scotland to Brisbane. None of the forty immigrants and crew on board lost their lives, but the ship sank and much of the cargo of whisky and household items was lost. Only the hull of the ship remains, home to a variety of marine life and a popular dive site.
Slip down the alleyway under 8th Avenue Terrace, Palm Beach, and you’ll find the hold of the new Scottish Prince, the door leading to another carefully created nautical world.
Once inside, you’ll be swallowed up by a nautically-decorated ship’s galley divided into cosy booths and discreet separate dining rooms.
The ship’s maker is acknowledged on the back wall along with maps of Scotland, a Singer sewing machine (similar to those carried on the wreck), a sextant, and a picture of the barque itself. We could spend a whole night at this ‘museum’ taking a guided tour of each piece of nautical paraphernalia…
Instead, just like sailors did of old, we gather in the galley for nourishment and refreshments.
…which we do, sharing plates of kipfler and fresh green pea arancini bedded down with a stunning béarnaise, tempura-battered zucchini flowers packed with chèvre, proscuitto green apple tartine (open sandwich) with pea and mint pesto and Meredith chèvre on Burleigh Baker’s sourdough toast…
…whiskey-soaked lamb cutlets with broccolini and, of course, the fruits of the sea itself with chilli and garlic prawns that beg us to mop up the juices afterwards. An Irish whiskey cream and chocolate mousse rounds off a perfect meal.
There are mussels in champagne and bacon broth to be prised out of the kitchen as well as cheese boards to feast on. Whether you ‘Walk the Plank’ or dine at ‘The Captain’s Table’, it’s perfect fare to nibble on during a lengthy journey.
Of course, the greatest reference to The Scottish Prince is the well-stocked bar holding over 150 whiskies, both single malt and exemplary blends. Charted in an expansive nine-page menu beginning with Scots royalty, the listing continues by country of origin. It’s heart-warming just to look at, let alone to drink!
We have to ask the captain for some help with our tipple. After all, Dave Ferry is guiding us on the journey, and for the faint-hearted who do not know where to begin (or how to continue), The Scottish Prince holds monthly whisky tasting evenings at a very reasonable price.
An evening at The Scottish Prince brings the pleasure of dining on ‘cargo’ salvaged from the salties; an immersive ship-bound journey through time aided by a golden drop or two. What better way to learn about the Gold Coast!
1176 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach, Queensland 4221 Ph: 07 5598 3021
Open: Tues – Thurs 5pm – 11pm; Fri – Sun 4pm – 11pm; Weekend lunches and special events as advertised.