It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Sea World. With the kids all grown up, there’s not much reason to visit that part of the Gold Coast nowadays. I’m so out of touch I thought the resort was called still Nara Resort but that was a lifetime and a lot of Japanese tourists ago. These days it’s simply known as Sea World Resort and I was invited* to take in the new menu at its Shoreline Restaurant.
The resort was looking to modernise its buffet, offering contemporary flavours and concepts whilst still remaining family friendly. With Executive Chef Klaus Keller overseeing the transformation in the kitchen, he brings his exceptional experience to the table. Chef Keller has cooked for quite a few big names including Bill Clinton so he knows a thing or two about managing and meeting high expectations. Since he started refreshing the menu, Keller has introduced a number of new offerings such as live cooking stations where patrons can interact with chefs, talking with them and watching their food being freshly cooked. There are other little touches you’d expect to see at higher end places such as using herbs from the restaurants own kitchen garden, innovative plating and presentation and the so very ‘now’ mini plates and small bites.
Shoreline Restaurant is not a Michelin Star experience but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t striving to make things a little interesting and different for their guests. Friday and Saturday is Seafood Buffet night. There were trawler loads of prawns bugs, crabs and oysters on ice and constantly being replenished.
Smoked fish, tempura soft shell crab, seafood chowder, yellow fish curry, scallops and pork belly and an enormous jambalaya were just some of the hot options on offer. A favourite was the Wasabi Tempura Oysters of which I had at least half a dozen and the perfectly cooked garlic prawn skewers, straight from the cooking station. Of course, those not interested in seafood had numerous options in the form of antipasti, truly rare roast beef, stir fry, pork belly, butter chicken, vegetables, salads and more. And yes, there were desserts too!
The thing that impressed me most about Shoreline though, was the service. Before we were seated for dinner, I spent some time chatting with Sea World Water Park & Sea World Resort GM Bikash Randhawa. No one knows this place like he does. He started his career in Sea World whilst he was studying, as a plate clearer in the very same restaurant. Over time he climbed the rungs, doing many different jobs in the restaurant and the resort, learning about hospitality and the backbone of the service industry, its staff. Fast forward 22 years and Bikash oversees the operations of the entire water park and resort yet he was still able to tell me the names of the wait staff on the floor. It’s always the service that makes or breaks a place for me and this place runs likes a well oiled machine. Staff are friendly and pleasant, whether they are front of house, kitchen staff or in the dining room. Plates and detritus are cleared regularly and there is someone there to assist without hovering or being intrusive. Snaps too, to whomever monitors and manages the buffet area. We all know that buffets can get pretty messy, pretty quickly but there was always sometime in ‘tidy and replenish’ mode so each time I revisited, the buffet looked neat and inviting.
Shoreline is certainly a family restaurant though there were several groups of Baby Boomers and Gen Ys, enjoying the enormous selection of seafood. They may have decided to finish a day at the water park with a bumper dinner, perhaps they were staying at the resort for the weekend or may have been locals enjoying dinner out. Whatever the reason, everyone was enjoying themselves in this very busy restaurant. There are different themes on each night of the week (‘Tropical BBQ’, ‘Italiano’ etc) but clearly Friday and Saturday are the big nights for the seafood lovers. This is not haute cuisines but it’s fresh, varietal and reflects current food trends. I think I may have even seen a slate serving plate!
At the end of the evening, we walked past Sea World on our way home and saw this…
It had a Scooby Doo scary abandoned theme park vibe. Actually, the Corkscrew (rebadged as The Viper) is being dismantled to make way for something new and at the moment, secret.
*TIFFIN was invited to just how many Wasabi Tempura Oysters she could eat at Shoreline as a media guest of Sea World Resort & Village Roadshow
Sea World Resort & Water Park
Sea World Drive
Gold Coast Qld 4217