September 9, 2010

Gold Coast - Seafood Empire; Yamagen

Seafood Empire
Shop 21/17 Cavill Avenue,
Cavill Mall,
Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217
(07) 5527 5250
(also at Hampton (VIC))
Food: Cafe, Seafood, Steak, Pasta, Fish and Chips

On a day trip to Gold Coast, from Brisbane, we found ourselves facing the usual question of where to go for lunch. After much deliberation, we finally settled on our original choice, Seafood Empire, mostly because it has a spacious outdoor dining area right in the heart of one of Surfer's Paradise's busiest shopping strips.

We ordered our meals up the front at the counter, paid, then brought our table number to an unoccupied table outside. It was a great moment, relaxing back in our chairs under the balmy sun, watching as parades of people passed by, happily shopping and chatting away - the vibe was just buzzing.

When our food finally arrived, we dug right in, only to be somewhat disheartened by what was served. Perhaps we ordered the wrong dishes, or the cooks were having a bad day, but the oysters were still gritty, the prawn cutlets bland and doughy (with hardly any trace of prawn inside) and the calamari was rubbery and tough to chew through.

Don't get me wrong, the food here was not bad, but it wasn't good or great either. It was just a plain and simple Okay. Not exactly a foodie's destination, but with such a convenient location, family-friendly atmosphere and modestly priced menu, I can see how the cafe easily fills up during lunchtime.

Seafood Empire is the cafe on the right with the red umbrellas

Natural Oysters with Lemon - they were fresh and tasted briny, but had an undesirable bitter lettuce after-taste

Crumbed Prawn Cutlets with Chips and Salad

Salt and Pepper Calamari with a Mediterranean Salad

After lunch, we headed straight for the beach to soak up some rays and jump a few waves, followed by a  couple of competitive rounds of mini golf at the amusing, novelty King Tutt's Putt Putt. Before we knew it, the sun was setting and our insides were growling out to us, a sure sign that it was dinnertime!

Gold Coast International Hotel,
7 Staghorn Avenue
Surfers Paradise, QLD
(07) 5584 1200
Food: Japanese

We actually spotted Yamagen on the walk to King Tutt's, which is about 200 metres away. By this stage of the evening, we were so hungry we didn't think our bodies had the energy to go all the way back into the town's centre for a meal, so we settled for a Japanese fix instead.

Yamagen is one of three restaurants offered by The Gold Coast International Hotel. It serves a slew of straightforward, classic Japanese dishes in what we found to be a tranquil and professional environment. We  may have been a tad out of place in our shorts, singlets and thongs, but we weren't bothered and  happily grazed through our nourishing meals. 

With content bellies, we lazily walked back to Surfer's Paradise's Cavill Mall for a refreshing dessert of gelati to enjoy on the beach, toes wriggling in the cool, soothing sand, watching the seagulls soar high above us in the starry sky.

Agedashi Tofu - fried tofu in a rich dashi, mirin and soya broth

Beef Kushisashi - char-grilled beef, basted in a special yakitori sauce

Tempura Udon - thick white noodles in a dashi broth, with a selection of tempura prawn and vegetables

1 comment:

Jade said...

Just wanted to suggest The Fish House in Burleigh Heads for the next time you visit the Gold Coast. It's not cheap, but has some of the best seafood on the coast!