Surfers Paradise. Whether you’re a born and bred on the Gold Coast or not, most of you would be familiar with The Islander – that pastel-pink hotel that catches your eye as you head along Surfers Paradise Boulevard. Well, after more than 12 months of works, the lid has been lifted on the iconic site to reveal what will now be known as The Island. We had a peek inside the boutique hotel’s new-look restaurant, bar and rooftop – and it’s pretty darn impressive.
The Island now cuts a stylish and distinctive figure on the corner of Beach Road and Surfers Paradise Boulevard, with the newly opened restaurant and bar already creating a vibrant buzz from the heart of Surfers Paradise. The Island’s transformation marks the first Gold Coast venue for renowned hospitality operators The Katarzyna Group, which is behind a swag of popular Brisbane venues like Cloudland, Press Club and The Family (due reopen as EI8HT in June). Whilst the Surfers Paradise hotel has always been (and will remain) an icon, the added element of a refined restaurant and bar offering has taken the destination to a whole new level.The Island’s striking fit-out sees the street-level restaurant and bar space wrap around to seamlessly open up onto the precinct’s main drag – it’s one of those places where long lunches can easily lead into afternoon cocktails … and merge into dinner and few drops of wine. The Island’s main restaurant serves breakfast seven days per week from 7:00 am, before stepping into a vibrant Italian-style lunch and dinner menu.
The Island kitchen offers smaller shares plates from charcuterie boards to polenta-herb crusted sardines with cress, red onion and shaved fennel, which leads into an impressive line-up of land-based dishes. There’s top-end dry-aged steaks and a hearty 1.2kg shoulder of biodynamic lamb with duck-fat potatoes, alongside a refined selection of seafood dishes like the confit of king ora salmon with braised fennel, broccolini, barley and farro. You’ll find a modern spin on Italian favourites, from the braised-duck gnocchi to a simple and traditional salami, chilli and basil pizza rosso. Whilst the restaurant and bar is the perfect place for an afternoon or evening tipple (just quietly, this is also an exceptional people-watching spot), head upstairs to The Island’s rooftop bar for some next-level drinkables and a little bit of cocktail-inspired fun in the sun.