From the entrepreneurial mind behind Sydney’s Manly Wharf Hotel and Mrs Sippy Double Bay and Seminyak’s fabulous beach club of the same name comes Burleigh Pavilion, aptly reflecting the rolling whites and blues of Burleigh Heads.

Owner Ben May purchased the old Burleigh Pavilion three years ago, injecting a cool $6 million into the historic façade, overhauling its inners and expanding upstairs. While Ben says of the venue, he was “given the classic name but not the look” he believes it has all come together nicely. “The building had never really been given what it deserved, and it’s been there for over 50 years, so I took the opportunity to do a big job on it,” he said.

May transformed the tired yet iconic building into a coastal dream. Its sunny patios and absolute beachfront location reference seaside meccas like the Manly Pavilion, Bathers Pavilion and Bondi Pavilion. “They’re sort of classic seaside buildings and there aren’t many of them around, so although The Burleigh Pavilion wasn’t built in that era, it sort of had the feel and presence of one of those classic pavilions.”

Three main spaces make up the shoreline precinct, all contributing to its lively atmosphere and accessibility. The Tropic sits at the northern end of the pavilion as a casual coastal bistro with a menu showcasing locally sourced ingredients from northern New South Wales. Innovative and animated dishes like giant octopus and grilled tiger prawns dominate the spread, with desserts like roast yellow peach, coconut sorbet, gin and pistachio finishing on a sweet note.

Indoors is more bar style dining, opening out onto a terrific terrace known as The Beach Bar. Although food is the main game at his latest hub, May says, “It’s also a great place to sit and relax, have a drink and watch the surf, so it caters for any mood of the day.”

The smoky chars of woodfired pizza and salty seafood dishes tempt passers-by, coaxing diners to delve into a produce driven menu. Guests can pull up a front row seat to witness Head Chef Guillaume Zika’s show. The former Head Chef of London’s Michelin-starred Hibiscus brings the menu to life in front of
your eyes.

With a career peppered with restaurants, past and present, local and international, May declares The Burleigh Pavilion as a stand out in his portfolio. “The location is just outrageous for a start and Chef Guillaume is world class — the best chef I’ve ever worked with for sure because he’s able to do the simple things immaculately,” May said. “Being able to fully conceptualise The Burleigh Pavilion from start to finish and do pretty much what we wanted has been pretty exciting.”

With an unforgettable backdrop and spaces for all occasions, it is no wonder May and his team are “not over complicating it” allowing the energy of Burleigh Beach to attract Pavilion patrons.

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