Wildernis Café + Bar captures the Palmie vibe perfectly. This once sleepy suburb that has become a thriving dining hub boasts an assortment of different eateries, each one, including Wildernis, reflecting the casual Palm Beach style.
Divided into two spaces: a downstairs day venue that houses a dining room and the kitchen and, around the corner, an open air upstairs terrace looking out to the sea, Wildernis is the ultimate venue for flexible dining – for meals, tapas and drinks or functions.
Local ‘tradie’ owners Andy Canfield and Josh Bailey enlisted their family and friends to help complete their vision of a twin-venue, light beach-vibe eatery and bar.
“My brother Paul made the timber work,” Andy tells us, “and friends Eden and Adam helped as well.” His pride in the completed project is evident, and why not! It’s a fabulous addition to Palm Beach, bringing beachside into the space.
Coffee’s on downstairs at 5.30am or smoothies and juices, with brekkie starting at 6 – early enough to please tradies and early beach walkers. Breakfast gets a good showing on this menu, with plenty to suit all tastes.
On our first visit, we dine at lunchtime, passing up on the popular burger choices, to try the Bangalow Pork Belly and Seared tuna. Nothing ordinary about these dishes, the pork is beautifully presented with a thyme-roasted apple, celeriac remoulade, topped with a sticky glaze and crisp crackling; the Rare crusted yellowfin tuna plated up on a deconstructed Niçoise salad with cauli cream and basil oil. It’s the perfect lunch for both of us – fresh, local, innovative, perfectly cooked without being ‘overworked’, and tastefully presented. A Balsamic baby beet salad with butternut pumpkin, goat’s cheese and candied walnuts could add in even more veg. Top nosh!
Serving seven beers on tap from at least three local breweries, cider, ginger beer, a regularly changing house cocktail on tap as well as a mid-range trending wine list, it’s easy to enjoy a drink with lunch.
From Thursday to Sunday the upstairs venue comes on board, stretching weekends out into lazy decadent days overlooked by a giant eagle.
Catered for from the downstairs Wildernis Cafe, a set of sneaky back stairs link the two parts of the venue.
A tapas menu kicks in from late afternoon until late. Tapas originating ‘From the Paddock’, ‘From the Garden’ and ‘From the Sea’ reflect our new dining preferences: Mediterranean-style share plates with lots of gluten-free and vegan choices, lighter dishes balanced with plant and protein, eaten when we choose at flexible dining times.
With new chef Baroush Shames on board (ex-owner of Katoush, Byron Bay), a few delicious Middle Eastern dishes have also crept into the menu: Shakshuka for breakfast and his father’s recipe for Falafel with hummus and tahini dressing as tapas.
They take their place alongside delicious dishes such as Fish tacos with corn salsa, coriander and smoky chipotle, retro-style Sizzling garlic and lemon prawns, Sticky chicken wings and Slow-cooked pork belly with velvety sweet potato mash drizzled with chilli oil and balsamic.
Our attention is drawn away from the street below to the bar where the taps include beer, cider and Ink Gin, the gorgeously-hued purple gin from Husk Distillers in Tumbulgum; or you can choose a cocktail to suit your mood. It’s a hard decision to make – espresso martini or Ink Gin cocktail.
With a relaxing chilled vibe and views to the ocean, this hideaway, complete with kitchen bar, is just the place to share plates of food and a few drinks.
One thing’s for sure…this bit of Wildernis certainly won’t go astray!
1166 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach Ph: 07 5534 5428
Open: Mon – Wed 5.30am – 3pm, Thurs – Sun 5.30am – late; Rooftop bar open: Fri – Sun, 12 noon – late
NOTE: On one occasion, GFGC dined as guests of Wildernis.