Did a slice of sophistication just gate crash itself along the Gold Coast?

Clifford’s Grill & Lounge will have you feeling that way as you kick back in at this airy contemporary eatery enjoying life’s pleasures in the form of kitsch cocktails and grazing plates with Australian-Asian modern flair. Please note – you are forgiven for allowing yourself to get a bit too comfortable at this joint (Good food and delectable cocktails would do that to you.)

Situated along Surfer’s Paradise Boulevard, this voco Gold Coast hotel restaurant is keen on offering a relaxed experience with letting guests watch life pass by with its window-wall street views. The restaurant covers a lot of ground with its mezzanine, lounge and outdoor seating but you wouldn’t feel that way as each section has its’ cosiness.

Admiring the street views.

My travel companion and I opted for inside seating, right opposite the bar (a wise decision I thought) while breathing in the fresh ocean air.

Surfing the menu proves to a wicked affair. Not only does this place know how to flame up a grill (1kg of chargrilled T-bone steak included), it knows how to unite exotic flavours and execute them on share plates.

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(This isn’t the type of place I would not recommend to go solo as there are just too many dishes that warrant a space in your stomach for. The only other alternative is not to eat for the next 24 hours…)

Think seared Canadian scallops with mild prawn sambal, sticky braised pork belly, ginger, basil served on a dollop of pea puree and topped with saffron hair. This dish was by far the highlight as its’ melt-in-the-mouth belly cubes with sweet with soy and crispy skin was cooked to pork perfection and had to be ordered twice due to over-salivating (true story).

Despite my overindulgence (not even guilty) in the pork department, other hot contenders are worthy of a mention include the light and punchy seared yellowfin tuna, fennel and rocket salad and charred broccolini with sesame dressing making greens sexy again.

The main event (big share plate) had enough ‘ka-pow’ to provide a sensory overload to the tongue. The grilled snappers’ flaky flesh was complimented with flavours plucked from an Asian kitchen – hints of chilli, coriander, fresh lime topped off with a sweet and spicy jam. The fish sits on a bed of steamed broccolini (yes, more broccolini) and soaks in the zest and flavours of the fish.

The snapper with bite.

Dessert was a sweet affair. I had ordered the honey pannacotta as the honey used is sourced from its on-premise beehive. Other local flavours in this refreshing dish included small cubes tropical mango sourced from North Queensland and topped off with a crisp meringue. It was the perfect amount of dessert on a plate to cap off the grazing marathon session.

Let’s not forget Clifford’s is not all just about utilising the fork and the knife; glasses have to get dirty too. Its’ trendy bar takes mixing drinks up a notch (so forget the classics for a moment here). Welcome to the era of a salted caramel cocktail; mixed in with Baileys, Ratu Rum liqueur, home-made salted caramel sauce, Himalayan rock salt and with a shot of espresso.

Maybe the choice for an espresso-based cocktail was the wrong call as Clifford’s does close early, but the overall experience was not. Glad you came to the GC party, Clifford!

Photo credit: voco Gold Coast

Julia travelled as a guest of voco Gold Coast and all thoughts and opinions are of her own.