SHACKING UP AT THE BEACH
THIS IS STRICTLY A NO-HEELS ZONE. IN FACT, NO SHOES IS EVEN BETTER
We have kicked off our shoes and no one has raised an eyebrow. Where else could you sit at a table barefoot in the sand watching the sunset across the Coral Sea, glass of wine in hand, as the tantalising smell of your dinner cooking wafts past?
Woodfire pizza Sunday afternoons at The Beach Shack (Kewarra Beach Resort) have become legendary over the years, as locals book weeks ahead to secure their spot.
Food is served from 3pm and, as we make our way down the beach, the sounds of music and merriment lilt on the breeze.
I’m not sure why it has taken us so long to actually do this.
We’ve been here half an hour and already we’ve agreed to make it a ritual visit at least one Sunday a month.
Open for pizzas on Friday and Sunday, the shack now offers oysters, nibbles and Sundowners on Wednesdays from 5pm.
As we are shown to our table within a ropedoff area on the sand we dodge a volleyball game, adults and kids hooting with laughter.
A soccer match is taking place just across the way, while a bunch of kids (and some rather big ones too) test their skills at scaling a skewed palm tree.
It’s family fun the North Queensland way, in comfort and style.
As food orders close at 6pm a queue forms (last-minute rush) so we join the line-up for a couple of glasses of sauvignon blanc. They’re a chatty bunch. Service is brisk and friendly on all fronts, from bar to waiting; even the guys at the pizza oven pavilion, though under pressure, seem cheerfully efficient.
Some tapas plates to share – house-made olives marinated in chilli are excellent – and we’re happy to watch kids run amok (they are everywhere, but there’s so much space, it’s no problem) as we soothe away the week’s concerns.
Twilight approaches and fairy lights twinkle between the trees as our pizzas arrive.
We’re not sure precisely what the Finns at the next table are saying, but from the beatific expressions, it’s not hard to see they’re enjoying the food and relaxed setting.
Of course, as the food lands, so too do our hungry youngsters magically appear.
We’re sharing barbecue chicken, margherita and seafood marinara pizzas.
With perfect rustic crisp bases sparingly charred just the right way and piled with quality ingredients, they make for delectable finger food.
The margherita, with slices of fresh tomato, oregano, basil oil and lashings of stretchy mozzarella; chicken with bacon, onion, pineapple and tangy barbecue sauce; and the seafood topped with baby octopus segments, mussels, prawn and scallop fragments on sweet chilli sauce, are all exemplary and enough for sharing between four.
It’s no-frills dining with plastic glasses, a basic wine list (though you can request wine from the upmarket Paperbark restaurant at the resort) and tonnes of fun. Verdict: Put it top of your list.