It is rare in Brisbane, unlike other, popular Australian cities to find the ocean under an hours drive away. However, there is one exception located about 30 minutes out of Brisbane. A small but slowly expanding bay-side town called Sandgate, which runs along beautiful Bramble Bay. I would love to tell you all about the whole area, but am instead going to focus on my favourite eatery, the Full Moon Pub.
As the name suggests, this is the one and only place to visit to appreciate the monthly visit of the golden balloon that emerges from under the ocean, the full moon. Now this pub isn't like other pubs which inevitably smell like a combination of stale beer spilt weeks before and musty cigarette smoke. It proudly sits atop the cliffs of Sandgate providing diners and casual drinkers with spectacular bay views and fresh sea breezes. It has recently been renovated to make the most of this sought-after position. The most popular dining area is the large, open, shaded, ground-level verandah scattered with tables and chairs to accommodate small and large dining groups together. It is attached to the expansive and very airy bar area so drinks are easily attained. Alternatively, on windy days it is more comfortable to sit inside in the interior restaurant.
I have a powerful obsession with sublime and angelic views which seem to cause me to forget that dining is about more than just this. For this reason, after many experiences, I have come to assume that restaurants with the perfect position rely on exactly this to keep their business afloat and therefore lack in things such as service and food. This stereotypical view has certainly been swayed by the Full Moon Pub as both the service and the menu are impeccable.
As well as the famous steak sandwich, fish and chips, Caesar salad and other popular pub delights, is the impressive selection of a variety of fresh and cooked seafood, probably hauled the morning of your visit. This seafood is used in many creative and delicious ways such as salt and pepper calamari, seared scallops and Kilpatrick oysters, to name a few. If you, like me, have difficulty deciding which one to order, then the seafood platters are the way to go. They are a combination of basically all of the available seafood dishes, including salt and pepper calamari, fresh prawns, fresh crab, fresh oysters, Kilpatrick oysters, seared scallops, battered fish fillets, need I go on? The best part is you can choose a large one to share, or, if you prefer, have one all to yourself.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, the very best part of the Full Moon Pub comes after your initial glee at the position and the popping of your taste buds. It is the fact that a ten step stroll over the quiet road and down a set of shaded steps leads you onto a large, open grassy area followed by a boardwalk along the water. After a stroll up this walkway I like to sit on the rocks under the shade of a young fig tree, take my shoes off and dangle my feet in the cool and very clear salt water. This is the ideal and most peaceful way to end the faultless lunch.
If you are thirsty for the smell of the sea and fresh air but don't have time for an hour or more drive, then Sandgate is undeniably the place for you to visit this weekend. Enjoy!