If you're out and about in Caloundra visiting the special Twilight Markets on a Friday evening or the iconic weekly Caloundra Street Fair on a Sunday, then Sandbar Cafe and Kiosk is the perfect venue for casual dining - that is, of course, if the Twilight Markets' street food doesn't tempt you first! Or, do what we did, grab something small at the Markets to keep the munchies at bay whilst browsing and shopping, and then visit Sandbar Cafe and Kiosk for your 'mains'.
The Sandbar Kiosk peeping through the door on the left
Perfectly positioned on the waterfront of Bulcock Beach in Caloundra, the Sandbar Cafe and Kiosk are open for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks and snacks…. any time! Well, in theory 'any time' sounds accommodating but is in fact limited to specific times. The Sandbar Cafe are open every day Monday to Sunday from 7.30am, with closing times on Mondays and Tuesdays at 3.00pm. From Wednesday to Sunday, the Sandbar Cafe and Kiosk are open until 8.30pm; the Sandbar Kiosk is open for takeaways from 10.30am. Both the Sandbar Cafe and their Kiosk have extended hours during the school holidays, so during non-holiday/vacation time, these hours might vary. Please keep a look-out on the Sandbar Cafe's Facebook page here for any updates or changes with times.
A huge selection of food trucks are at the Twilight Markets - great for 'starters' or for a full dining experience!
We chose to visit the Twilight Markets in Caloundra during the Festive season and knowing that the markets opened at 5.00pm, decided the earlier we got there, the easier it would be for parking. Cars were plentiful, but an ideal parking spot was soon located - walking a couple of extra blocks during the 'silly' season is excellent justification for the extra calories that one seems to have access to during this period. The other big advantage to arriving in Caloundra early evening is that a table for casual dining is far easier to secure in the vicinity of Bulcock Beach, ensuring that one can enjoy the spectacular views and perhaps catch a fabulous sunset. (And also ensuring that one gets in before the holiday-makers descend on the area for their dinner plans).
Fabulous sunsets at Bulcock Beach!
Anyway, my story is not about my 'exercise methods' or the speciality of the Twilight Markets but rather the very special Sandbar Cafe and Kiosk venue and its enviable position. As we arrived early we were one of the first diners for the evening and had our choice of table with the best views, also allowing for some great people-watching (one of my favourite pastimes). The Sandbar Cafe offers light meals, the freshest seafood, steaks, salads and totally decadent desserts and cakes. They are also fully licensed (or BYO) with an excellent selection of local and imported beers, wines and spirits.
My better half's choice for dinner was the Market Fish of the Day (GF), served with Kipfler potato, pickled cucumber, fennel puree, preserved lemon yoghurt and verjuice butter for $29. The fish for the day was Mahi-Mahi (a fish that we were not familiar with) hence hubby's curiosity to experience it. For those, like me, who had no idea, a Mahi-Mahi is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish, found in off-shore temperate, tropical and sub-tropical waters worldwide - thanks to Wikipedia!
Hubby's verdict:"a very tasty firm textured (similar to salmon) white-fleshed fish though meat is slightly finer than a salmon". The Mahi-Mahi is classified as being similar to a sardine with its oily texture.
As mentioned previously, we had already enjoyed a 'starter' at the markets (a German sausage), so my choice for dinner was 'healthy' - a Haloumi and Avocado Salad (GFA) - baby gem lettuce, grilled halloumi, toasted grains, avocado, lavish cracker and citrus vinaigrette for $19.50. Add-ons are possible: grilled chicken $22.50; prawns $26.50; smoked salmon $26.50.
'Healthy' Haloumi and Avocado salad
My verdict: 'absolutely delicious, my salad was fresh, the halloumi was perfectly cooked and despite it looking like a humongous meal, I managed to finish it all'.
In addition, they were advertising Friday's Burger Mania for only $10 - beef, vegetable, fish or chicken burger, served with fries - were available on the relevant Friday from 11.00am for either dine-in or takeaway. This appeared to be a very popular choice for holiday-makers with children, who, had at this stage, been filtering in and taking up all the remaining dining tables.
In addition to the dining area at the Sandbar Cafe, they have their very own takeaway Kiosk selling fresh Australian fish and chips - perfect to take away, sit on the beach boardwalk or grassed areas and have an impromptu outdoor picnic. All seafood at the Sandbar Kiosk is sourced from local suppliers and fishermen and you can literally get anything from King Snappers to Australian Prawns. The Kiosk prides itself on cooking the fish the way you want it - it's your choice to have it battered, crumbed or grilled. Take-away orders can be 'phoned through in advance on (07) 5491-0806.
Lots of picnic spots at Bulcock Beach along the Esplanade!
Sandbar Cafe and Kiosk firmly believe that 'great fish and chips begins with great fish'. I must admit there are many seaside villages that we have visited in many countries and great fresh fish is not always available. I personally believe that Sandbar Cafe and Kiosk are onto a winning wicket here - smack bang on the Esplanade, overlooking Bulcock Beach and the Pumicestone Passage with excellent dining options available and extremely tantalising food offerings.
I hesitate to say this (I'm trying to avoid giving away all the best-kept secrets), but it would be a sin NOT to visit the Sandbar Cafe and Kiosk when visiting Caloundra - the excellent service, very friendly staff and delicious meals at this establishment has secured return visits from us!
Caloundra was very festive over the Christmas period