The Iluka Review
A new watering hole opening is always good news for coastal residents and The Iluka, just off Burns Beach Road, is no exception.
An integral part of the new Iluka Plaza, The Iluka opened at the end of June just before our last lockdown but coped well by turning out take-away food orders. Since then it has quickly become an established part of the northern suburbs, popular with all age groups.
The Iluka describes itself as Party Heaven with Disco Nights as well as a Champagne Club on Fridays and Saturdays. Sports fans are not neglected as there is a large screen featuring AFL, rugby and soccer. The Iluka’s first big sports event was the Euro soccer championships. Designed as a family event, there was no alcohol served during the very early morning screenings.
But even if we seniors are not in the mood for a party, The Iluka’s menu looked interesting, so my husband and I joined two friends there on a Friday lunchtime.
We arrived around 12 noon. It was quite empty with loads of tables to choose from. One point is that there are a lot of small round tables that are not big enough for three or four people to have food and drinks on but if it’s fine just for drinks. There are a few larger square tables for four people but it’s mainly higher tables with stools to match. I didn’t have too much trouble getting my bionic knees up onto the stool but wouldn’t be keen on doing it too often!
Food orders are taken at one side of the bar and drinks are ordered at another. Customers fetch their own cutlery and napkins and food is delivered to tables.
Now to decide what to eat. As well as a section featuring pub classics such as cod and chips, barramundi and bangers and mash, there are also sections devoted to cheese (including beer cheese) and Salumi – Italian cured or preserved meats.
Smaller plates are available in the bar tapas section and there are a few salads as well as pasta and paella dishes. A kid’s menu and a Gluten-free menu are available.
My husband and I decided on Cheeseburgers and chips ($26). As I quite like burgers but am not too keen on the burger buns or bbq sauce, I requested no buns and sauce on the side. No drama whatsoever from the staff – I have been at other places where such requests send the staff into a tizzy. The burgers arrived – my sauce and tomato ketchup on the side. The burger came with lettuce, raw sliced red onion, pickles and melted cheese. It was very tasty. Chips were seasoned with rosemary.
Our friends decided on a Steak Sandwich ($26) and a Margherita pizza ($22). The Steak Sandwich was pronounced very good as was the pizza – the feta and basil is a nice addition. The pizza was too much for one person and a staff member was happy to box it for taking home. All staff were helpful and friendly with the owner going out of her way to introduce herself and detailing the background to the restaurant’s opening.
The Iluka has a very good atmosphere even during the day. With leather sofas, brick walls and fireplaces, it gives an impression of an English country house. The addition of a wall with the owner’s family photographs displayed and lots of bric-a-brac – an anchor here, a bicycle there only adds to the ambience.
By the time we left around 1:15 the place was very busy. It can take 400 people. As an added quirk, I am reliably informed that the men’s restrooms have the advantage of a one-way mirror – apparently so as patrons can check that nobody is pinching their beer while they are otherwise engaged!
The Iluka is a welcome addition to the coastal food scene, here’s hoping there are more to come.
Address: 98 O’Mara Boulevard, Iluka
Phone: 08 6184 4965
Reservations: Yes – for groups of 10+ only
Opening hours: 10:30am until late, 7 days
Gluten-free options: Yes
Vegetarian options: Yes
Restrooms: Clean and accessible.
Parking: Under cover and rooftop parking available at Iluka Plaza
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