Food & Drink

Australia Zoo Just Scored A Stunning New Restaurant And It’s Worth Travelling For

By Isabel Croker – who loves morning run clubs as equally as she loves negronis and tiny snack plates

Plate of food at Australia Zoo's Warrior restaurant

Fine dining driven by native produce, exquisitely crafted cocktails and an extensive (and notable) wine selection…you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re describing a top-notch Melbourne restaurant but this is what awaits you at Warrior Restaurant & Bar. This slick new restaurant is housed at the luxe Crocodile Hunter Lodge, which is Australia Zoo’s rustic wilderness cabin accommodation—and you've got to check it out.

There’s nothing rustic about Warrior Restaurant & Bar—high ceilings showcase a timber and rust-toned space, an open kitchen affords a behind-the-scenes peek at chefs hard at work and the restaurant spills out onto a deck overlooking native wildlife. Make your way out onto the deck and you’ll see kangaroos, emus and koalas residing just metres from your table. The stunning fit-out and peaceful surroundings are all designed to help you reconnect with nature and celebrate the natural world, just as Steve Irwin envisaged. 

Once you’ve soaked up the lush surroundings, turn your attention to the top-tier dining menu. The modern Australian menu is stripped back, letting the high-quality produce speak, nay, sing for itself. Warrior Restaurant champions locally sourced Australian ingredients, such as native ingredients like karkalla and quandongs, and utilises classic cooking techniques to craft a unique fine dining experience. Executive Chef Craig Milne has a strong focus on sourcing ingredients from local farms and elevates these local flavours with masterful techniques. 

Warrior Restaurant is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner—so you don’t need to be staying at the Crocodile Hunter Lodge to indulge in the superb dining experience. Even better, Warrior Restaurant is one of the few high-end Sunshine Coast restaurants that cater well to dietary requirements, so if you’re plant-based or gluten-free, rest easy knowing you’ll be well-catered for at this dining destination.

Warm your palate with delights like Sunshine Coast goat cheese croquette and smoked Petuna ocean trout, before moving onto larger dishes like a 200-gram Angus tenderloin with brandy fig and crisp Kurobuta pork belly. Saving space for dessert is essential when the menu is this delicious. The hardest part is choosing between the creme brulee with macadamia and wattleseed shortbread or the key lime pie with lemon myrtle ice cream. Drink-wise, boutique Australian drops take centre stage and the seriously impressive wine lineup and curated cocktail list will delight.

If you’re looking for an elevated dining experience, Warrior boasts a magnificent private dining room that is prime for those extra-special occasions where you’ll be surrounded by nature, overlooking the bushland reserve with greenery tumbling from the ceiling above. When you leave, you’ll be feeling refreshed and reconnected with nature, which is the driving mission behind Australia Zoo.

Warrior Restaurant & Bar is a wonderful marriage of nature and modernity; it’s sophisticated yet simplistic, unique yet relaxing and a true celebration of native ingredients and Australian flavours.

Editor’s note: this article was produced in partnership with Australia Zoo. Thank you for supporting the partners who make Urban List possible. To read our editorial policy, click here.

Image Credit: Warrior Restaurant & Bar

 

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