Cheeky Chopsticks at Cabarita

King prawns with pumpkin sauce

Story and photo by Vivienne Pearson

In January of 1963, a developer donated the land that became the site of the Cabarita Beach Bowls & Sports Club.

If this doesn’t ring a bell from visits up that way, it’s because the club is hidden away in a residential area. Why might you take the time to seek it out? Well, because it has a newly renovated restaurant serving top-notch Asian food. 

Cheeky Chopsticks is the name, and there are indeed colourful chopsticks on top of each place-setting. The venue is versatile and can be transformed to accommodate separate smaller functions when celebrations are planned.

Downstairs is decidedly ‘club,’ but Cheeky Chopsticks upstairs is all restaurant and has several notable elements that are unusual among club-land restaurants. Firstly, their previous caterer was in-situ for over 20 years and only left because of retirement. Secondly, with that benchmark of continuity and commitment in mind, the new caterers took their community consultation seriously and curated the wine-list from a (very long and enjoyable!) blind tasting session with club members. 

Thirdly, they take their environmental responsibilities very seriously. ‘Over 96 per cent of food waste is diverted from landfill to compost and worm farms,’ says general manager, Nick Brabham. ‘We use paper bags for take-away, instead of plastic, and we have solar panels, timer operated lights and multiple water saving initiatives.’

The menu is extensive, with a focus on both Chinese and Thai dishes. I managed the not-unpleasant sense of overwhelm it created by taking recommendations from Nick. We started with duck pancakes with hoisin sauce, which were as good as any I’ve ever had. We then moved on to king prawns in a pumpkin sauce, which was delicious; warming without being too spicy, the flavours were rich and the prawns enormous and juicy. 

In line with attempts to de-festive-season my diet, I eschewed the deep fried ice-cream for black sticky rice with mango and coconut cream – which was a delightful way to end the meal.

Nick suspects that it will be northern Byron Shire residents who are more likely to check out Cheeky Chopsticks. My drive from Ocean Shores took just over 20 minutes, and I enjoyed the gorgeous paperbark-forested Clothiers Creek Road on the way there, and the Coast Road on the return, with a stop at Norries Head lookout for the view and a post-lunch leg stretch. Cheeky Chopsticks is perfect whether you are keen for a day-trip, want to meet Gold Coast visitors halfway, want to support a business striving for sustainability, or are simply keen to eat some truly delicious Asian food.

And the developer who donated the land? He remained a Cabarita Beach local and passed away just last year, at a ripe old age, after nearly 30 years as a life-member of the club.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsors Enspire Furniture & Homewares and Hepatitis Australia.