You know that idyllic sunset fine-dining experience we all dream of when we think of a chic tropical escape? Well, I found it at the Whitsundays. Refer to Exhibit A and B below.

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Exhibit A

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Exhibit B

Tucked behind the recently revamped main street, Deja Vu Restaurant is located within Water’s Edge Resort and offers unbeatable views of Airlie Beach and the azure Whitsunday islands. We literally dined at the water’s edge, by the pool. As we settled into our seats to reflect on the amazing day we’ve just had, the sky faded in and out of the most exquisite dusty pink hues.

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Deja Vu is run by husband and wife team, Sarah and Patrice Duverger, who’s dynamic energy and friendliness made us feel like we were dining with old friends.

We started with New Zealand Pacific oysters ($37.50/dozen) served natural with a red wine and eschalot vinaigrette, and a selection of housemade dips and breads.

The oysters were plump and juicy and the vinaigrette lifted them with just the right amount of acidity. There was something old school going on with the piping detail on the dips – I say that in a warm, fond, nostalgic sort of way.

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 Even as the sky dimmed, we were still mesmerized by the Whitsundays magic.

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My main course was the trilogy of pork & scallops ($36) which as the name suggests, was quite epic in presentation. Triangular shards of pork crackling and crispy sage leaves add height to a platter of grilled scallops, chestnut puree, oyster mushrooms, and of course, a slab of juicy pork belly. There was probably more fat to meat in terms of the ratio, but you know what, if you’re going to have pork belly, you might as well go all out. The glaze made it sumptuous.

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 Zen opted for the South African Peri Peri Prawns & Reef Fish ($38) – tiger prawns simmered with peri peri spice and caper sauce with saffron rice pilaf, wilted spinach, preserved lemon and grilled reef fish fillets. It was the type of hearty comfort dish you crave after a long day out sailing.

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We also ordered sides of mashed potato and vegetables (all sides are $5 for single serve or $8.50 for two people).

Accustomed to the small portions of side dishes we get in Sydney, these were generous home-style servings. It was almost as though my Mum was in the kitchen, throwing in an extra spoonful, just in case. It’s the little things like that, plus the genuine personalised service that makes dining in the Whitsundays feel so refreshing.

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Sarah mentioned that she met Patrice in France and fell in love with his creme brulee ($16.50) so we couldn’t not order it.

This turned out to be more of a runny custard, not quite set to the texture that I’m used to, although the caramelised sugar crust hit the spot.

Creme brulee at Deja Vu Restaurant, Airlie Beach

The Passionfruit semi freddo sandwich ($15.50) was the highlight from dessert. I loved the play on textures between the creamy frozen passionfruit mousse and the crunchy caramel sesame seed wafers. Bits of mango and lychee also adorned the plate, giving it a lush finish.

Passionfruit semi freddo sandwich at Deja Vu Restaurant, Airlie Beach

While the seasonal dinner menu was pretty amazing, if you have time, book yourself in for their signature Long Sunday Lunch. What started out as a chef cooking for his friends on a Sunday has quickly become a local tradition in the Whitsundays. It’s just $44.50 per person for 8 courses with live entertainment! Although… A dinner and a sunset like this, would be pretty hard to beat!

Deja Vu Restaurant
Waters Edge Resort
4 Golden Orchid Drive, Airlie Beach, QLD
Phone: (07) 4948 4309
Web: dejavurestaurant.com.au

Deja Vu on Urbanspoon

I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Deja Vu with thanks to Whitsundays Marketing and Development

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.