Pilpel by the Sea is a unique art deco oasis of fabulous Middle Eastern dining, tapas balcony bar and more, nestled in a heritage-listed 1937 landmark building on Suttons Beach.
Before moving into the iconic beachfront building that was once a bathing pavilion and historical museum, Pilpel had its home in a Margate shopping strip, where it had developed a cult following and 8 month waiting list due to the sumptuous amazing value Israeli and Middle Eastern feasts that were served to customers straight from the kitchen with no menu.
Owner and head chef Adiel has continued the popular menu-less restaurant concept at his expansive beachfront premise, with the set price legendary authentic feasts attracting a crowd on weekends.
As well as being great value ($49pp for a more-than-you-can-eat banquet), the food is meticulously prepared by Adiel using top quality produce and traditional preparation and cooking techniques and had the big tick of approval from Bee Gee Barry Gibb when he dined there during his visit to open the second stage of Bee Gees Way.
For those who haven’t tried the Pilpel experience, Adiel treats his customers as guests who have been invited to dine in his home, and in lieu of a menu, serves up a myriad of plates to share, based on his mothers and grandmother's recipes.
The food at Pilpel by the Sea is a delectable melting pot of Mid East cuisine with a strong Israeli flavour. Entrée wise diners can expect smorgasbord of delicacies: sensational dips including baba ghanoush, hummus and other tahini based variations with house baked bread, falafels, cous cous, mini salads, aubergine, spiced onion and pickled cucumbers. For mains a raised porta-table comes bearing kebabs (wagyu beef, marinated chicken and lamb kofta) on a bed of hand cut chips and dessert wise be sure to make room for Adiel's fragrant rosewater flavoured ice-cream.
To accompany there are craft beers and cider on tap and by the bottle and imported beers such as Blue Moon Belgian White, Fiji Bitter and Coors Crisp Lager (USA), a good selection of wines. Sparkling wines include Pol Roger Brut and Mortar & Pestle Brut, white and red wines including a fine drop from Jim Barry hail from SA, Vic, WA and NZ. Cider served at Pilpel by the Sea is Rekorderlig Apple and Pear and, a rare treat, Pressmans Original All Apple Cider, made using fresh apples from the Goulburn Valley.
Meanwhile the perfect complement to Adiel’s cuisine is his own hand-made lemonade, made from fresh lemons and mint leaves and served by the jug or glass.
While the Israeli-Middle Eastern fest is available for weekday lunch and dinner and weekend dinner, on weekends Adiel puts on a weekend breakfast that includes Middle Eastern Style Eggs on Turkish, Pancakes with Rose Water Minted Yoghurt and Berry Compote, Bacon & Eggs Breakfast Pizza (with rocket & red onion), Fruit Salad or Shakshoka (Eggs poached in tomato & capsicum sauce with pita bread).While breakfast is not available weekdays, Pilpel opens bright and early every day for a well-brewed Gian Carlo coffee or cup of Temple tea.
Buffet lunch (Sat & Sun from 11.30-3) costs $34.90pp* ($17.45 for kids 12 and under*) and includes Middle eastern char grill (beef rib eye, lamb shoulder, calamari, chicken wings, lamb and beef kofta) from the traditional BBQ that is cranked up out on the courtyard along with dips, salads, juice, soft drink and dessert.
Pilpel by the Sea also has a takeaway section for those who want to rock up from the beach to grab some fish’n’chips and an ice-cream and sit on the lawn under one of the magnificent Norfolk Pines that line the beach out front of the restaurant and bar and fish’n’chips are also available for in-house lunch diners who don’t want the Middle Eastern feast, as is a range of top cut Angus beef steaks sourced from Kilcoy, which come served with chips and salad.
But the restaurant and takeaway is just part of what Pilpel by the Sea has to offer. Upstairs, reached by a grand art deco staircase is a tapas balcony bar with stunning views over the beach, which serves beer, wine and cocktails accompanied mezze plates, Pilpel sliders, Garlic prawns, eye fillet beef or Spanish chorizo skewers, squid, homemade pizza, baklava and Turkish delight.
Adjacent to the bar (parts of which can be hired out for functions) is a mega function space with sweeping views, that is also under the Pilpel regime and is arguably Redcliffe’s best function space.
*Prices correct at time of writing in November 2015.
Need to know – Pilpel by the Sea is actually located right on the beach. Follow the driveway entrance to Suttons Beach, just off Marine Parade and there is limited free parking adjacent to the premise.
Nice to know – On Sundays between 12-2 there’s live music in the historic rotunda out front.