Inside Moana Restaurant and Bar – Isle of Capri’s new Pacific Rim-inspired seafood haven
Lovers of fresh fish, cracking crustaceans and moreish molluscs, put your claws in the air – the Gold Coast has scored a sleek new seafood haven! Taking the space of now-closed Italian restaurant Cicchetti at the Capri on Via Roma precinct on Isle of Capri is Moana Restaurant and Bar – a fresh, new sea-based venture from New Zealand celebrity chef, Alex Kaihea, who is looking to meld the best local seafood with the flavours of the Pacific Rim.
Tongan-born Alex Kaihea knows seafood – and he knows it very well. The renowned Kiwi chef spent a chunk of his career owning various restaurants in and around Auckland and appearing on New Zealand television shows, before making the move to the Gold Coast. For the past four years, he has worked as head chef at George’s Paragon and recently began scouting for locations for a seafood restaurant of his own. Just last week, the doors to Moana Restaurant and Bar opened, marking Alex’s first venture on the Gold Coast. Moana, which translates to ‘sea’ (well, you’d know that already if you have watched the Disney movie of the same name), is all about bringing the true tastes of the ocean to our plates. Alex is aiming to capture local diners with his 150-seat venue, offering an approachable menu that caters for those casual weekly dinners (and lunches), the ‘special occasion’ outings and everything in between.
The menu, driven heavily by fresh catches straight from the local trawlers, starts with smaller bites like seafood chowder, fresh king-prawn cocktails, baby octopus barbecued in lemon, garlic and olive oil, and pan-fried scallops with basil-champagne cream. There’s a selection of mussels and oysters in various flavour combinations, plus crustaceans (think lobster, bugs and black-tiger prawns), seafood pastas and risottos, as well as eye-catching dishes like the yellow-fin tuna wrapped in calamari served atop squid-ink fettuccine. To experience the true tastes of the Pacific Rim, consider dishes like the Tongan ‘ota ika’, a delicate arrangement of snapper fillets marinated in lime, cucumber, capsicum, spring onion and coconut cream, topped with taro chips. Those that prefer land-based eats (just so you’re aware, Alex says he can turn you into a seafood lover), can enjoy dishes like the twice-cooked half duck and free-range pork belly sided with gnocchi and baby vegetables.
Moana Restaurant and Bar is now open! Head to the Stumble Guide for its opening hours, location and contact details.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.