Whilst Seabelle's traditional bush flavour profiles remain, Executive Chef Brett Libbis, Sous Chef Toby Van Den Born and their team have experimented with native meats, bush flavours like lemon myrtle, bush tomato, pepper berry and wattle seeds and ingredients like cherry and labna to create a menu that both suits the season and pleases the tastebuds.
Chef Van Den Born says the rise and rise of reality cooking shows has created intense interest in cooking and 'plating up' and diners are not afraid to seeking out unusual products or flavours with an edge – like bush tucker - in place of traditional herbs.
The restaurant's bush foods are sourced from the resort's gardens and herb farm in season and from bush tucker pioneers like Vic Cherikoff – who was involved with the restaurant when it first developed its bush tucker groove and the resort also runs a Bush Tucker Talk and Taste to gently introduce international guests to bush tucker flavours and backgrounds.
Seabelle winter entrees, which start from $14, include salt and bush pepper calamari and crocodile with flash-fried Persian feta, watermelon salad and pepper berry aioli; char-grilled bush-spiced kangaroo with crisp leaves, beetroot paint and labna; and seared Hervey Bay scallops with sweet corn puree, prosciutto dust, macadamia nut and crisp parmesan.
Seabelle's main selection continues the bush tucker theme, with prices starting from $33, and includes range-reared duck confit with rosella braised red cabbage, crisp snow peas and cherry brandy jus and pan-seared Murrary River lamb backstrap with whipped carrot and ginger, forest peppermint yoghurt and a chickpea and coriander salad.
Char-grilled Emerald Valley beef fillet with skordalia mash, field mushrooms, Kingfisher Bay-grown rocket, blistered cherry tomatoes and red wine jus rounds out the winter warmers and side dishes like fried brussel sprouts with mild bush pepper chase away any childhood memories of not wanting to eat vegies.
Chef Van Den Born explains that native bush foods have intense flavor and need to be used with a light hand to achieve the best results.
"We experiment with different flavors all the time in our test kitchen to create new dishes like our bush lime sorbet, which features on the winter menu," he said. "It's such a satisfying feeling when you strike the exact balance with the bush flavours and sweetness and a dish comes together.
Seabelle's rich wattle seed chocolate parfait with brandy cherries, crushed macadamia and chocolate straw and the resort's lemon myrtle panna cotta with a peach and quandong compote are priced at $16.
For diners eager to learn more about their tucker, the Seabelle menu also includes a guide of the bush tucker used in the dishes and a detailed description of the each dish.
And the interpretive flavour continues outside of the restaurant, where Kingfisher Bay Resort's Ranger team also take guests on bush tucker walks to find bush foods and medicines in the forests and wallum surrounding the resort.
Seabelle, located in the Centre Complex at Kingfisher Bay Resort, was named 'Best Restaurant' at the 2011 Fraser Coast Tourism awards and was listed in the Fairfax Good Food Guide for Queensland earlier this year. The restaurant has a child friendly menu and is open nightly from 6pm.