Jul 5, 2011
Nestled within the iconic Hamilton Island Yacht Club, you’ll find the island’s newest dining experience –and it’s fine enough to rival the very best the big cities have to offer. Striking architecture, fine food and wine and superb Australian service. Welcome to Bommie.
Many cities lay claim to at least one iconic piece of architecture.
Sydney has its Coathanger (the Harbour Bridge), while London has the Gherkin (the Swiss Re building) and so on.
Our first real glimpse of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club came a few years ago when we were on our way back to the island after visiting the newly opened Hamilton Island Golf Club on nearby Dent Island.
We had heard the unofficial title bestowed on it by some media outlets – the Opera House of Queensland – and upon seeing the unique structure for ourselves, it was easy to see why.
With its soaring copper wings and cantilevered terraces, it is an airy, ethereal masterpiece, perched elegantly at the entrance to the marina. Since opening in 2009, it has become synonymous with Hamilton Island and the surrounding region.
The club’s sweeping, smooth-lined design and yachting theme is echoed right through the building – and nowhere more so than in the elegant interior of the fine-dining Bommie restaurant, where beautifully polished hull-shaped timber tables effortlessly bring the outside in.
In some respects, Bommie is a contradiction. Fine dining, certainly, but with a relaxed atmosphere more in keeping with the character of the island. Inside, dark timbers and polished stainless steel fittings reflect the evening candle light, while large fish traps become intriguing art pieces, echoing the maritime feel of the restaurant.
With seating for 90 and an additional 53 outdoor balcony seats, the restaurant has sweeping views of the marina in one direction and the turquoise waters of the Whitsundays in the other.
But while the view is stunning from every angle, it serves to enhance rather than overshadow the menu.
Bommie features modern Australian cuisine with, naturally, an emphasis on fresh local seafood, whether it be a tempting Peruvian-style ceviche, freshly shucked oysters, pan-seared barramundi, or a local crayfish and prawn tortellini.
There can be few pleasures to rival the Berkshire pork, wrapped in pancetta with drunken dates, sous vide apples and gorgonzola dolce, or ‘Q’ Farm lamb saddle, slow roasted with sweet pea puree and bacon bourguignon, while drinking in the superb view – or something from the superbly stocked wine cellar for that matter.
Bommie takes its name from the shallow reef patches found in the waters around Hamilton Island and is a short form of the Aboriginal word ‘bombora’. The bommies provide a safe haven for tropical fish to come together and feed but also present a challenge to yachtsmen who must keep a wary eye out for them.
The Bommie Deck Bar, which stretches out from the main yacht club structure is the perfect spot for a late afternoon drink as the sun sets. No better place is there for barbequed local prawns with romesco sauce and fresh lemon, or dill and lemon local reef fish and chips, with house made tartare sauce.
And if you can manage to get there early, do take the time to check out the Flag Deck, which boasts the mast of the maxi yacht, Bumblebee IV, the line-honours winner of the 1979 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Rescued from the depths of Sydney Harbour after an overly arduous race, it sat in a warehouse until Iain Murray, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club Commodore, remembered it and thought it would fit perfectly with the overall design for the new club, located as it is in such an iconic sailing destination.
Certainly the effect is one of relaxed luxury and a feel that is unique to Bommie and this spectacular part of the world. That you can enjoy this level of dining experience away from the madding crowds of the big city will come as a pleasant surprise to many. That it also comes with a view like this, must be worth at least another star or chef’s hat in any rating system.
At a Glance
Bommie is generally open for dinner from 6pm-9pm but opening times may vary depending on the season. Check the Hamilton Island daily activity guide at for details prior to arriving on the island. It caters for guests 12 years and over, with group booking limitations and a private dining room available for up to 14 guests.
Bookings are essential. Please call (07) 4948 9422.
Story: Deryck James
Photography: Jason Lucas & Andrea Francolini
The above article was originally published in the July 2011 Edition of REEF Magazine