Moonlight flickers on the bay, like teardrops rolling in the waves. The Pigram Brothers.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to a Pigram Brothers recording, you’ll understand the connection they have to Broome and the surrounding land. It’s real, it comes from deep within their souls and their personal life experiences in this rich and hauntingly beautiful region of our great country.
I sat comfortably in the new Perth Qantas Business Lounge (thanks for the invite Qantas) enjoying some tasty treats and a little glass of bubbles waiting for my Qantas flight to board and I was definitely impressed by my surroundings.
The Pigram’s latest recording caressing my ears, it was like I was getting an introduction to what lay ahead. Like the custodians of the region were personally inviting me in. Enchanting lyrics of frangipanis and mango trees, sky blue seas, lazy breezes caressing the mind, almost had me transported to my destination without leaving the lounge.
The flight itself is a comfortable two and a half hours from Perth, and I must say that it’s always a treat having the experienced Qantas flight attendants looking after you. They just have a terrific attitude and seem happy in their work.
The view all the way along the coast is just brilliant, especially on descent when you land over turquoise waters across the white sands with the ochre and red cliffs as the backdrop.
My accommodation for this Broome adventure sat right on the doorstep of the iconic Cable Beach. I had never heard anything negative about Cable Beach Club so it was a no brainer when it came to where I was going to lay my hat.
The resort’s history is an intriguing one. A British politician and businessman by the name of Alistair McAlpine who had first visited Perth in the 1960s on business made his way to Broome to escape the heat … That’s funny! He returned in the 70s and was so smitten that he returned again in the 80s with his mind set on creating a tourism bonanza and with this he invested over half a billion dollars into various developments, most notably, Cable Beach Club. The deal to get it all started was achieved in true outback Aussie fashion and was signed over on the back of a beer coaster at the Roebuck Bay Pub!
Many years later this multi-award winning resort still stands as the jewel in the accommodation crown of the Broome area. With all the allure of The Kimberley and its unbeatable location on the shores of the Indian Ocean, it’s hard not to fall for its charm and immediately plunge into a state of zen.
Sitting amid 23 acres of lush gardens scattered with decorative statues and ornaments, the resort boasts 235 rooms ranging in style from studios, to bungalows, pool villas and suites. The character of Broome and The Kimberley is ever present as colonial and Asian influences embrace each other.
I have to say if you were just looking to unwind and relax in pure bliss you don’t have to venture outside of Cable Beach Club at all. The resort is home to four superb restaurants and two pools, one specifically for adults only, yes thanks! There’s a fully equipped gym for those who desire to keep the indulgences at bay, and a full day spa that caters to your every beauty treatment desire.
As manager Stuart Kentish put it “the resort’s eclectic nature makes it a very special place. Interesting guests combined with a mix of multi-national staff makes it an iconic destination.” And to me that’s just a little of what makes it so exceptional.
Dining options are just superb at the Cable Beach Club and I managed to dine at a few, including Sunset Bar and Grill with its spectacular Indian Ocean views. Here you can dine in a relaxed atmosphere and savour the a la carte menu, or really kick back and enjoy a cocktail while you have a few pickings from the bar menu which has choices aplenty that will certainly satisfy. Kichi Kichi with its offerings of modern Asian is also a winner. It’s poolside and very relaxed as well. You have to try the honey pork, five spices, capsicum with grilled pineapple, cashews and sherry plum sauce …. so delicious!
However, the resort dining experience award winner went to Chichetti Club with its super impressive modern Italian. It was such a delight to be fussed over like I was here. Wait staff who took pride in their job so intensely that I just sat back and let them do what they do best. My food waiter Enzo was just divine and, as he explained the menu and its origins so perfectly, I just left my dining experience in his capable hands. Matching the perfect wine with each dish was achieved with prodigious aplomb. Super delectable prosciutto, pears and goat’s curd to start. Followed by a couple of shared mains, including duck breast, beetroot, sage faro and blackberry and a perfectly cooked Cape Naturaliste Black Angus beef with parsnip, witlof and truffle jus. My mouth is now watering profusely as I write and remember this event! It really was one of my all-time ultimate dining experiences. So, when you get to Cable Beach Club make sure you get Enzo and Francesco to look after you.
Having indulged myself in the gastronomic genius of Chichetti Club I thought I should experience at least one of the town’s eateries, just to show no bias! I had heard good things about a spot called The Aarli that promotes a Modern Australian menu with a distinct Asian edge. Now, the location of this little gem is nothing salubrious, but I was told many times as a kid “not to judge a book …”.
Don’t get me wrong,The Aarli is not unattractive at all, in fact its alfresco courtyard surrounded by frangipanis and ferns is very cosy, and the internal spaces are quite tasteful. Besides, I go to a restaurant to eat, so it’s the food that I’m all about, and I was suitably impressed. Actually, that’s an understatement. I was blown away by the freshness and the fragrant flavours that Chef Nick Wendland and his team delivered. With produce coming in twice a week, they’ve made it their mission to only serve you up the best of what’s available, and there’s plenty to choose from.
My meal consisted of the perfect mix. For starters, what I believe are some of the best oysters in the world from South Australia’s Coffin Bay. These came as a mixed plate of natural, kimchi and green onions, and red nam jim and fried shallots. Mouth-watering sensations!
Next up was the kingfish sashimi, green nam jim, kaffir lime and hot mint. I know right!? I finished off with one of the blackboard specials, panko-crumbed kingfish wings, a dish totally new to me, and I have to say my friends, it was mind blowing. A delicate crisp and crunchy exterior with tender melt-in-your-mouth flesh inside. That’s the way to get the most out of your fish. Just superb.
There’s a reason that Jane and Nick have been successful here in Broome for over 14 years, so make sure when you’re there to go and indulge yourselves. I loved it so much I returned for a second night to have a crack at some other dishes.
The Aarli is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week from 8am till late.
Cable Beach and the town of Broome have a fascinating history. Most know of their diverse and multicultural past, especially during the pearling days of yesteryear when Chinese, Japanese, Sri Lankans, Aborigines, Filipinos, Malays and many more from the neighbouring islands made up the population.
That melting pot still exists, on a smaller level but many of the remnants and historical pieces survive. These and the many a Kimberley character that inhabit the region today sure make for an interesting sojourn.
Really, I haven’t even touched the sides when it comes to all that Cable Beach and Broome have to offer, so you know what to do. Just get there.
Handy Links & Information
Getting There: qantus fly to Perth daily and during the peak season (May through October), QantasLink operates up to 19 return flights per week between Perth and Broome with a mix of B737, B717 and F100 aircraft.
There are also some direct flights from Broome to Sydney.
Must Do’s: Cable Beach sunset is a must do and if you can handle the bad breath, do it on the back of a local, (Camel that is)!