Friday, November 10, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Opening Eastwoods has always been the vision of Kirsty and Jack Mason, the powerful team that had taken Hamilton Island by storm for a number of years, bringing their expertise and passion over to the Whitsundays mainland.
What prompted the south-east Asian fusion that is Eastwoods was Jack and Kirsty’s passion for showcasing a unique and different food option in the heart of Airlie Beach.
“Modern South-east Asian has always been a favourite style of cuisine. Bursting with flavours and textures bringing the dishes together. Predominately Thai, Vietnamese, with some Chinese in there too,” owner and Executive Chef, Jack explained.
“We try to use traditional recipes and ingredients and modernise it a bit. Classic traditional Asian but with a modern twist. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support and passion of our talented Sous Chefs – Milena and Jenny. The drive they bring every day is a true inspiration for the team”
Having opened the doors less than two weeks ago to Eastwoods, Kirsty, Jack and the team have welcomed the flurry of locals wishing to try the new offerings and the tourists looking for a tasty reprieve from their holiday adventures.
“Favourites of the menu seem to be our barramundi, a crispy whole baby barramundi, straight from the Coral Coast, with a three flavour caramel and apple mint slaw. It just covers all bases, of tastes, textures, and presentation,” Jack explained.
“Our betel leaf dish, with tiger prawn, red nahm jim and toasted coconut, has been a big favourite. We have them growing in the garden at the front, and we love to show people that that’s what they’re eating.”
Another facet of the cuisine is the extreme dietary flexibility of the menu.
“The majority of the dishes are gluten free, and dairy free, and we can make small variations to accommodate other allergens or requirements,” Kirsty explained.
“Pretty much everything is coconut based, not dairy milk, and we use Asian style flours which are gluten free. We also have a number of vegan dishes so it’s very easy to cater to all with delicious options.”
In terms of beverages, the drinks menu is extensive and impressive, offering a range of carefully selected wines, Japanese sake, and unique specialty cocktails. Ryan Guitman is the master behind the bar and the delicious well balanced drinks are served up in minutes!
“We have created a drinks list that pairs with our style of cuisine but is also a point of difference in the Whitsundays, which is something we really wanted to focus on and getting the locals excited to experience something new” Kirsty explained.
Dining at Eastwoods, the experience is as important as the meal, with the menu favouring sharing plates and banquet dining, allowing guests to taste the entire menu. Eastwoods is also able to offer large dining banquets with a set menu for private parties, and functions.
And where did the name come from?
“Five years ago, when we decided we wanted to open a restaurant we were thinking of names. We couldn’t really agree on anything, and we got to the point we were just naming things we liked. Jack being a fan of western movies, then said Clint Eastwood, and Kirsty stopped and said there could be something there – Southeast Asian at Eastwoods sounds pretty good, and we both knew, that was our name.”
Jack and Kirsty Mason, the duo behind Eastwoods
The team of Eastwoods, ensuring the best experience for each guest. Photo credit: Bronte Hodge