CoCa Chu, Hamilton Island

I took a short trip to Hamilton Island for the first time and was blown away by how wonderful the little island was.  The flight from Sydney to Hamilton Island airport was only 2 hours yet I felt like we were in a different country altogether, somewhere really tropical!

The weather was really beautiful and we made sure to fit in equal time slots of lazing around, watersports, snorkelling and cruising.

We stayed in one of the newly renovated Palm Bungalows and it was perfect.  Just a short walk to the Marina, the beach, the resort pools and buffet breakfast.  The bungalow had a little kitchenette and although we brought snacks (which I was glad that we brought, after seeing that the going price on the island for a 250g packet of chips was $7.20!), we had planned on eating out for dinner each night.

Buffet breakfast was included in our stay and we could choose from three places - Sails, the Pool Terrace or Wildlife Park.  We tried each one and out of the three, I thought Sails had the best breakfast offerings but watch out for the seagulls - they were ruthless in stealing food from people's plates!

On the first night of our trip, we wandered around the Marina to check out the menus at a handful of restaurants. We were a bit shocked at how high the prices were! Of course, this is a tourist destination but I was not expecting these very causal eateries which were serving pizza, steak etc to be charging $40+ for very average mains.  On our first night, we ended up at the Marina Tavern which served pub style food for a reasonable price.  I had a chicken burger and my friend had nachos, both plates were okay and at least the food didn't burn a huge hole in our wallets.  On our second night, we went to Sails which was priced higher abelit still in a casual dining setting and the meal was disappointing.  The menu reminded me of RSL club-style offerings and I ended up ordering steak which tasted overcooked.

For the final night, we went to CoCa Chu which had good reviews online.  It was the only place that we ate at which felt like a proper restaurant - and where we felt like the cost of the meal matched the food and service.  It is very popular so I recommend booking in advance if you want to visit!

CoCa Chu has a south-east Asian themed menu.  Our waiter was friendly and talkative in describing different dishes and the spices used in each.

We started off with some cocktails to toast our holiday.

Zen Budda ($18) and Gogo Girl ($18)

The restaurant was full and our drinks didn't arrive until after our starters. There was also a large gap of about 20 minutes between the first and second starter arriving at our table which wasn't ideal.  Our waiter apologised for the delay and said it was due to the pork ribs being cooked to order.

Betel Leaves - vegetarian option ($19)

Sweet and sour pork ribs with toasted sesame seeds and spring onion ($18)

The plate of pork ribs looked deceptively small.  There was a lot of meat on the plate and I am ashamed to confess that I could not finish it all.  The ribs were served on bone and they were soft enough to be cut with a fork and spoon.

Yellow curry of roasted butternut pumpkin with eschalots and pickled ginger ($26)

Brown rice ($4 pp)

The plate of curry was big enough to feed three people! It was an incredibly generous serve and went well with the brown rice.  The curry was mild and the pumpkin was soft enough that the thin layer of skin left on the slices wasn't a bother.

Chicken and crab salad with peanuts, thai basil, coriander and green nahm jim ($25)

The chicken and crab salad was also of a generous serving size with bits of shredded chicken and crab meat strewn throughout.  Unfortunately I did not think to request for the salad to be served without chilli and there were thin pieces of chilli throughout the entire salad that I ended up picking out.  Still, it was a light and refreshing salad - exactly what I needed after the meaty pork ribs served for a starter.

Five spiced donut with passionfruit curd ($13)

I was really full by this stage but could not resist ordering this dessert. Our waiter had casually mentioned that this special dessert of the day was almost sold out for the night and he would have to check with the kitchen if there were any serves remaining.  Tossing up between a Sticky Rice dessert or the Donuts, I asked him to please check with the kitchen.  Upon his return, he confirmed that there was only ONE serve left.  I decided it was fate and ordered the donuts.

It was cute how they were served in the half shell of the coconut. I found the five spice to be very subtle (some might say invisible) but it is hard to critique freshly deep fried donuts that are piping hot in your mouth.

In conclusion, CoCa Chu is the only place that we ate at in Hamilton Island which I would actually recommend visiting. Having said that, there were a few more restaurants on the island which we did not get to try - maybe next time!

 CoCa Chu on Urbanspoon


We have been writing about food in Sydney since 2009. No place is too far or too wide for us to travel to visit. We always give an honest opinion and love to hear your comments too. Here's to an ever-growing society of foodies!


  1. Oh wow Hamilton Island looks amazing, can't wait to visit next year!

  2. That looks like a well priced restaurant. I went to Fish D'vine and it had fantastic mud crab and it was very good value.

  3. Hi Mr C: It is really beautiful there, feel free to ask me any questions about the island - it's all fresh in my mind at the moment!

    Hi Lorraine: Thanks for the tip, I'll keep it in mind if we visit Airlie Beach next time :)