First item here; Coast Culinary Collective is not in the restaurant reviewing business. This ain’t that. We’re here to promote and inform about food and drink on the Sunshine Coast.
That out of the way, we had lunch yesterday at the newly opened El Segundo in Sechelt and were delighted. Started by 3 service industry veterans, Scarlett Osborne, Heidi Murphy and Jason Laidlaw, this is a total departure from anything else on the Sunshine Coast. Construction began pre-Covid and had several hurdles to leap. An early change to the building facade, a pandemic and the sort of construction delays that ensued as well as some kitchen equipment issues just prior to their planned launch. All that aside, they’re open and elated at how well received they’ve been so far.
There’s a tropic feel to the place, sort of like a combo of Venice Beach in California with some Hawaiian-esque colour schemes. To reinforce that vibe, there’s a “Tropic” neon sign above the bar that tells you so. The layout is a combo of booth seating, bistro tables, a few long tables and the outdoor patio. A high ceilinged room, the walls combine bamboo, floral motifs and bright colours to create something like a sophisticated tiki lounge effect. The styling of the bar reinforces that feel, adding another cultural period effect, that being what you might’ve seen in 1950’s Cuba. More tiki. The rums and tequilas on the back wall of the bar just add to it and you can picture Ernest Hemingway sitting next to you on one of the rattan stools. The floor is industrial concrete left from previous residents softened by many leafy plants around the room. The room is made to feel especially spacious by the huge wooden framed glass doors that open out to the patio. But perhaps the most stylish element for me in El Segundo are the light coverings. Almost like wicker baskets, they come in large and medium sizes and throw a warm light around the restaurant. If I had the sort of dining room in my house that I’d like, one of these would be over my table.
On to the stuffing of the matter; The menu.
Drinks; the wine list is comprised of a small number of BC producers, all well respected for those items of their’s on the list. The beer and cider list is precise, with some quality local producers. But the cocktails might have the most shine of the beverage offerings. Several classics, a few with El Segundo twists and each well paired with the food coming out of the kitchen. We stuck with Margueritas as it’s a fave and I knew they’d make them well.
Now about that food… We just tried a few of the starters but it’s clear Chef Heidi is after big flavours. Asian, South American and Mexican stylings dominate to great effect. The plates are largely geared towards sharing and using your hands to eat. Elevated comfort food you might call it. I’m not sure if the Pork Belly and Ramen Egg Taco pictured above are part of their regular menu (it’s not on their site at present) but I recommend it fervently. It’s a messy morsel for sure but well worth the trip to wash your hands after.
El Segundo haven’t moved into their full menu yet but if the food we tried yesterday is any indication, you should go. Again, a stand alone food concept on the Coast.