The perfect summer spot.
A relaxing evening out is a rare commodity these days. Not for lack of places to go. If anything, in Malta, we’re positively spoilt for choice with quality restaurants and lounge-style bars to choose from. However, two crucial snags increasingly tend to threaten the relax-factor of any night out, especially as the island gears up to summer.
Firstly, the issue of parking. It seems churlish to dock points from a restaurant based on a detail that’s entirely out of the venue’s hands. But when you have to fret about heading out the door a good full hour early just in the hope you’ll find a decent enough parking spot that isn’t a hike-and-a-half away from your restaurant of choice, that can already put a damper on the evening ahead.
And then there’s the issue of crowds. Sure, a buzzing, rowdy atmos has its time and place. But there are days when what you desperately long for is a chilled-out hideaway where the food’s sublime, the cocktails are a dream, and conversation can flow without irksome interruptions from fellow diners. If we’re dealing in idealisms, then let’s throw in a glittering sea view, the perfect backdrop to raise a chilled sundowner to the whisper of a gentle breeze and the lull of the waves. Is it all really too much to ask for?
Well, apparently not, if you know where to look, that is.
So, if you are looking, may we direct your gaze towards a pretty promontory overlooking St George’s Bay in St Julian’s where a first-rate al fresco restaurant and lounge bar, which goes by the name of Broadside Terrace, is able to deliver all the above and more. Forming part of the Corinthia St. George's Bay, Broadside Terrace is no newcomer to the local dining scene, having been in operation for almost 10 years now. Yet, it’s somehow remained slightly under the radar as one of the island’s best kept dining secrets.
Those who’ve experienced the Broadside’s mellow setting and mouth-watering selection of mezes and grilled mains know what makes it so special. The fact they haven’t told you is proof they’re keeping it all to themselves. So, if you’re yet to familiarise yourself with the Broadside, just know you’re in for a bona fide treat.
First, the basics. Parking is not only not a problem, with ample space provided in the hotel’s on-site car park, it’s also completely free of charge to Broadside Terrace diners. That’s a major headache taken care of. You can pull up minutes before your booking, head down past the Corinthia’s central pool area, and walk along a short winding pathway to reach the al fresco terrace restaurant. This short leisurely stroll itself adds to the magic of the experience: with each step you’ll feel your pulse dial down as you shed another worry, another urgent to-do from your mind, until all that’s left to occupy your senses is the gorgeous view of the bay stretching out to the dusky blue of the horizon and the inviting waft of a smoky grill from the outside kitchen.
Tables around the venue have been thoughtfully laid out to give diners space and intimacy. Even at full capacity, you’ll never feel crowded or closed in. Soundtracked to a playlist of chill-out tunes, you can look forward to an evening of laid-back bliss, where you’ll never need to raise your voice beyond a conversational murmur.
Every summer, Broadside Terrace gives its menu a gentle revamp, with the kitchen and bar teams introducing new flavours and creative spins on classic ingredient combos among the curated selection of food and drinks. This year, the aesthetic of the Broadside brand has also received a little makeover, taking inspiration from the dazzle camouflage used extensively by ships in WWI. The effect, which can be seen wrapped around the Broadside’s menus and drink lists, creates something on an optical illusion, dazzling the viewer into a state of serenity.
The overall dining concept here remains an appetising medley of Mediterranean mezes and Turkish-style grills along with a highly quaffable selection of craft cocktails. Each item on the menu is prepared to perfection, with every bite and sip bursting with flavour and freshness. Key to the freshness is a small but well-kept kitchen garden tucked away in a corner of the terrace. From here, the kitchen team picks out its fresh herbs and spices to use in dishes and drinks.
The mezes here are a must. You can either order mezes as their own course to nibble over drinks, or they’ll be served as a complimentary starter when ordering a main. Fresh, oven-baked tandoori bread, made from scratch at the Broadside kitchen, is plated up alongside an assortment of grilled vegetables, tzatziki, hummus, and a chillied ezme salad. Every mouthful is truly sensational.
The cocktails are just as to-die-for. You’ll find all your favourite bar staples, including Margaritas, Daiquiris, Mojitos, et al. But why not eschew the classics in favour of a creative new concoction dreamt up by these expert mixologists? One moreish highlight on the list is the Blue Monday, a sweet sensation of Bombay gin mixed with a dose of cherry brandy, blue curacao, and a tangy bitter lemon. If the mesmerising maroon-blue sunset that’s setting across the bay had a flavour, then this is surely it.
The meze and cocktail pairings are certainly more than enough if you’re looking to keep things light. However, if you’re after the full Broadside Terrace experience, then be sure to leave room for one of their delicious main courses. There’s a judicious selection of vegetarian and seafood options alongside their staple meat and poultry dishes. Once again, everything is prepared from scratch in the outside kitchen, and you can really taste that freshness of flavour with each bite. It’s truly impressive how much intensity of flavour each dish manages to deliver with so few ingredients. All grills and mains are served with generous side bowls of bulgur with lentils, mixed salad, and crispy roast potatoes. The only thing that may just about keep you from finishing every last morsel is the promise of a tiramisu or raspberry mousse desert. You’ll definitely want to save room for these sweet temptations.
As the plates are cleared away and the lights begin to twinkle across the ink-black bay under the starry night, all that’s left for you to do is to sit back and take in the calm of this unusually peaceful corner of St Julian’s. Oh, and perhaps while you’re at it, just order one more cocktail for the road.
Broadside Terrace is open daily from 5.30pm till midnight. Happy Hour is daily between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.All Broadside Terrace patrons enjoy free parking at Corinthia St. George's Bay car park. Booking is highly recommended.