Helmed by chef Sam Helyard and with a menu focussing on fresh, local seafood, Coast is the jewel of Glenelg Pier Hotel’s $2 million renovation.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Coast offers modern Mediterranean fare with a focus on fresh seafood and a relaxed atmosphere against the stunning backdrop of the Glenelg foreshore.

Coast opened its doors in mid-December as part of a wider renovation of the Glenelg Pier Hotel.

The launch comes less than one year since new owners GM Hotels Group purchased the business, which includes The Pier bar and adjoining function spaces.

GM Hotels operate 16 other venues, including the Beach Hotel at Christie’s Beach and the Tower Hotel at Norwood.

Head chef Sam Helyard – previously of Peel Street Restaurant and the former Salt at Henley Beach – was first attracted to the job when he heard of the plans to renovate the space.

He came on board less than 12 months ago, first as sous chef before being promoted to head chef, now overseeing the two kitchens that service Coast and The Pier.

There is also a third kitchen that services the venue’s function spaces – including the former Paradise Bar nightclub – which are next in line to receive a refurbishment.

“It was exciting to hear about the plans,” says Helyard.

“I worked with the GM Hotels Group about three or four years ago at the Tower Hotel, so there was a mutual connection there.

“It came together faster than expected; Coast was generally meant to happen halfway through next year, and then plans changed to go ahead to open for this summer.”

The kitchen sources fresh South Australian seafood, delivered daily, and the menu is predominantly seafood-focussed.

Mains include seared ocean salmon, Szechuan baby calamari, chilli mussels and crayfish thermidor, as well as non-ocean dishes, such as the 350g scotch fillet, spit-roasted chicken and whole roasted eggplant.

Coast restaurant. Photo: Dylan Sanders.

There are also pasta dishes, such as king prawn tagliatelle, as well as small plates and seafood platters on ice.

“The atmosphere is lower-key during the week, the music is a bit quieter, but when it comes to the weekend, it’s a place to come and have a few drinks, cocktails, some good food and just hang out,” says Helyard.

“There’s no specific demographic we’re looking at; we’re family-friendly and we welcome children.

“It’s a relaxed vibe with a good atmosphere.”

The restaurant space was not previously utilised and separated from the Pier bar by a wall, which has been knocked down to create an open floorplan.

“This space was just a chill-out area for the staff. This is where everyone would have their breaks,” says Helyard.

“With a view like this, it’s a waste of space if it’s not going to be used to its full potential.”

While Coast doesn’t have any street frontage to pull in foot traffic, it is only metres from the sand, with umbrellas and tables that beckon beachgoers to take a closer look.

“It is one of those tricky spots where you don’t generally have foot traffic walking past,” says Helyard.

“We have a lot of events coming up and there are many things we want to do here, but Coast has transformed this entire space and kick-started things.

“It’s the boost we need to sail through winter and then we’ll be even bigger and better next summer.”

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