Melaleuca Restaurant Signature Dish: Salt & Pepper Moreton Bay bug tails 

Best accompanied by: Corte Giara Pinot Grigio 


The brainchild of award-winning head chef Adam Ion and his wife Namhee, 

Melaleuca opened its doors in April this year and this new and ambient restaurant has quickly established itself as the go to for foodies, holidaymakers and locals alike. 

Adam’s food passion started at an early age. “I will never forget my first job. Aged 13 years old on the West Coast of Scotland, shucking oysters and chasing langoustines around the kitchen!  It only ignited my love of food, thriving on the energy of busy kitchen and it instilled in me complete respect for fresh seafood that was well prepared”. Adam knew one day he would run his own kitchen and hopefully own it too! 

The food appetite well and truly whet, Adam packed his bags.  He met his wife Namhee in Scotland before they headed off together. He smiles shyly, “I not only found my lifelong partner but also the appreciation of her Korean heritage.  I was determined to try and test everything on my travels and to this day experimenting with Korean spices in my dishes is still one of my favourites things to explore.” 

The couple finally settled in Australia in 2010 and Adam firmly established himself on the food scene of Port Douglas.  It was perhaps none more so than as head chef of a prominent seafood restaurant where Adam and his team achieved “Best Seafood Restaurant in Australia 2016”. It was an amazing accomplishment and one of which he is very proud. 

“Then earlier this year, when we saw this space come up, we fell in love immediately.  The mango trees were simply magnificent, complimented by a light sea breeze. We knew this was our opportunity to take the leap, to create our own a restaurant where our guests could come, truly relax and enjoy modern Australian food,” Adam said.  

After lots of hard work from the team, Melaleuca opened its doors.  “To this day we design our menus using fresh, local produce, paired with delicious wines to tantalise the tastebuds,  offering popular dishes such as local Barramundi and Tiger Prawns from our amazing ocean on our doorstep and much more,” he said. 

One of his personal favourites is the salt & pepper Moreton Bay bug tails, which are the delicious bug meat, tempura battered and served with candied chilli, macadamia dust and a delicate Vietnamese dressing. This is proving to be the most popular item on the menu!