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20 reasons locals love Burleigh Heads

Oh Burleigh you little beauty, what’s not to love right? Since the dawn of time (or the dawn of the GC at least) Burleigh has been one of the most-loved suburbs amongst a slew of strong contenders.

Sure, the beach is beautiful and James Street boasts all the best eats and acai bowls galore but it’s more than that, Burleigh has a soul of its own born of cruisy, barefoot, salty seabreeze vibes you simply won’t find anywhere else.

Gushing aside, here are 20 solid reasons why the locals love it and you should too (or else). And yes, we understand there are many more, hold your horses for list 2.0.

Restaurant Labart
The fine dining venue is only a couple of years old, but in that time has become one of the Gold Coast’s premier dining destinations. Tucked away on West Street, the five-star, seasonal produce-led restaurant is an absolute must-visit and your dining experience there is one you won’t long forget. The produce is sustainable and the wine list is filled with some of the most stunning natural wines in the world. The service is impeccable too, but in a fun, not-too-formal way. We LOVE.
Where: 2A/8 West Street, Burleigh Heads 

Rosella’s 
It’s the good time, slightly fancy Australiana bar of your dreams and it is perfectly at home in Burleigh Heads. Rosella’s very quickly became a firm local favourite when it opened last year and with both a drinks and food menu made up entirely of Australian produce, we are in love. There are cocktails made with Nutri Grain, some of the tastiest toasties around and all the very best Aussie beers. It’s refined, beautifully decked out and created by a couple of absolute legends. Love.
Where: 6/1734 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Mr Hizola’s
Yum, contemporary Cantonese food, we love you. Mr Hizola’s is dishing up the goods in the form of tasty share-style dishes and we are here for it. Particularly the sizzling steak dish that is all kinds of delicious and an array of epic cocktails to match. Mr Hizola’s is by the gang who brought you Hideaway Kitchen and Bar, Nightjar (see below), Bine, Soho Place and Nightcap, so it’s fair to say they know what’s up.
Where: 1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Hill
Well hasn’t this simple little piece of Mother Nature become a local legend. No matter the day of the week (but particularly Sunday arvos) “the hill” as it’s affectionately known is packed with picnic rugs, ball games and groups of revelers basking in the sunshine. Looking out over the ocean and with the city in the distance, it’s the perfect spot for a late afternoon lemonade or early morning coffee date with the crew. If you’re feeling energetic, take a stroll around the hill to Talle Creek for some Insta-worthy scenery.
Where: The south end of The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads

Nightjar
It’s the good old-fashioned party bar Burleigh has welcomed with open arms and there’s absolutely no doubt that all the best things go down behind Nightjar’s spray painted roller door. Inspired by wanderluster Sailor Jerry and with very few rules, the back alley bar is home to epic live jams, crazy cocktails and guaranteed good times.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads 

Iku Yakitori Bar
Yakitori translates to chicken on a stick, simple enough to describe, but much more intricate in nature. As for Iku, ask the crew when you stop in. Also found in Burleigh’s bustling back alley, Iku is even better than you’d imagine it to be. Skewers are the name of the game and no part of the chicken is left behind. There’s also veggo ones and some ridiculous edamame dip and plenty of tasty cocktails too.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads 

Jimmy Wahs
The stunning space offers incredible Vietnamese dishes inspired by Head Chef Jakes’ trip through Vietnam and a desire to eat some of the very best street food in the world every single day. Same. It’s a refined style of dining paired with mouthwatering cocktails and a sleek, paired back vibe. Jimmy Wahs is one of the Gold Coast’s most impressive eateries and we are big fans.
Where: 1724 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Sean Scott Boutique
Gold Coast local Sean Scott is a world-renowned surf and nature photographer and his gallery on James Street is filled with his stunning images and the coolest of clothing and accessories. The gallery has been open for five years and is the perfect spot to stop in for some creative inspo or grab yourself a piece of Sean’s incredible art. Read our interview with the man himself here.
Where: 21 James Street, Burleigh Heads

Rick Shores
Literally opening out onto the sand at Burleigh beach, Rick Shores is loved (not only locally) for its stunning sunset views and those tiny little taste sensations otherwise known as Bug Rolls. If you’ve never tasted one, you’ve been wasting your life, make a booking RIGHT NOW and order them all. Wash them down with one of Rick’s signature cocktails and you’re a bonafide Burleigh-ite.
Where: Shop 3, Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Bowls Club
A relaxing little beachside club loved by young and old alike, Burleigh Bowls has been around since 1937 and is certainly a prime piece of real estate these days. Barefoot Bowls roll on from 12 to 5pm every Sunday and it’s a measly $5 per person including coaching and bowls (AKA ball whipper snappers). Live music can be heard on Sunday arvos from 2 to 6pm. Get down and support your local while sipping on a schooner.
Where: Connor Street, Burleigh Heads

The Village Markets
Our beloved boutique fashion and lifestyle market, The Village Markets, is home to hundreds of local makers and has helped to launch the international careers of countless creatives. Head down for an early morning coffee and breakfast while wandering through the stalls until it’s time for lunch. Oh and there’s always live music if you need a breather. It’s the best way to spend a sunny Sunday
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Baker
The baked goods that come out of this friendly little bakery are honestly something else. Owners Geoff and Lisa are passionate about baking and opened Burleigh Baker to provide us with the best tasting and most nutritious Artisan Sourdough and boy do they deliver. They use only the finest ingredients and the traditional process of fermentation. Do not buy bread anywhere else. You’re welcome.
Where: 13/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads

Freedom Float Centre
Floating in an enclosed tank of water may not seem like the most freedom-inducing activity in the world but trust us, it is. It’s the perfect place to experience the deepest of relaxation for the mind and body and literally involves floating weightlessly in a concentrated salt solution in a specially designed lightproof and soundproof pod. You’ll be shut off from the entire world. Sign us up!
Where: 105 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads

Justin Lane Rooftop
Don your finest frock and rally up your girlfriends for a Sunday session and a spot of people watching on the roof at Justin Lane. With cocktails in hand and a balmy breeze blowing in through the windows, you need never go anywhere else again. After a few hours, pop downstairs for one of Justin’s famous pizzas and that’s your Sunday sorted.
Where: 1708 – 1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Pavilion
Absolute beachfront views and balmy ocean breezes aside, Burleigh Pavilion is a real treat. The interior is all pastel hues with greenery dotted throughout, two distinct sides including a sit down restaurant (The Tropic) and a more casual beach bar-style situation (The Terrace) for the best of both worlds. There are tasty eats on both sides and many a refreshing cocktail. Not to mention their new baked goods-filled van. Get involved in all of that.
Where: Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Pavilion (image supplied)
Burleigh Pavilion (image supplied)

Ze Pickle
The OG of giant, gourmet burgers, Ze Pickle’s Burleigh Heads store is all the best burgery things. Opened by friends Joey, Nathan and Aaron in 2012, the concept has spread around Australia and is now loved nationwide. Paired by your favourite local craft beer or a tipple of primo tequila and you’ve got yourself a good time.
Where: Corner Park Avenue and Connor Street, Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Farmers Markets
Everyone’s favourite Saturday morning market adventure. Get up early, grab your basket and set out in search of fruit, veggies and of course, your first coffee of the weekend. These days the farmers market also boast locally made clothing and homewares, flowers, meat and seafood and delicious breaky and lunch options. There’s also live music and plenty of laughter floating around. Happy days.
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

David Fleays Wildlife Park
Nestled in the heart of Burleigh Heads, David Fleay’s is a wildlife park with a difference. Stroll through the tranquil surroundings to experience some of Queensland’s most iconic natural habitats and meet the resident wildlife — all in just one day. Explore the park solo or join the dedicated Park Rangers at the daily wildlife shows.
Where: Corner of West Burleigh Road and Loman Lane in West Burleigh

Burleigh Brewing Co.
If there’s one thing Burleigh deserves (the big legend), it’s a brewery and Burleigh Brewing Co. certainly delivers. After opening in 2006, Burleigh Brewing Co. has produced nine delicious drops with delightful names such as ‘My Wife’s Bitter’ and ‘FIGJAM’ – perfectly Burleigh. Get a sixer for Netflix and chill or head into the brewery from Wednesday to Sunday afternoons to get amongst it. There’s live tunes too, what a combination.
Where: 2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads

Lockwood Bar
A somewhat hidden little speakeasy in the heart of Burleigh Heads, Lockwood Bar specialise in all of the very best varieties of whiskey along with many a local tipple transformed into tasty cocktails. It’s a laidback, jazz bar kind of vibe, low lit, often with live music and once you’re inside, you likely won’t want to leave. We dig it.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads

Words by Kirra Smith

Restaurant Labart

Photo credit: Andy MacPherson
Photo credit: Andy MacPherson

Burleigh Heads is on absolute fire with venues swinging open their doors left and right, much to the delight of locals who apparently can’t get enough of tasty eats and bunkering down somewhere warm with a wine in hand (same to be honest).

The latest eatery to grace us with its’ presence is Restaurant Labart (opening tonight), a stylish space on Burleigh’s West Street, where Burleigh Chinese once lived. It’s simple sophistication at its finest and unlike anything the Gold Coast has seen before.

Which is of course, due to the fact that Restaurant Labart is the work of Sydneysiders Karla and Alex Munoz Labart who bring quite the impressive rap sheet to our beachside city.

But first, the interior. The narrow space is beautifully designed with walnut leather bench-style seating lining the walls and not-quite-khaki paneling with dark wood furniture and low-hanging lighting completing the picture. The vibe is earthy, refined and understated and we quite like it thank you very much.

The menu is, happily, the star of the show and that is a concept close to our hearts (and tummies). It’s made up of snacks (best) and both small and large share plates all of which are absolute taste sensations.

To share we recommend the BBQ King Prawns with shellfish butter, crème fraiche and finger lime and the Veal Tartare with sun-dried tomatoes, tarragon and potato crisps.

The large plates are all kinds of goodness and in particular the Seared Mulloway with peas, dill and horseradish and the Grilled Lamb Rack with charred turnips and green herb sauce should make you happy.

For dessert (OUR FAVOURITE) Chocolate Mousse with popcorn ice cream and salted popcorn is probably the most exciting dish there is in the world. Keep that one coming please.

You may also indulge in a cheese plate and if that’s not enough to have you making a reservation right this minute, please explain.

To compliment the stand out menu, a carefully curated selection of wines (including biodynamic and natural choices) along with Australian craft beers and seasonal cocktails are on offer to delight your tastebuds.

As mentioned owners Karla and Alex made the move from down south where Alex was the Head Chef at famed Sydney venues Monopole and Cirrus Dining, both of which were awarded Chefs Hats during his tenure.

Restaurant Labart is their first venture and, with the philosophy of aiming to simply make people happy, they’re sure to fit in just fine around these parts.

Excuse us, we’re off to consume all the chocolate mousse before the rest of you get your hands on any.

The end.

LOCATION: 8 West St, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: Dinner Wednesday to Saturday 6pm until 11:30pm. Lunch Friday to Sunday, 12 until 3 pm

Words by Kirra Smith. Photos supplied – interior shots by Andy MacPherson – food images via Restaurant Labart.

Jack Connor

Jack Connor is one half of Burleigh’s beloved Australiana bar, Rosella’s and one of the Gold Coast’s most talented mixologists. He began his career as a shit-kicker (same), went on to shake things up in some of Australia’s most impressive venues and now co-owns one of the best.

We sat down for a chat with Jack about his thoughts on making the perfect Martini ahead of Martini Week and the epic changes in the works for Rosella’s in 2020.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I was born in Melbourne but moved here when I was still a little baby at the age of 1. I’m getting old now… so been a local for a while ha.

What do you love most about living here?
Living here so long, its great to be on the Gold Coast having so many friends and family within a stones throw is pretty special. Also pretty good living in such a beautiful small and growing city.

You co-own Burleigh Australiana bar Rosella’s, how’d you come up with the concept?
The concept was sort of an evolution from a mix of other concepts that needed work. It was a great collaborative effort between myself and Jon (co-owner) to use only Australian products and to tie that in with the more nostalgia Australiana feel. I think it’s a great way to showcase the rapid growth of Australian cuisine and hospitality in a fun and super sustainable way.

What can someone expect if they’ve never been?
If it is someone who has lived in Australia for a long time, they should expect a trip down memory lane and to be very impressed with what Australia has to offer. If it is someone from overseas, they should expect the latter from the previous statement. It’s a very common surprise for guests to see how much we have to offer in terms of amazing cocktails, spirits, wine, beer and food.

Tell us about career before Rosella’s, what did you do?
I have been in this industry for 12 years now and on the Gold Coast. It all started when I was 19, finding a job after the GFC to get me through university. I landed a job as a bar back at Elsewhere. Slogging out the shit kicker jobs (which are still very much apart of every day work still to this day) for six months, I got myself into the bar tending drinks. After a good innings of bar backing, bartending and DJing, I moved to FIX Bar at the Hilton to find the more cocktail and service aspect of hospitality, which I fell in love with. This is where I worked my way up to a management role and have been managing venues ever since. I had a quick stint in Brisneyland where I managed The Charming Squire but found myself coming back to the Gold Coast. This is where I then started at Aloha Bar and Dining for three years before opening up little ol’ Rosella’s.

The Kylie Minogue Martini

What’s your favourite cocktail on the menu right now?
My favourite on the menu right now would have to be Blinky Bill. It’s a cocktail using a lot of progressive techniques in order to create a very pleasing visual experience and something that is bloody delicious. Plus the customer is donating to a very good cause. With every Blinky Bill sold, $2 of that cocktail is donated to WIRES Wildlife Rescue Organisation, with our country copping one of the worst bushfire seasons to date, this helps those centres that were overwhelmed with injured native animals. This is also by far our most popular cocktail, which makes it so much sweeter! Super fun for us to make, giving to a good cause and bloody delicious…. WIN WIN WIN!

It’s Martini Week this week, talk us through making the perfect martini…
A perfect Martini, in my opinion, is the hardest cocktail for anyone to make. There are very few ingredients (2-3), with an incredible amount of room for error! My favourite martini however is a Half-Half Gin Martini. This means upping the vermouth so that you are using half gin and half dry vermouth. Low ABV… high NRG! My preference would be Never Never Southern Strength Gin (40mls), Regal Rogue Lively White Vermouth (40mls), stir in a mixing glass till perfectly diluted, garnished with a bush lemon coin! Delicious!

FUN FACT: Before the Vodka Martini was called a Vodka Martini it was known as a ‘Kangaroo Cocktail’! However with vodkas popularity in the 1940s and onwards, saying a Vodka Martini was a little more appealing than ordering a smelly, Australian marsupial.

Rosella’s has done a few collabs with local businesses, why is it important for you to support them?
I think collaboration in any aspect is hugely important for any business and more so, personal growth. From our Rosella’s Blend Rum with Bundaberg Rum to all our takeover nights with specific brands, winemakers and/or other local restaurants. It brings us together to work towards something that is in both of our best interests. Sharing ideas, tips and tricks, techniques, and the same vision helps both parties personal growth and brand awareness. This industry [hospitality] moves forward very quickly! It is imperative you move forward with it… or stay ahead!

An exciting fun collaborative initiative we are working on now is with Husk Distillers. In the coming months we will be releasing a collaborative bottled cocktail pack, where we have designed four different signature cocktails utilising the four main products from Husk Distillers.

What’s in the works for the rest of 2020 for you and Rosella’s?
The biggest project we are working on at the moment is our kitchen renovation. We have acquired some very special chefs (Hamish Penner-Wilson ex Sous Chef at Fish House and Angus McCombe ex Jimmy Wahs) on board at Rosella’s now, and want to represent that in our food offering. Another big focus for us is making everything very sustainable. Using all local ingredients and minimising waste and plastic. We have acquired some compostable cling wrap so now we can say we are 99% single use plastic free. We are also working on a project to have an urban garden on top of our coolroom and storage shed for little herbs for the kitchen and bar, while also using home gardens for herbs and David doing weekly/fortnightly foraging endeavours. We have an amazing team at the moment at Rosella’s, so expect an exponential growth over the coming months in all aspects!

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe for breakfast: Elk Espresso, Commune, Stable (if I’m awake early enough)
Coffee spot: Stable
Bar for a drink: Lockwood, Iku or Scottish Prince.
How does your weekend usually look: My weekend usually is a whole lot of work, sleep and coffee!

Burleigh Pavilion unveils baked goods at The Van

If you’ve wandered down Burleigh way of late, you’ve no doubt noticed a new addition to Goodwin Terrace, right outside Burleigh Pavilion to be exact.

If not, allow us to enlighten you. It’s a vintage caravan but not just any vintage caravan, the new addition has been decked out in the Pavs’ distinctive pastel colour scheme and filled with an array of tasty eats you’re absolutely going to want to devour.

Said tasty eats come in the form of freshly baked white and seeded sourdough loaves, croissants (including chocolate), doughnuts, banana bread and sausage rolls. All of which are baked daily at Burleigh Pavillion by Head Chef Guillermo Zika (yes, he’s French) and his team. We tried them all just to be sure and all are absolute taste sensations.

Not only those though, there are also Bacon and Egg rolls, Avo and Haloumi Rolls, Ham and Cheese toasties and toasted foccacias in various flavours.

It wouldn’t be Burleigh if you couldn’t get smoothie bowls so there are those too. In Açai, Cocoa and Peanut flavours.

If you’re just after a cold drink after a stroll down the Esplanade you can choose from fresh, delicious juices and smoothies

Every single thing can of course be enjoyed a few steps away overlooking the ocean or if you bought a bit too much for one sitting (same), take it home to enjoy later.

If you’re after a cuppa to go with your three croissants, Nook Espresso is right there serving up the goods.

In case you’re wondering, Burleigh Pavilion is open for 20 people for the time being and The Van will be a permanent fixture going forward

Which is perfect, because obviously the more baked treats in our lives the better.

Head down and scoff some for yourself.

LOCATION: Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: TBC

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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