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Tree-mendous eats await at Apex Dining

Take a 'peak' around the Tweed Regional Gallery’s new café.

Dining room at Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Dining room at Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Ahhh the Tweed Valley. Characterised by its lush landscape of valleys and hills hugged by the picturesque Tweed River, sprawling cane farms, dairy farms, avocado plantations and quaint arty farty communities, it has all the makings of the perfect day trip. But, to make it truly worthy of our fuel, there must be good tucker. Not negotiable, end of story, thanks for coming. Well, thankfully this region delivers abundant locally sourced nosh, and Apex Dining, we’re looking squarely at you! Residing in the architecturally award-winning Tweed Regional Gallery with views of Wollumbin (Mount Warning), this beautiful café brasserie serves up a world-class outlook and dining to match.

Offering a unique combination of rustic French patisserie goodies and modern cafe plates with a very ‘now’ pan-Asian twist, it’s actually impossible not to find something to tickle your fancy. The menu feels right at home in this airy, light-filled space, incorporating simple, natural materials to reflect the stunning vista. Pulling up outside, your heart skips a beat as you instinctively know that you’re in for something special. Polished concrete flooring flows into wooden floorboards and high ceilings inside the pavilion dining room and yes, this is precisely what we had hoped for.

Bacon Benny and select desserts at Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Bacon Benny and select desserts at Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

The star of the show, however, is undeniably the outdoor deck with priceless panoramic views of the river, valley and ranges below. You feel a million miles away (even though you’re only 30 minutes south of Cooly), and the air seems that much cleaner from the sun-drenched terrace, as you sip on your cocktail/s. Now that’s our kinda R&R!

Local hospitality honchos Hannah Setchell and Toby Bamford were awarded the tenancy through a rigorous tender process, and bravo coz this was one hotly contended site. Pooling their combined 40 years’ experience, their mission was clear; to match the prestige and stunning views of the Tweed Gallery with an equally showstopping dining experience. With several other cafes still under their expert watch including Baked at Ancora and Kiosk at Casuarina, they were definitely the duo for the job.

Bacon Benny at Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Bacon Benny at Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Enlisting the culinary prowess of Head Chef Livia Monteiro, they have created an exciting locally sourced menu. Serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, Apex is also available for events by night and can accommodate weddings up to 120 guests #WeDo! Now dishes do change daily, but here is a little taste of what we were lucky enough to sample. I mean who could go past a Bacon Benny with sourdough crumpets, poached eggs, steaky bacon, baby spinach, hollandaise and tograshi? Or if you have a sweeter tooth, how about the Lemon Myrtle Crumpets with sourdough crumpets, stokers siding honey, lemon myrtle, kaffir coconut, seasonal fruits and coconut clusters and stuff it, we’re ordering both.

Moving into more lunchy-style eats, they do a mean Local Burrata, Yuzu and Kimchi Tomatoes on Sourdough, not to mention the Freshly Caught Fish of the Day with miso, sesame dressing, citrus fennel salad and garlic cauliflower. Thirsty? Of course you are and so were we! One cannot go past the Red Wangara Iced Tea with local hibiscus, star anise, peach and kaffir lime, or for something with a bit more oomph (and by oomph, we mean booze), try a Lemongrass Negroni on for size. With Brookies Gin, Campari, rosso and lemongrass tea, it’s refreshing, delicious and packs just the right amount of punch.

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

And finally, why not grab a lil something something for ‘ron, and the counter food cabinets have you covered with their sweet and savoury goodies. We STRONGLY recommend a Sausage Roll with pork, apple, fennel and oh-so-flaky pastry, or an Almond Croissant coz nothing churns our butter like France’s finest invention (behind champagne. Obvs).

All in all, a trip to Apex Dining is good for the soul, and will delight everyone in the fam from grandma to your little miss or mister.

Where: 2 Mistral Road, South Murwillumbah
When: 9am – 4pm Wednesday to Sunday. Closed Monday & Tuesday

Words by Bianca Trathen.

Red Wangara, Apex Ice Tea from Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Red Wangara, Apex Ice Tea from Apex Dining (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Baked at Ancora

Baked goods are life. There is nothing more we want or need than a sweet, crispy pastry and a perfectly brewed coffee on a Saturday morning. Except maybe a water view and an after-pastry side of avo on toast.

And where better to indulge in all of those things than right here, just over the border, Tweed Heads to be exact. Baked at Ancora opened just a short while ago, bringing an edgy, delightful eatery to the northern side of already much-loved wedding venue Ancora.

Baked is the baby of Gavin Rudd (head baker) and restaurateur Mark Wilson, who has gifted us with Osteria, Taverna and Bombay Cricketers Club – all southern beauties and the newbie is of equally exceptional quality (but also maybe better because, pastries).

It’s a long space with huge windows overlooking the sparkly Tweed River running up one side, naturally-inspired tables and chairs and, of course, plenty of greenery hanging overhead. An interior window allows you to peer in at the chefs working their magic and, the best bit, a neon sign shining out from inside reads “currently getting baked” and let us in on that please.

The food, as you would expect from local restaurant royalty, is absolutely exceptional and you may either sit inside and soak up the good vibes or grab a picnic rug and recline on the grassy outside area, which is both perfect for kiddies to run around on and for dealing with food coma type situations.

The a la carte menu is made up of all the very best breakfast and lunch dishes including said Avo Toast (but tastier than your usual) plus Bacon and Egg Benedict Rolls, Pork Belly Burgers and (a personal fave) House Made Sausage Rolls made with organic pork, Granny Smith apples, fennel and thyme. All the things are things you’ll want to eat time and time again.

You may also enjoy baguettes with Salami, Butter and Pickles (GIMME) among other epic flavour combinations and there are take home bread options such as Pain aux Olives with Kalamata olives, rosemary, oregano and black pepper. YUM.

Sweets-wise The Custard Pie is all your dreams come true, as is the Apple Breton Tarte Tatin and the Chocolate Praline Tart. We recommend sampling one of each and also taking one of each home for later.

Oh and their signature (read: perfect) croissants will have you dreaming of sweet Parisian mornings and you’ll probably never stop eating them. Same.

Summer’s (almost) over, it’s fine.

The philosophy of the crew at Baked at Ancora is a simple one; to bring loved ones together over good food and great coffee which, unsurprisingly, is pretty much life goals for us.

How good.

Love you baked (at Ancora) goods.

LOCATION: 118 Wharf St, Tweed Heads
HOURS: Daily from 7am until 1.30pm

Words by Kirra Smith

Ladies & gents, meet the ever-charming Tweed River House

Entry, Tweed River House (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Entry, Tweed River House (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Every once in a while, you stumble across a bona fide triple threat.

We’re talking phenomenal food, an impeccably styled space, a truly unparalleled location, and old-world hospitality. Wait, that’s 4 things, which means this place is so off-the-charts spesh, that it actually qualifies as a quadruple threat! Ladies and gentlemen, please take a bow for the majestic Tweed River House.

From the vantage point of the verdant riverbanks, settled at the tropical foothills of the Tweed Caldera in Murwillumbah, this century-old riverside plantation house has been lovingly restored to maintain its original character and charm. The elegant yet relaxed renovation creates a unique space that reflects the gentle pace of the Northern Rivers, oozing 1930s style with a French twist.

Le Bleu Cocktail, Tweed River House (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Le Bleu Cocktail, Tweed River House (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Restaurant owner / interior designer Gregory Lording has impeccably styled every inch of this space. From the patterned pressed metal ceilings in the main dining room, to the magnificent chandelier in the 10-seater private dining room, all the way to the wall art and décor choices. It’s also impossible to not mention the tranquility of the Tweed River, and panoramic views of the lush cane fields and mountain ranges. Bundle this all together and you get a truly unforgettable trip to Tweed River House.

Now let’s get to the food because let’s be honest, it’s kinda (really really) important to get this part right in making this a showstopping location. And folks, we are proud to report they nail it.

They offer mouth-watering French-style cuisine so delicious that they’ve been nominated for a Chef Hat Award by the Australian Good Food Guide. Their curated menu is hand-selected by Head Chef Joseph McGrattan showcasing only the best of each season’s produce; from the region’s fertile farmlands, riverways and ocean. Now you’re talking!

Mcauley’s Road Beef, Tweed River House (image supplied)
Mcauley’s Road Beef, Tweed River House (image supplied)

Once you’ve sampled their signature cocktail the Le Bleu, with ink gin, violet liqueur, orange syrup, lemon and whites (drooling over here), it’s time to peruse the menu.

You’re spoilt for choice between their two, three or five-course menus. Or perhaps you should up the ante with their degustation menu served exclusively in the chandelier private dining room.

If you prefer your choice of meals, we suggest to start the Jake Hill Rabbit Terrine, with confit rabbit and fair game chorizo terrine, leek, citrus rhubarb, hazelnuts, bush tomato gel and tarragon mayo. Then, move your way into the Bouillabaisse with Australian bay prawn, scallop, local octopus, chargrilled fish, mussels, cuttlefish, vegetables, house bread and rouille. Or, perhaps the McAuley’s Road Beef is more to your liking, with pink rump, with smoked mash, daube croquette, sautéed urliup mushrooms, bordelaise and pickled carrot.

Native Citrus, Tweed River House (image supplied)
Native Citrus, Tweed River House (image supplied)

And it’s safe to say dining out just isn’t complete without the icing on the cake – dessert. So, we suggest you treat yourself to the Native Citrus, with native citrus lemon aspen and honey cake, aspen ice cream, rum and finger lime cream cheese mousse and gingerbread crumble. Talk about finishing things off on a sweet note! We are sooo here for this.

For a relaxed yet contemporary culinary experience in a setting that captures the stuff dreams are made of, you know where to go.

Where: 131 River Street, South Murwillumbah NSW
When: Lunch – Thursday to Sunday, 12pm to 3pm. Dinner – Friday & Saturday, 5.30pm to 8pm.

Words by Bianca Trathen

River Terrace, Tweed River House (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
River Terrace, Tweed River House (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Say ciao to Tweed’s stunning new Italian eatery

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Italian food is a gift from the Gods (aka people who revere carbs, love and afternoon naps above all else). It is both a comforting hug and a combination of flavours that instantly transport you back to that trip you once took to Italy and haven’t stopped thinking about since.

Particularly when it’s the work of two people who understand the importance of all of the above and have indeed spent considerable time living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world themselves.

Maki and Mike Dackiw are the brains behind Tweed Head’s newbie Gallura Italian and their rap sheet is an impressive one. They spent ten years running a trattoria in Milan before making the move to Sydney to open a sister venue and most recently, Park Street Pasta Bar in Brunswick Heads.

Luckily for the Gold Coast, the pair have now made the move to our southern shores and with them, comes a stunning new space brimming with those Italian good vibes you know and love and serving up a menu that will almost certainly blow your mind.

Gallura Italian is an intimate 60-seat venue with low hanging lights, a beautiful, brightly coloured octopus mural and a section called the Chef’s table where you can sit at the bar and watch Mike and the team at work. Oh and there are pendant lights made from oyster shells so that’s amazing.

Now to the menu and what a divine little masterpiece it is. Each dish is refined and made up of perfectly balanced flavours with influences from Sardinia and all made with the freshest of coastal produce.

To begin, the Arancini with black truffle, mushroom, buffalo mozzarella and porcini cream is absolutely divine as is the Chargrilled Local Octopus with cannellini bean crema, pickled green tomatoes, baby radish and nduja. Two of the best Italian dishes we’ve ever sampled (and yes, including from Italy).

One of Gallura Italian’s specialty dishes is the Pane Frattau – a Sardinian flat bread soaked in lamb broth with tomato salsa, basil, pecorino sarda and with a poached duck egg perched on top. It was melt-in-your-mouth magic.

From the Primi menu, the Spaghetti with NZ vongole (clams), confit garlic, vermentino (white wine from Sardinia) and Bottarga (salted fish rose) is mind-blowing, the perfect combination of flavours and the pasta arrived al dente which very rarely happens. Perfection.

For dessert, quite obviously you’ll want to taste the Limoncello Tiramisu and also maybe an Affogato because those are amazing always.

The wine list is made up of Italian tipples from across the country and there is a tight cocktail list should you wish to indulge in a couple of those too.

The emphasis of Tweed Head’s spectacular newbie is on fresh, local produce, handmade pasta and traditional Sardinian methods and may we say they have absolutely nailed it.

We’re probably going to move to Tweed now.


LOCATION: 1/20 Stuart St, Tweed Heads
HOURS: Wednesday to Friday 12pm to 2.30pm and 5pm to 9pm, Saturday 5pm to 9pm and Sunday 11.30am to 3pm

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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