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7 places to chow down on a Banh Mi

Because you're the Banh for Mi.

Banh Mi Breakfast Board, Hazel Espresso (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Banh Mi Breakfast Board, Hazel Espresso (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Ah, the humble Banh Mi, what a delicious, exotic and highly eatable little bundle of joy you truly are. Fusing the creative baking skills of the French with the fragrant and spice-driven gastronomy of Vietnam, you have been satisfying the tastebuds of the world for over 60 years.

The secret has to be the soft yet crunchy baguette piled high with crispy pork, a dash of mayonnaise, crunchy julienne carrots, fresh coriander and finely chopped chilli. It’s a strong case for IYKYK, but if you haven’t had one of these delights, we strongly suggest you fix that, stat.

To find only the best Banh Mi worthy of its lofty heritage, you have to know where to find them on the Gold Coast.

Hazel Espresso
Make your way to Southport’s China Town, and amongst the flavours of China you’ll find a well-executed Vietnamese cafe offering some incredible dishes. The Banh Mi Breakfast Board is packed to the rafters, and when you pair this with one of their Hanoi Egg Coffee’s, you’ll be experiencing Vietnam without the need of your passport.
Where: 9 Davenport St, Southport

Bun Lee's classic Banh Mi (image supplied)
Bun Lee's classic Banh Mi (image supplied)

Bun Lee
Perfectly positioned on the ever-busy James Street, this welcoming little space packs a punch when it comes to flavour and choice. Choose between traditional pork, beef, chicken and even tofu. And if it’s that time of day for a caffeine hit, be sure to try their on-tap nitro coffee with a generous dash of coconut cream.
Where: 26 James St, Burleigh Heads

PORKEEz Vietnamese Cuisine
Quick, easy, and fresh as they come, PORKEEz in Broadbeach is a must visit for traditional street style Vietnamese food. Their version of Banh Mi includes crunchy segments of pork crackling and takes it to an entirely new level. There’s also tasty side dishes like Rice Paper Rolls and Spring Rolls — just in case you’re still hungry.
Where: 6/88 Surf Parade, Broadbeach

Banh Mi from Naami (image supplied)
Banh Mi from Naami (image supplied)

Business up front and party round the back might just be the best way to describe this Burleigh Heads hotspot. During the day, the front shop space is a fresh-as-they-come Banh Mi slinging eatery and also doubles as the entry space for the speakeasy bar at the rear. Our advice: fuel up on one of these before trying Breeana Erica’s divine cocktail list.
Where: 47 James St, Burleigh Heads

Oriental Bakery
A Mermaid Beach institution, if you’ve checked this little modest business out before, you’ll know how good it is; and if you haven’t, what are you doing?! Your options are chicken as well as pork, and you have a few Asian style sweet treats to choose from to finish things off! How good?
Where: 2477 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

Hot Pork Banh Mi from Cubby Bakehouse (image supplied)
Hot Pork Banh Mi from Cubby Bakehouse (image supplied)

Cubby Bakehouse
Technically not the Gold Coast, but now the border is open; we know you’re all keen to make trips down this way. What these guys do with a Banh Mi is pure genius! You gotta try their Kaarage Chicken Banh Mi with teriyaki and kewpie mayo or their Hot Pork Banh Mi. Trust us, neither will disappoint and will single handedly make you fill in a border pass just for one of these bad boys.
Where: 162 Chinderah Bay Dr, Chinderah

Jimmy Wahs
Already renowned for their astonishing menu, this hatted restaurant is one of the best places for a weekend long lunch or a decadent weeknight escape: make no mistake. Their version of Banh Mi has been taken up a notch — or two — by replacing pork with tempura soft shell crab with all of the traditional extras. The taste? Well, let’s just say you will be back for more.
Where: 1724 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

You’re going to love Hazel Espresso a latte!

French Toast Forever & Flat White Martini, Hazel Espresso (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
French Toast Forever & Flat White Martini, Hazel Espresso (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Because we all know that breakfast is a serious affair here on the Gold Coast, it’s essential to keep abreast of the newest venues and the freshest concepts, right? Settling for second best isn’t a viable option when there’s such an incredible selection of venues, all with more exciting and taste bud pleasing dishes than you could wave a stick at. And it’s the thought-provoking and left-of-centre menus that sometimes garner the most attention. Because let’s face it, thinking outside the box should be celebrated!

We’ve discovered a cafe that understands this mandate quite well and has taken it upon themselves to shake the status quo and give Gold Coasters an offering a little out of the ordinary. Say hello, to the newly opened Hazel Espresso in Southport.

You’ll come across the warm and welcoming cafe of Hazel Espresso on Southport’s leafy Davenport Street in the heart of China Town. With seating outside, you can relax under dappled sunlight, or you might want to find yourself tucked inside their warm timber-coloured cafe.

Hanoi Egg Coffee & Banh Mi Breakfast Board, Hazel Espresso (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Hanoi Egg Coffee & Banh Mi Breakfast Board, Hazel Espresso (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

With Vietnamese heritage, the couple behind this cute space have carefully put together a modern menu that deftly blends Australian favourites with South East Asia fusion. Breakfast dishes are served all day, consisting of dishes like a tantalising Grilled Pork Banh Mi Breakfast Board and a Chilli Crab Scrambled Eggs with flaked pieces of crab meat, lashing of fresh chilli, lime and coriander. A little different, you might think, but for those with an adventurous palate and an admiration for Asian cuisine, you’ll be smitten.

Acai bowl fans will be drawn to the Hazel Acai Bowl, and for good reason, with house-roasted almond granola, a host of fresh fruit and peanut butter or Nutella add ons, it’s likely a no-brainer.

Lunch continues to be a delectable exploration of the orient with sangas and salads, including a Salmon Super Salad with pan-fried salmon, quinoa and edamame.

And for those chasing something a little sweeter, the French Toast Forever is a thick slice of cream cheese-filled French toast with ice cream, mascarpone, berry coulis and fairy floss, which must be tried.

Hazel Espresso exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Hazel Espresso exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

For those familiar with Vietnamese style coffee, Hazel Espresso has made it a priority that their caffeine offering is on point. Melbourne roasters ST ALi. provide all of the orthodox espresso-style drinks, whilst traditional and robust tasting pour-over style coffee is available across their special coffee menu. The Hanoi Egg Coffee is undoubtedly the highlight here, as rich coffee is layered with a creamy egg yolk foam on top, and the resulting texture and plush flavour is a true one-off. Rounding out the menu are three house-made teas jam-packed with fresh fruit, lemongrass, mint and a mixture of otherworldly and exotic flavours.

And should you feel like the time has come to enjoy a drink a little stronger, their licensed drinks menu has you covered with all of the usual suspects, including some velvety smooth Flat White Espresso Martinis!

In the new year, the team here has plans to open evening dinner services focusing on desserts and coffee; whilst still featuring their Banh Mis and rice-based dishes. So watch this space!

When: Tuesday – Friday 7am-3pm & Saturday – Sunday 7am-2pm
Where: 9 Davenport Street, Southport

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Chilli Crab Scrambled Egg on Croissant, Hazel Espresso (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Chilli Crab Scrambled Egg on Croissant, Hazel Espresso (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Naami, Burleigh’s new sultry backstreet bar

Naami (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Naami Instant Zombie (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

When you find yourself forced to take a closer look at things in life, you can be treated to sensory experiences and surprises that you weren’t even aware existed. A near-perfect example of this — and pride of place slap bang in the middle of Burleigh Heads James Street, no less — is Naami. 


From first observation, you’d be in the right frame of mind to assume Burleigh has scored itself another splendid little recess churning out some incredible eats. And it has.

The rustic garage-styled shop front is sure to satisfy your Vietnamese desires with Banh Mi, Spring Rolls and Pho — all to go. The bare minimalistic décor is brought to life by polished concrete floors, neutral hues, and a parked up scrambler style motorcycle, which couldn’t look more at home than on the bustling side streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.

But this isn’t where your attention should be. Although the food served up here is nothing short of astonishing and packed full of authentic flavour, if you let your eyes do some wandering, you might notice a rather large door loitering in the corner. Give it a push, and into Naami bar you go…

Curiosity once did kill the cat, but in this instance, you’re rewarded with Burleigh’s newest speakeasy-style evening haunt. Inspired by a motorcycle trip of Vietnam, owners Ollie Frost and his dad Geoffrey decided the exotic and distinct culture of Vietnam’s back alley bar culture was called for on the Gold Coast. And we couldn’t agree more. The pair are no strangers to hospitality either owning neighbouring Mediterranean hotspot Maman and Surfers Paradise’s burger nirvana, Milky Lane.

Naami interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Naami interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Cocktail maestro Breeana Erica, who has cut her teeth composing cocktail lists at multiple venues around the Coast, (including Maggie Choo & The Roosevelt Lounge) is heading up the venue. When it comes to aligning flavours and uniting liquids, this young lady has got it squared right away. With 11 inventive and Asian inspired Signature Cocktails, there will be no room for boredom here. Breeana muses, “The cocktail list reflects a diverse range of flavours and spirits which will ultimately create talking points; we’re hoping for people to sit and enjoy their drinks and create exciting conversations over them”.

No doubt they will. The ‘Pav Is Mine‘ is a tip of the cap to a classic pavlova, but with lashings of vanilla vodka, butterscotch schnapps and a one-of-a-kind passionfruit smoke bubble you just have to see. Or perhaps a ‘Pho-Groni’ is more your thing, especially if your usual tipple is a classic negroni? The bar takes a savoury collaborative gin from Fortune Distillery and Noosa restaurant Sum Yung Guys, Campari, adds a house vermouth blend before finishing with a Port cask finished cardamon tincture. If multifaceted savours are your thing, and you want drinks that challenge your thinking as much as your tastebuds, then you’re in for a treat here.

The overall décor of the venue invites you to grab a drink, sit down, slow up, and chill out. There’s no sense of urgency here. Should you grab some food in the front shop, also feel free to bring it into the bar to have alongside one of their delectable drinks offerings — after all, this is how things are done in South East Asia!

With plans to bring DJs in on specific nights and hold themed evenings and events, Naami plans to be that sultry backstreet bar (and eats) you never knew you needed in your life.

Where: 4/57 James St, Burleigh Heads
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 5pm — 12am

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Naami Bar (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Naami Bar (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Bun Lee is the answer to all your Banh Mi prayers

Bun Lee's classic Banh Mi (image supplied)
Bun Lee's classic Banh Mi (image supplied)

The tale of the humble Banh Mi is a slightly complex affair. So to make things simple, whilst showing respect to Vietnamese culture, we will keep it brief.

Having colonised Vietnam in the 1880s, the French naturally brought a lot of their own culture with them. A major part of that was, and still is, bread (think baguette). Fast forward to the 1950s (when the French were unceremoniously booted out) and the locals began to experiment with mixing Asian flavours with the foods leftover from their colonial oppressors.

(drum roll) The Banh Mi was born — from this point forward the world of meat between bread would never look the same.

James Street in Burleigh Heads is no stranger to the fact there are enough delicious food options here for you to wave a stick at. But seeing as Bun Lee is slipping into this scene with fresh, genuine flavours of Vietnam and smiley faces aplenty, they could very well become your next favourite lunchtime go-to.

The shop space fully embraces the sunny demeanour of surrounding Burleigh Heads, with light pastel colours and bench seating inside where you’ll find yourself munching on a Banh Mi and sipping a cold-pressed juice with little worry.

Bun Lee's owner Lindsay Green (image supplied)
Bun Lee's owner Lindsay Green (image supplied)

Yes, that’s right, cold-pressed juices with names such as Ginger Ninja and Sunnyside Up are going to ensure you face the rest of your day nutrient-dense.

The jewel in the crown here is obviously the Banh Mi, traditionally pork is the accepted filling, but the guys here have pushed the boat out and offer chicken, beef, as well as tofu. Expect freshly baked baguettes delivered first thing married with crunchy salads, tasty sauces and succulent fillings. Consequently, delicious and healthy are therefore one and the same.

Did we mention Cold Brew nitro coffee on tap? If you haven’t visited Vietnam, you may struggle to believe they do love to make some astounding iced coffee over there.

Bun Lee has captured this magic with little stress, meaning even if you aren’t in the mood for food, you can drop in and try a new and tasty way of keeping your caffeine headaches at bay.

Quick and tasty as heck, Banh Mi being brought to Burleigh Heads is something we can all live with — and we have Bun Lee to thank for it.

LOCATION: 2/26 James Street, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: Open 7 days between 7am – 3pm

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Bun Lee's Rice Paper Rolls (image supplied)
Bun Lee's Rice Paper Rolls (image supplied)
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