Little pockets of locality do exist along our coastline. Little suburbs that instantly feel like a community. Chevron Island Village is a testament to this with its tree-lined streets and relaxed atmosphere. The perfect place for a true and authentic European-inspired restaurant to call home, right?
Sure to fit that bill is the new Italian restaurant Bottega. The quaint venue has taken over space where once New York-styled restaurant, Tribeca NYC was knocking up tasty American-styled eats, but alas, no longer. It’s not all bad news though, as Bottega, having just recently opened, is a legitimate contender as your new favourite taste of Italy, this side of Rome.
Inside, you’ll feel an old school sense of the Mediterranean from the word go, with black and white pictures of years gone by and Italian-styled antiquities galore. Whatever the occasion, you’re catered for here. There are lowdown tables for larger groups, intimate settings for couples on date night, and high tables for a casual affair of pasta slurping and guzzling of vino.
Chef and owner Enzo Lotorzo is no doubt excited and proud to bring this genuine and taste-filled menu to Chevron Island. And by the looks of it, so he should!
It does however, come on the back of his beloved father Sam recently passing, so to do his memory proud, Enzo hopes to deliver outstanding food in every dish served. Saluti!
The menu hinges on real Italy’s flavours – you won’t find any Americanised dishes and certainly no stuffed crust pizzas! Every menu item is stripped back to the bare minimum and made entirely in-house with quality ingredients and no cutting corners. Just the way nonna swears by! Be sure to bring the hungriest version of yourself when you decide to dine here, as like any good Italian restaurant, they have delicious Assaggini (entrees) and Primi (starters) for you to savour before even getting onto the mains.
Homemade Arancini balls with lighly crumbed silverbeet, spinach and parmesan (unlike any you’ve had before) alongside a selection of imported air-dried Salumi (all selected by Enzo himself) — which you won’t find at any supermarket deli — will no doubt start things off nicely.
Pasta is pasta, no? Wrong! For those of us who know the difference, be sure to try at least one of the dishes here as a starter — with all of the tastebud tingling flavours and hard-to-pronounce names! You’ll certainly be tempted by the Ravioli di carne – a specialty from Bologna, house made ravioli stuffed with veal, mortadella, sage and parmigiano, served with mushrooms and roasting juices… drool!
If Risotto is more your jam, the dedicated Risotteria section has you sorted. We are certainly in favour of Cicale di mare e ruchetta selvatica featuring (meat of the moment) Moreton Bay Bug meat with wild rocket, parmigiano and a touch of chilli.
We know it’s cliché, but as far as Mains go, we can never go past the 80’s Classic – Milk fed veal scallopini, oven baked with smoked ham, mushroom deuxelle and fontina cheese.
And don’t look past any of the pizzas here also, the wood-fired stone oven (made in Italy no less) is pride of place at the entrance to the venue, and the wafting smells are tantalising, to say the least.
There is always a dessert person not so far away, and for you, you’ll be pleased to learn Bottega has undoubtedly not skipped the Dolce section off the menu. All of the classics are here (Tiramisu anyone?) and some lesser-known regional dishes (like Cannoli, but filled the Sicilian way, with sweetened fresh ricotta, glazed fruit and amarena cherries), which will catch your eye. Even if you say you’re full, make sure your waiter brings you a spoon — just in case!
The drinks selection sees Australian wines sit happily beside Italian styles giving you the option to drink closer to home or push the boat out and fully embrace the European experience. Let’s not forget a smattering of Italian cocktails with the addition of everyone’s favourite: Aperol Spritz. It would be rude not to!
Where: 58 Thomas Drive, Surfers Paradise
Hours: Weds-Sun: 5pm – 9pm (last orders)
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
As we Gold Coasters know, there are certain things that make an eatery one you want to go back to time and time again.
First, a cocktail list packed with fresh, mouth-watering sips, an interior you want to model your house off, the tastiest of pizza and as much cheese as you can eat.
It’s a delicate balance of goodness and one that’s been absolutely nailed by Burleigh Heads’ newest venue, La Bella Cellar.
If you’ve wandered down Deodar Drive lately you will have noticed the white-washed bricks, terracotta tiles and lone cactus both intriguing and perfectly at home in our beloved beachside suburb.
Inside though, is where the magic really unfolds.
You’ll step through the entrance and directly into a wine cellar, one side of which is a door that opens into the space.
It’s the most best thing we’ve seen in a venue’s interior for quite some time because honestly, who doesn’t want to be in an enclosed space surrounded by wine?
Step through the wine-laden door and you’ll find a sleek, all white space dotted with cactuses, greenery and ceramics by local gal Kelly Bignell.
There are high, concrete tables and low, tiled ones and it’s all brought together by a piece of art in the back corner. We’ll let you discover that for yourself.
La Bella Cellar is the work of local lads and longtime pals Adam Farrugia and Josh Bailey, whose company Studio Build brought the space together and we’re big fans. As you will be.
To eat, there’s an Italian-inspired menu packed with fresh, delicious pizzas, share plates and the very best part, cheeseboards for which you may choose upwards from three locally sourced cheeses including the likes of Salt Bush Chevre, Bleu d’auvergne and Gorgonzola Dolce.
May as well add them all though obviously.
To drink, a selection of wines from said front entrance cellar including varietals from Italy, Australia, France and Argentina. There are plenty of unique sips, an orange wine option and some Pet Nats of course.
The cocktail list is a must-sample with Head Barman Aaron Howard shaking up some flavours you absolutely haven’t seen before. There’s an Espresso Martini with vanilla Galliano foam and a house favourite, The Vatican with gin, chartreuse, honey rosemary syrup, fresh lemon and smoked rosemary.
The Pope himself would approve of that one. Maybe. Who cares.
There are plenty of Italian flavours on offer within the cocktail menu, think almond, white peach and of course rosemary to name a few.
Is there anything better than all things Italian? We think not.
La Bella Cellar opens on Saturday 12th December, perfect timing for those Christmas drinks we know you haven’t booked yet.
Happy days Gold Coasters, you’re gonna love this one.
LOCATION: 9/3 Deodar Drive, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 5pm until 12am Thursday to Sunday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Japanese food is absolutely heaven sent.
Made up of a myriad of mouthwatering flavours, intricate cooking techniques and perfect presentation, each dish seems more like art than eats but luckily for us, it is both.
Especially in the case of Chevron Island’s new Japanese eatery, Mr Kojima by a man whose dishes you’ve no doubt sampled before now.
That man is Jon Kojima and his culinary expertise has spanned over 30 years.
So yes, he knows what’s up when it comes to preparing a tasty dish.
Now Mr Kojima can be found right in the thick of it on Thomas Drive on Chevron Island with plenty of parking spots and it’s just lovely in general.
The space is long and narrow with wooden slats lining one wall, Japanese-style art at the front and a pretty textured wall behind the bar.
Which is stocked with plenty of sakes and Japanese whisky of course.
The food though is the star of the show and you can dine at both lunch and dinner time with a different menu for each.
At lunch time there’s an array of Bento Boxes to choose from including chicken, beef, seafood and vegetarian varieties plus side dishes like Crispy Prawns, Wagyu Gyoza and Kingfish Carpaccio to name a few.
At dinner time there’s an extensive menu packed with everything from a Raw Bar with everything from Oysters to Beef Tataki, Taco Tartare and Salmon Usuzukuri.
You may then move onto sushi and small dishes like JFC Karaage, Crispy Prawns, Peppered Squid, Yakitori and Scallop and Crab.
Mr Kojima’s main dishes are where the magic happens and you’ll absolutely want to sample eats like Beef Cheek Katsu, Barramundi, Black Cod Miso Yaki and Rib Eye Fillet – along with pretty much everything else.
To drink, the aforementioned sake and Japanese whisky plus cocktails of course.
We’re quite fond of the Pink Geisha with vodka, shochu, strawberry and watermelon and the Imperial Garden with sake, vodka, lime, yuzu, mint and cucumber.
Mr Kojima is the kind of place you’ll want to keep going back to and indeed, it seems the local clientele have returned time and time and time again.
Laidback, friendly and with incredible dishes, what more could you want?
Head in to taste is all for yourself.
LOCATION: 1/62 Thomas Drive, Chevron Island
HOURS: Tuesday to Sunday 11am until 9pm
Words and photos by Kirra Smith