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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
When you think about it – what is there not to love about Thai food? It’s fairly healthy, extremely delicious, group friendly and not to mention, the perfect accompaniment for that hard-earned night of Netflix on the couch.
We all know finding ourselves on a deserted beach in Thailand is not going to happen anytime soon. And yes, we’re fairly upset about that too. So why not experience the next best thing?
As Autumn has arrived this week, we suggest you get yourself cosy at home or venture out and treat yourself to some of the tastiest Thai flavours from one of these epic Gold Coast Thai restaurants.
Chong Co Thai
It’s hard to believe you’re inside a shopping centre when dining at Pacific Fair’s upstairs food court (you could even bring your Tinder date here). It’s the epitome of a sweet little Thai restaurant you just have to visit. They offer all the classics which will surely fill you up whether it’s for your monthly bestie-catch up or for a quick meal before catching a movie at the cinema.
Where: Pacific Fair, Broadbeach
House of Siam
You know the saying – location, location, location! House of Siam in Hope Island is right on the marina and overlooks the pier and million-dollar yachts, offering a great atmosphere accompanied by oh-so-delicious food. You might want to reconsider getting takeaway from here since the ambience of the restaurant is half the experience!
Where: Marina Shopping Village, 5 Santa Barbara Road, Hope Island
Mamasan Kitchen & Bar
While not a Thai restaurant per se, Mamasan’s incredibly indulgent menu includes some Thai specialities you need to try ASAP. For example, the Oysters with Thai green chilli, nam jim and finger lime followed by the Thai Chilli Jam Prawns with kaffir lime, dehydrated pineapple and cucumber ribbons. Be sure to finish things off with the Ginger and Lemongrass Cheesecake with kaffir lime, mango and Asian crisps. You’ll surely ‘thai and go to heaven’ (sorry).
Where: 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
Little Malaya Tweed Heads
Don’t let the name deceive you. In addition to the traditional Malaysian cuisine, you will find an array of Asian signature dishes including Thai! We’re big fans of the Tom Yum soups and Pad Thai, but while you’re there, give the Coffee Pork Ribs a try, two of our great loves combined.
Where: 32 Bay Street, Tweed Heads
Tucked away along Nobby’s cute little food strip is Basil Thai, a cosy, no fuss Thai restaurant bringing you everything you’d expect from your local! The portions are huge, so it’s a great place to take your friends and share a couple of dishes. They’re also BYO and have takeaway options – what more could you ask for?
Where: 2243 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
This is the contemporary styled Thai restaurant you just have to visit in Coomera. With gorgeous aesthetics and jaw-dropping food, the flavours and authenticity here are truly a one-off. Offering set menus for couples and families means you can relax and know Nahm Thai is going to deliver nothing short of a taste sensation. The soft-shell crab Papaya salad is likely to blow your mind.
Where: Shop R001 Westfield Coomera, 109 Foxwell Road, Coomera
It’s annoying, but it’s always a good sign when you can’t score yourself a table at a restaurant on a quiet weekday night. So, be sure to book ahead when you decide to pop in at Zabisan on the Gold Coast Highway in Burleigh. They bring you the best dishes North Thailand has to offer, but be warned, they can be a little bit spicy! We highly recommend the Pineapple Chicken Curry, eat in or take away!
Where: 1742 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
It’s safe to say the cat’s out of the bag when it comes to this Palm Beach favourite. Cherished by locals, Oz Thai serves up simple but delicious Thai food at very reasonable prices. All your favourite dishes are on offer but keep your eyes open as there are often unique specials you won’t want to miss.
Where: 1/1389 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Sunshine Thai Restaurant
Sunshine Thai Restaurant in Coolangatta has been serving up stellar Thai food for over 16 years. Their philosophy is to create authentic flavours using only the freshest Australian sourced produce — and we love everything about it! Offering all your favourite Thai food classics and then some.
Where: 152 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Found in a prime position on the Gold Coast Highway in Broadbeach, Chiangmai Thai is a much-loved spot amongst the locals. The chefs here really know how to create the perfect balance between sweet, sour and spicy – so expect only the best. And if you’re feeling spoilt for choice and can’t decide what to get, try the Massaman Beef Curry (trust us on this one).
Where: 2779 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach and second restaurant located at 5-19 Palm Avenue, Surfers Paradise
CocoHut Taste of Thailand
Serving up rich, full flavours, CocoHut’s menu features mouth-watering starters and main dishes that’ll tickle those Thai-loving tastebuds. A must-try is the Coco Tomyum Soup and Noodle, made from fresh ingredients including lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice and fresh chilli that all combine to create a healthy and soothing broth that is so very tasty. Who said healthy and tasty was an impossible feat?
Where: 3114 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Thai I Am
Situated at Miami One Shopping Centre, this is a team favourite for us here at Inside Gold Coast. Mostly a takeaway spot (they do have a couple of tables to eat in), these guys serve up authentic Thai dishes with beaming smiles — after all, they do say Thailand is the land of a thousand smiles! Stuck for lunch? There’s a daily lunch-special menu available from 12pm – 3pm too.
Where: Miami One Shopping Centre, Miami
Words by Alex Mitcheson