Locking in a killer location in the Waterways Village shopping centre, owner Jess Winters tells me her and partner Peter jumped on the space because as locals themselves, they knew the area’s residents have been itching for a top spot to eat that doesn’t involve going all the way to the Gold Coast HWY. Judging by the Monday lunch crowd, I’d say she was right.
Jess and Peter turned the once Greek restaurant into a smoking new hotspot. Utilizing dark recycled timber, large custom windows, hand picked pendant lights and fresh flowers, the couple have created an intimate space any creature of comfort would be happy to cozy up in.
These cooler mornings beg for a warm inviting space and comfort food, which is exactly what you will find at Double Barrel Kitchen. The Winter Morning Salad will warm you up with winter veggies, warm free range poached eggs and chimichurri. While breakfast is served all day and includes some Aussie classics, the real game changer here is the Brekkie Bao. It’s an Asian inspired dish of quail eggs, thick cut free-range bacon and a soft steamy Chinese Bao bun. As tasty as it is innovative, it has raised the bar on the Gold Coast breakfast scene.
The Texas-style Chicken Gumbo served in a crusty cob loaf is a lunch highlight. The recipe was handed down by the chef’s grandmother and has even been published in its originating Texas town’s ‘community favorites’ cookbook! If you are feeling cheeky, grab a beer to wash this southern classic down!
Now, keep in mind, as you are elbows deep in gumbo, that you must save room for the desserts that are made fresh in-house daily. Mid-devour of a rich brownie, I was informed it was gluten free. FINALLY a gluten free dessert that actually tastes like the real thing!
The display fridge is packed with gluten free, raw and regular ole’ sweet treats which are sure to be a hit with the Miami State School mums bound to pack the joint for coffee & cake pre-kiddie pick up.
The locals are already crying for more, so come October get ready for the introduction of the Double Barrel dinner (yay!).
Open 7 days 6am – 3:30pm
Shop 4 Waterway Shopping Village, Cnr Karbunya Street & Sunshine Blvd, Mermaid Waters
By Marleigh Kelly
It’s the destination we all know and love. Relaxed, a little bit retro and constantly surprising us with new places to eat and play. It’s the much-loved suburb that flies under the radar when visitors come to town but to locals, it’s pure magic.
To show our love for this beachside beauty, here are ten things we locals love about Mermaid Beach.
The North Room
Recent receivers of a very prestigious hat, The North Room is an intimate restaurant serving up some absolutely stunning contemporary dishes that you’ll want to wrap your mouth around ASAP. Bookings are essential and they open for lunch Friday and Saturday and dinner Thursday to Saturday so you’ll want to get in quick. Huge fans of this place.
Where: 1/2527 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
There’s a lot to be said about infusing a space with tropical, feel-good vibes and Little Mermaid, on the highway, has done exactly that. Decked out with plenty of greenery, a laidback beachy feel, and tons of space for all your friends this is the place to be. The bar and restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which more often than not, is overflowing with folks having the time of their lives as the sun goes down. Little Mermaid has earned the love of locals for their tasty eats, creative cocktails, and generally cool aesthetic – so get there now.
Where: 2557 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
The Borrowed Nursery
Never before has a plant nursery gained such a cult-like following so quickly (or perhaps ever). The Borrowed Nursery draws plant lovers and photographers in droves due to its Instagram-worthy aesthetics and bespoke greenery. While you can certainly purchase the potted petals for your humble abode, you may also like to hire them for an event (which is quite the concept if you ask us). The stunning space also hosts workshops and yoga classes amongst the leafy greens but if that’s not your jam at least pop in for some healthy retail therapy and an Insta-snap.
Where: 42-44 Cronulla Ave, Mermaid Beach
Italian food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and particularly when it comes from Mermaid’s Lupo. Tucked away in the little complex that’s also home to Bonita Bonita, Lupo’s menu is one you’ll never forget. It’s a quiet, laidback space, low-lit & moody, and did we mention one of the very best spots for drinking incredible cocktails and filling your belly with goodness.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
This is one for the fellas… Zeppelin Barbers is the best on the Coast if the man in your life is looking for a fresh cut. Jase and the team are absolute weapons with the scissors and they deliver quality chat and a frosty beer while they’re at it. Good vibes always.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Mermaid Beach Surf Club
How good are surf clubs? Mermaid’s is right on the ocean with uninterrupted views, delicious meals that will fill you right up, and of course, a sweet selection of drinks to sip on. It’s an amazing spot to watch the sun go down with the crew and always provides a quality atmosphere with a buzz of people.
Where: 172 Hedges Ave, Mermaid Beach
It only opened recently but already Soak Bathhouse has become a firm favourite amongst those who are a little bit partial to some rest and relaxation in a beautiful environment (so everyone). It’s a stunning oasis featuring a magnesium pool, massage rooms, a sauna, spas, and a cold plunge pool. Plus you can get an LED facial and just generally kick your feet up and chill – tried and tested by us and we highly recommend it.
Where: 2532 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
The Glenelg Public House
Serving up premium steak and boutique wine (among other delicious things), The Glenelg Public House is an absolute must-visit in Mermaid Beach and just generally on the Gold Coast. If for some reason you’re not into steak, everything on the menu is top-notch and they have a selection of some of the best sides we’ve ever sampled. There are also small plate options and it’s all mind-blowing. We vouch for the gnocchi. Just. Trust. Us.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Mexican eats at their absolute finest can be found at Bonita Bonita. Taco Thursdays are a favourite amongst the locals and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options should that be your thing. Right next door is Bon Bon Bar so you should also head in there for bulk margaritas before sampling all of the epic eats on offer.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Mermaid Beach Bowls Club
Barefoot bowls is never not a fun time and so, there’s plenty of fun to be had at Mermaid Beach Bowls Club. Round up the crew on a Sunday afternoon for bulk beers and a little ball throwing (bowling) and then venture onto one of the many eateries (like those listed above) to round out the night.
Where: 2418 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Surely we have convinced you that Mermaid Beach is the place to be by now?
Words by Kirra Smith.
We’re pretty spoilt on the Gold Coast with an average of 245 warm and sunny days a year and a laughable 100 days of ‘winter’. However, as soon as those temperatures drop (which it has been recently, boo), you’ll be diving into your doona and pulling on your scarf and UGG boots quick smart.
To make sure you’re as warm as can be, we’ve found the top spots to get souped up this season.
Soup might not be the popular choice at your local Chinese restaurant but at SIFU, it’s a must-taste. In particular the Hot and Sour Seafood Soup with Mooloolaba prawns, squid, scallops, shiitake mushrooms and carrots is to die for and will certainly warm those chilly insides.
Where: Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, Cnr Gold Coast Hwy and First Ave, Surfers Paradise
It’s a well known fact that Irish people are quite fond of soups and stews filled with tons of meat and veggies to keep their energy up for those epic Guinness drinking sessions. As expected the team at D’arcy Arms serve up a mean traditional Irish Stew, served with crusty bread. It’s perfect for those chilly nights to be sure, to be sure.
Where: 2923 Gold Coast Hwy, Surfers Paradise (between Aubrey and Frederick Streets)
The Sandwich Bros
The best soup you’ll find on a budget, The Sandwich Bros are serving up the goods for a measly $8 a bowl with a side of crusty bread. Could there be anything better? They change their flavours up daily and have featured the likes of pumpkin and potato and bacon of late. Run don’t walk.
Where: 38 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise (the Gold Coast Highway end)
While bone broth might not be something you’d usually go for, it’s actually pretty damn good (particularly at Brio Emporium) plus its super healthy and the best immune booster you’ll find this winter. Grab a cup for on the go or stock up your pantry and by a saver pack for the whole family.
Where: 5/2623 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach (opposite Pacific Fair)
Double Barrel Kitchen
For an intriguing twist on the humble soup head to Double Barrel Kitchen. Their version is a Gumbo Cob from the Chefs’ family recipe book. It’s Creole Chicken Broth with Cajun spices, chicken okra, chopped chorizo, veggies and rice served INSIDE a crusty cob loaf. What more could you want this winter?
Where: 64 Karbunya St, Mermaid Waters
The Fish House
If you’re keen to splurge on a spectacular soup, The Fish House is the place to go. A crowd favourite is their super tasty Lemony Fish Soup with John Dory, dill and extra virgin olive oil. Get a group together and go for the banquet because who could ever stop at soup!
Where: 50 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
By Kirra Smith
Two of the most passionate people in the local hospo industry, Mitch and Nerissa are the brains behind two of your favourites – Commune, in Burleigh, and Etsu, in Mermaid Beach. The pair, who might just be the busiest (and happiest) couple on the Coast, are now on the verge of opening a third venue.
We sat down with Mitch and Nerissa to chat about the new yakitori restaurant and building a late night bar-hopping scene in Burleigh.
How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
Mitch: We were both born here. Next week it’ll be 39 years for me. Nerissa’s moved away a couple of times. We met in the hospitality industry out at Varsity Lakes then Nerissa moved away to the snow and I started managing Bumbles in Budds Beach. When she got back, we got in contact again and started working together.
What do you love about the Coast?
Nerissa: I’ve tried to move away a couple of times but it’s just nice, easy, healthy living here. I love being able to walk around with no shoes on. I quite often walk from our house along the beach and to Commune and you can’t do that in Melbourne and Sydney or most other places. It’s just nice, it’s our home and we know everyone, people from school. The people here are happy and you really get to see that, especially in the café, we love building relationships. In the city, it’s so different.
How do you come up with such different concepts for each venue?
We build restaurants we love and that we know our community will love. Because we were born here, we want to give back to our mates around the Coast. You just have to wait for that perfect storm – the right idea, the right time and finding the right venue. We weren’t looking to open a place but we were sick of our jobs and thought this location (Commune) would be perfect and we were just ready to do it. Then with Etsu, which has been open a few years, we knew we wanted to open a Japanese restaurant and that it would be all inside. I (Nerissa) love long, dark places and Mermaid was the perfect location for us. We have never forced anything, it just always works out.
Tell us about the new place you’re opening in Burleigh?
When we got back from Japan this year, all we ate was yakitori and everyone else seemed to be talking about it too. Yakitori means grilled chicken – the restaurants in Japan mostly just make dishes from all parts of the chicken – thighs, hearts, skin, liver, neck, inner thigh, everything and they all taste really different. It’s really sustainable using the whole chicken too. We’ll make a chicken liver pate and a chicken soup too. We’ll also definitely cater for the vegos and have some really amazing Wagyu for the boys too. There’ll be a couple of raw dishes, but it’s a really different menu to Etsu. We’re looking at opening early to mid October.
Have you got the fitout sorted?
It’ll be a bit similar to Etsu where you walk in and there’s a dining bar but we’ll have a kitchen dining bar. Everyone will sit around it and the chefs will be cooking right in front of you – we’re just going to focus on that as our main feature. We’re right next to Lockwood Bar so we’ve put a hole in the wall for back door access so we’re hoping to make a cool little late night bar hopping trade. We’ll also dedicate a little area to a small Japanese whiskey type bar, people can access that from another entrance or just sit down there if they’re waiting for a table. Dining-wise, people will sit on the floor with their legs crossed, which is how it’s done in Japan.
What are your thoughts on the Coast’s growing dining scene?
We go to Melbourne and Sydney just to check out restaurants but now the Gold Coast has so many new places opening we don’t need to. Even just in Burleigh there’s so many, tacocat just opened and all these new places are popping up everywhere. It means we can just ride our bikes to dinner, it’s so good. It’s the perfect time for us to be able to do what we want to do too with all these things opening, it gives us the freedom to get a bit more experimental. It means everyone’s more appreciative of our industry, which is really good. It works here now, where it wouldn’t have a few years ago.
It benefits us in so many ways too. It’s more attractive for people to come and live and work here. Finding good, professional staff and lots of them can be challenging, so having that pool of staff wanting to live here, especially chefs, is great. Even in terms of produce and suppliers, the bigger the industry grows, the more everyone has available. We can get our hands on more and better products. It keeps us on our toes too, if someone new opens, we have to get better. We’re constantly reevaluating what we’re doing. If you’re not growing, you’re going backwards.
What are the biggest challenges for you in the industry?
We find the hardest thing is staff – finding the right people for what we want to do and having them be as passionate as we are. We always find staff who want to open their own places, which works out really well for us because they’re super passionate and we encourage that. Our Head Chef at Etsu came from us advertising in Melbourne.
What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Mitch: We work hard and lead by example and that makes it all rewarding.
Nerissa: You should go to work and be excited, if you don’t love it, don’t do it. We love what we do and it doesn’t really seem like work, it’s just our lifestyle now.
Being Gold Coast locals, we have to ask your favourites…
Beach: Burleigh. Before we lived here we lived in Mermaid and loved it there too
Café: There’s a few, we love No Name Lane and we go to Alfred’s, down to All Time. There’s quite a few around now, Double Barrel Kitchen is cool. Elk is really good.
Restaurant: We love Rick Shores, sitting out in the sun is so good. The Lamb Shop, Glenelg Public House and Lupo just opened which is great.
Weekend hang: We ride our bikes around, Sunday arvos on the hill are always good.