If there’s one country embedded in popular culture with its fine food and drinks, it would have to be France. This proud European stronghold of sophistication has given us divine baked goods — such as the croissant — incredible styles of cheese, slurp-worthy wines, and a whole lot more we probably don’t even realise. No trip is complete to Europe without stopping by in this heartland of pastries and showing off your repertoire of the French language — before then quickly realising no one understands a word you’re saying.
As Bastille Day — France’s national day — is just around the corner, what better time than to take a closer look at the places where authentic French flavours can be found on our golden Coast? Prepare yourself for taste sensations you can’t ignore. Bon appétit!
One of Mermaid Beach’s — and the Gold Coast for that matter— longest-running restaurants, Little Truffle (headed by restauranteur Daniel Ridgeway) expertly sifts through the white noise of French cliches and delivers an all-around dining experience you’ll struggle to find anywhere else. Take your pick of Pan Seared Scallops, Confit Duck Leg, and Strawberry Souffle, or in fact, why not do all three? This Bastille Day, the venue is offering a celebratory evening service, offering four and six-course French-inspired degustations with wine matching available, don’t miss out.
Where: 2444 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
This cute little venue is now on the cusp of their very first birthday (can you believe it?!), and if you still haven’t heard of this place, we are in absolute disarray because we think this Burleigh Heads hotspot was likely THE opening of 2020 — and what a year to pull it off. Everything about Tarte oozes French parlour cafe elegance with a twist of downtown New York; from the pavement side seating to all the out-of-this-world baked goods, and a breakfast menu that reads like a dream.
Where: Shop 2 & 3, 2 West Street, Burleigh Heads
Miss Claudes Crepes
Ah, the humble crepe, where would we be without you? There is a shocking belief in some circles that crepes are just thinner pancakes; well, should you want any clarification on this, we suggest you spend some time at Miss Claude’s Crepes in Coomera. This Parisian-style venue has them all, from savoury cheese-filled delights to the oh-so-delicious, sweet sensations filled and coated with all manner of sticky calorific goods. Plus, take comfort in knowing that the actual base crepe recipe served here is an ancient inherited family recipe that has come directly from France. — You can’t go wrong!
Where: Westfield Coomera, Level 2/103-109 Foxwell Road, Coomera
Bisque Elegant Casual Dining
Relatively new to the Gold Coast dining scene, Bisque has already garnered a reputation for classic French cooking with subtle modernity underpinned by excellent local produce. And where the menu truly shines is the attention given to only the freshest and readily available seafood. If it’s been caught that day, it goes on the menu. Don’t be surprised to try a Blue Swimmer Crab Bisque with handmade grissini before you then taste from the land an Eye Fillet Mignon draped in Bangalow bacon with potato and mushroom gratin. Do yourself a favour and ensure you leave room for dessert though; you’ll cry if you miss out on Liqueur cream-filled profiteroles with lashings of hot chocolate sauce.
Where: Shop 3/1 Sunshine Boulevard, Broadbeach
Aux Fines Bouches
What Chef Pâtissier Richard Le Deunff can do with butter, eggs and sugar defies belief. Having run Adelaide’s most successful French-style bakery for several years, he and his wife thought it was fitting they relocate to the Gold Coast and allow us to enjoy the spoils of all his hard work. And for this, we are thankful! It shouldn’t take you long to drop by, peruse the magnificent desserts on offer and grab yourself a box of assorted tarts and cream-filled delights. If you ask us, they will be the perfect indulgences should you be having friends over. But should you have an event or gathering on the horizon, then pre-order speciality cakes and stacked high Croque-en-bouche: guaranteed to impress any guest!
Where: 2/43 Taree Street, Burleigh Heads
L’Appoline French Food Delights
Tucked away in Tweed is this cute pocket-sized tribute to French cooking, so if you’re south of the border, you simply have to try out. Stop by to have lunch with a difference, as you tuck into hearty European fare such as their delish gourmet Pork Friands — but be warned, you may never look at a sausage roll the same way again. There’s also a plethora of sweet and savoury dishes cooked to perfection and available for you to take home, such as whole quiches and family-sized desserts, which you can obviously try to claim all to yourself.
Where: 100 Ducat Street, Tweed Heads
Le Bon Choix
If you find yourself in shopping mode at Pacific Fair; why not give yourself a break with some scrumptious French-style patisseries — and let your credit card cool down— with a stop in at Le Bon Choix. The array of fresh crunchy baguettes and colourful French macaroons is the perfect way to indulge in euro savours whilst ensuring your caffeine levels are at a suitable level. And when it’s time to carry on your retail odyssey, be sure to grab an eclair, chocolate tart, lemon meringue, danish or pain au choclat — for later, naturally.
Where: Level 1, Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach
My French Pastries
You only live once, so eat the cake is the ethos behind this family-run bakery in Robina, and we couldn’t agree more if we tried. Using only the finest ingredients, Head Pastry Chef Antonio leads a bakery that hinges everything they make on being the most authentic taste of France within Australia. The selection of freshly baked treats and slices are staggering — from French Apple Turnovers to Key Lime Chantilly, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry and Chocolate tarts. If you have never visited France in your lifetime, just be sure you head to My French Pastries.
Where: Shop 5, 4226/361 Robina Parkway, Robina
Le Café Gourmand
This Mermaid Beach café has been around for a while now and, well, there is good reason for that. Slide-in one morning for expertly poured coffee with a croissant straight from the oven (that sell-out early!) and stay around for lunch items such as their iconic Croque Monsieur — and of course, go on and treat yourself to a glass of French wine or a premium French lager! This cafe also holds regular set dinners to showcase French classics such as, beef bourguignon and venaison loin. We know the expat Frenchies living on the GC frequent this venue, so it’s definitely the goods.
Where: 2545 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
Well the last few days of healthy eating were fab(ish) but we’re done with that and you will be too once you see what rolled into Robina on Christmas Eve.
It’s called My French Pastries and it’s the perfect way to kick off our 2020 food tour of the Gold Coast because as everybody knows, pastries are life and French pastries are even better than that.
The newbie isn’t technically all that new – husband and wife duo Jen and Antonio Marchesi have been baking authentic treats from home for the last few years, selling via an online page and wholesaling to local cafes.
Lucky for us, they decided to open their very own café at Robina Quays so we can pop in every single day for a sweet, indulgent treat (or two).
Antonio has been a pastry chef for 17 years and Jen is French, which is obviously the perfect combination. The pair decided they wanted to create a place that felt exactly the same as walking into a French patisserie with authentic, simple and quality eats and here we all are.
Everything is made from scratch using the very best produce (Belgian chocolate for example) and it’s extremely delicious.
So what can you eat?
Well sweet goodies like Key Lime Chantilly, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry and Chocolate tarts, which are both beautiful and very yummy.
There’s also Flan Patissier, which is the French equivalent of a custard tart, French Apple Turnovers, croissants (SO GOOD) and Croque Monsieur; a baked ham and cheese sandwich that will probably change your life.
So all the greatest buttery, sugary things.
Pop in for a coffee and a sit down or grab one of everything to take home and enjoy in peace.
Happy days Robina, we’ll be seeing you very soon.
LOCATION: Robina Quays Shopping Centre, 5/361 Robina Parkway, Robina
HOURS: Tuesday 6.30am until 2.30pm, Wednesday to Friday 6.30am until 3pm and Saturday 7am until 2pm
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
So it seems the best news of 2020 comes out of our very own Burleigh Heads and you guessed it, involves the very best of baked treats and a few familiar faces.
We’re talking about the opening of Tarte Bakery & Cafe, which is happening Wednesday August 19th and if there is one thing you absolutely must do this year, it’s head in there and eat absolutely everything.
Tarte is the stunning new baby of Gold Coast hospitality royalty Chloe Watts, former owner of Paddock Bakery and an absolute magician when it comes to creating a world-class venue. It can be found on a sunny corner block in the heart of Burleigh, where Vecchia Roma once lived and look, you won’t miss it, there’ll be hordes of people (socially distanced obviously) wanting to get in for the rest of time.
The space has been entirely redone with the front façade being pulled out and put back in again to create a Soho, West Village (NYC) vibe that’s perfectly at home amongst the surrounding greenery. It’s all cool whites and calming blues with a huge open window overlooking the street, perfect for that Parisian-inspired people watching we all love while sipping coffee and downing baked goodies.
As you’d expect from Chloe, the space is beautifully put together – an antique bench was brought in from a rural NSW movie theatre (circa 1940’s), the door handles are over 100 years old, a luggage rack from an old train holds the bread behind the counter and Chloe’s Dad built a bench seat at the back.
Our favourite detail are the little gold cups Chloe bought from a London flea market years ago when she first decided she wanted to open a café and has been saving for this very moment ever since. Oh and the fact that she (and her builder) hand-chiselled 5,000 tiny black tiles into the floor. A labour of love indeed.
We could go on but let’s chat eats shall we?
First things first, the sweet baked treats will absolutely blow your mind. Every single one of them.
A Gold Coast first is the Cookie Cup which is indeed a cup made out of cookie mixture and served with warm vanilla bean milk (cold in summer). Yep, that’s a (very amazing) thing.
There are also Chocolate Praline Tartes, Cannoli with whipped ricotta and choc chips, a Rhubarb Custard Tarte, the list goes on. Many of the items are vegan and some are gluten-free but all are absolutely mind-blowing. We’ll let you discover the rest for yourself.
In terms of cooked dishes, there are some life changers and you’re going to want to sample them all. Starting with the Turkish Eggs with whipped Greek yoghurt, two poached eggs and Turkish spiced butter and served with white sourdough. Chloe has wanted to put that one on her menu for a while now and we are so very happy she did. There’s also Miso Scramble, a packed Breakfast Burrito and BAGELS in many epic flavours.
You should also sample the Roasted Grape Tartine, the Toastie (best in the world) and Cauliflower Burger because they are all some of the tastiest things we’ve ever eaten, hands down.
Every dish on the menu is thoughtfully created and balanced with intricate flavours and look just really yummy honestly. Best get down there and try them all for yourself hey.
Tarte Bakery & Cafe is sweet and sophisticated, warm and welcoming and the absolute perfect addition to Burleigh’s dining scene.
Things are looking up Gold Coasters, how good.
LOCATION: 2 West Street, Burleigh Heads
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Winter has arrived on the Gold Coast and it’s about this time that we would be skipping overseas to a Eurpoean summer.
Soaking up the sun along the Italian coast, drinking sangria in Barcelona or eating all of the delicate pastries and fresh baguettes in France (in amongst copious amounts of French wine).
But alas, this year it’s just not meant to be. Instead, we are rediscovering the gems that exist right here on the Gold Coast, yay support local.
While people watching and walking down the Champs-Élysées window shopping in Paris is sorely missed, we have a little indoor shopping haven of our very own with many of the beautiful French fashion houses in Broadbeach instead. And now with the cute addition of a brand new French boulangerie and patisserie, you can have a complete French immersion with all the fun minus the long-haul flight (not missing the plane food either).
Le Bon Choix recently opened at Pacific Fair and is the first store on the Gold Coast!
The popular cafe with seven locations already in Brisbane decided to make the move to our shopping mecca and provide their delectable creations much to the delight of hungry shoppers.
The imposing sleek black and gold exterior is a corner stand out providing comfortable red velvet chairs and cushioned bench seating for an intimate coffee and cake catch-up or mid shopping break.
While the fitout invokes all the feels you’d expect of a French art deco cafe, the real showstopper here is the glass cabinet full of perfectly arranged colourful French-renaissance-style sweets and savouries (I believe the glass is there just to control your hands from grabbing one of everything).
Your initial thought will be that all of the mouth-watering, hand-crafted masterpieces are simply to beautiful to eat, but scrap that, these little beauties are as tasty as they are pretty.
Le Bon Choix translates to ‘The Good Choice’, and there really isn’t a bad one you can make here…
From the savoury items (you know, just to start with) we recommend you reward your tastebuds with one of the delightfully fresh baguettes. The ham & salad baguette will pleasantly remind you of what a baguette should actually taste like!
If you want something a little cheekier and warming for the soul, make sure you grab the Croque Monsieur, because cheeeeessssse!
But if you are more of a sweet tooth, welcome to heaven.
You’ll be easily tempted by the array of little colourful pastries awaiting you to devour, obviously the toughest part is deciding where to start. Whether you choose an eclair, chocolate tart, lemon meringue, danish, pain au choclat or one of the other delightful delicacies, it’s not just all about looks, because the real joy is in the right amount of sweet, creamy goodness in every bite.
We highly recommend not going while on a diet.
Of course, everyones favourite colourful side coffee dish, the macron is readily available in Lemon Meringue Pie, Pistaschio, Cookies & Cream, Chocolate and more. There’s always space for a pillowy macron right? And if there isn’t, great news, you can get takeaway!
Their breads, think baguettes, cob loaves and sourdough are also available to take home, which is fantastic, because despite my iso-efforts, I am yet to master the bread making, leave it to the professionals.
So add a dash of Parisian flair and charm on your next shopping stroll. Bon appétit!
LOCATION: Level 1 next to David Jones, Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Broadbeach
HOURS: Daily 8am to 5pm, Thursdays 8am to 8pm
Words by Carly Snodgrass