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22 hatted Gold Coast restaurants in 2022

Dining at Uncle Su (image supplied)
Dining at Uncle Su (image supplied)

Look we’re all partial to a good hat but if you’re a chef, a hat is all that and a bag of chips. Each year, the Australian Good Food Guide awards hats to the creme de la creme in the restaurant world. Although many of our neighbouring states and cities may have once turned their noses up at the GC dining landscape, sir, times are a’changin! This year, a whopping 22 of our fave local eats destinations scored at least one hat, and we are proud as punch!

In a twist everyone saw coming, Broadbeach cleaned up with nine venues receiving hats, including Social Eating House and Bar, which once again notched up not one but two hats. It was also named ‘Readers’ Choice 2022 – Modern Australian’ restaurant, plus earned a special mention for its award-winning share plates. Side note, we are super excited to welcome these guys back after their reno. But in the meantime, we will head to their Italian sister up the road Orzo… who also brought home a hat, proving that Owner and Executive Chef Matthew Jefferson doesn’t do anything by halves.

Balboa Italian (image supplied)
Balboa Italian (image supplied)

Of course a couple of The Star Gold Coast’s restaurants collected gongs, including Japanese sensation Kiyomi (2 hats), Modern Australian go-to for a fancy night out Nineteen at the Star (1 hat) and Cantonese newcomer Uncle Su (1 hat). Miss Moneypenny’s marvelous Mediterranean menu (say that a few times) earned itself a hat, as did The Oracle’s melting pot of Asian goodness Mamasan Kitchen and Bar. Rounding up Broady’s winners are grinners list with one hat is longstanding steak restaurant, Moo Moo The Wine Bar and Grill.

Moving slightly south now to Mermaid Beach and once again, esteemed Japanese restaurant Etsu Izakaya earned a hat, as did boutique dining superstar The North Room. Nobby Beach also served up a winner in the form of Ally Chow in all her amazing Asian glory.

Robina’s Eddy + Wolff represented with a well-earned hat, along with being announced the ‘Reader’s Choice 2022 – Asian’ award recipient. It just goes to show that the ‘burbs can cook up a winner too, not just the Insta-set-favoured pockets.

Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Now let’s talk Burleigh and again, there’s a few to unpack here. Rick Shores scored a hat for its delectable Asian cuisine, along with Vietnamese pin-up boy Jimmy Wah’s and Japanese palette-pleaser Iku Yakitori Bar. Burleigh’s Modern Australian dining gurus also brought home some bacon, with The Tropic and Restaurant Labart receiving a hat respectively.

Palm Beach’s ever-popular Balboa Italian was shown some love with one hat, and took out the coveted award for ‘Reader’s Choice 2022 – Italian’.

Now let’s journey back to the central neck of the woods, starting with Surfers Paradise’s new Modern Australian superstar Palette, proudly taking out two hats. The QT’s Japanese phenomenon Yamagen scored one hat, as did the neighbouring Main Beach favourite Glass Dining and Lounge Bar. Gods of the Sea, who recently relocated to the waterfront property, took home their first hat for their seafood menu that is shrimply that good!

Anyone who still says we’re lacking in the quality eats department here on the Goldie, now is the time to concede defeat because this list of local victories confirms what we already knew – our foodie scene has officially become a force to be reckoned with and there’s plenty more to come…

Words by Bianca Trathen.

Restaurant Labart by Andy Macpherson Studio (image supplied)
Restaurant Labart by Andy Macpherson Studio (image supplied)

Dim Sum-body reveal a new Cantonese restaurant in Broadbeach?

The Star Gold Coast - Uncle Su (image supplied)
The Star Gold Coast - Uncle Su (image supplied)

Chinese gastronomy has long been a favourite of ours here in the lucky country ‑ in fact, it’s a firm favourite the world over! So, when a world-class Cantonese restaurant decides to open its doors in our fair city, you know it’s time to get excited. And likely reach for your stretchy pants, also.

Say hello to an exalted and elevated Chinese dining experience unlike any other on the Gold Coast – Uncle Su.

Pulsating, fun, and incorporating the spirit of family, Uncle Su offers diners an impressive execution of classic Cantonese cuisine, created with high quality local Australian ingredients and a coastal leaning.

Uncle Su is located where the previous Imperial at The Star Gold Coast once lived. The name is inspired by the respected term of Uncle in Chinese tradition; a name that represents the genuine Chinese family dining experience patrons will enjoy with an assortment of tempting signature dishes affectionately prepared by a brigade of talented chefs.

The Star Gold Coast - Uncle Su (image supplied)
The Star Gold Coast - Uncle Su (image supplied)

Leading this team is Executive Chef Song Yao Su who has over 35 years working in the world’s finest restaurants. With an impressive resume, Song learnt skilful techniques from one of Hong Kong’s most revered and decorated chefs, Pui Wing Hui, cooking alongside the master for over a decade, including an impressive tenure at Las Vegas’ invitation-only residences, The Mansions.

Song says, “I’m thrilled to open the doors to Uncle Su and extend my dining table to friends, new and old. I feel so fortunate to cook in this beautiful part of the world, with access to some of the best seafood and produce the country has to offer.”

At Uncle Su, the menu hinges on cultural heritage and family memories to curate a trove of taste bud-tingling Cantonese dishes, deftly infused with a signature Nouvelle style and new world flavours.

Executive Chef Song Yao Su of Uncle Su (image supplied)
Executive Chef Song Yao Su of Uncle Su (image supplied)

Live seafood is the real star of the show; guests are greeted by a spectacular display of fish tanks filled with locally sourced lobsters and crabs. Queensland groper, barramundi, abalone, and coral trout are also heroed throughout the menu. All are sourced under The Star’s evolving sustainable seafood strategy, aiming to provide a lessened environmental impact and support to local fisheries.

That’s not all, though. Diners can also look forward to Chef Song’s Peking Duck, marinated in a secret sauce for 24 hours before being roasted and cooked to utter perfection and then being served and carved at the table. The restaurant also features an alluring handmade Dim Sum menu, full of classic and loved dishes made to order – such as a Char Siu Bao, a fluffy steamed bun bursting with delicious Chinese BBQ pork, or Siu Mai made with Australian pork and prawn meat and topped with Australian abalone. A drool-inducing lineup if ever we saw one!

The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)
The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)

As well as a comprehensive and encompassing selection of drinks, tea is an integral part of the Uncle Su experience. An in-house tea connoisseur is on hand to guide those interested through the wide-ranging menu and provide insight into tea’s deep history, customs, and flavours.

The space has been designed by award-winning local architecture and interior design practice, Plus Architecture, and will highlight design cues from respected Chinese tradition with elements taken from the quintessential energy of the Gold Coast. You can expect oriental design components, bespoke handcrafted oversized lanterns, and attractive koi fish motifs, all bathed in a strong wave of red, gold, cool ocean blue, and jade green. Amongst the delicious flavours, diners will experience a venue of vibrant and energetic measures!

When: Wednesday to Sunday Lunch 12pm – 2.15pm and Dinner 5.30pm – 9.45pm
Where: Ground level, The Star Gold Coast, Casino Drive, Broadbeach

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Cantonese dish, Uncle Su (image supplied)
Cantonese dish, Uncle Su (image supplied)

Elegant, coastal-inspired Italian eatery Orzo now open

Exciting news fresh out of Broadbeach today involving beloved Italian eats by people whose culinary talents have wowed us for quite some time already.

Yes friends, it’s a new Italian eatery adding to The Oracle Boulevard’s already thriving dining scene. Orzo, which translates to ‘barley’ in Italian, is the epitome of exceptional work by Social Eating House and Bar’s owner and executive chef, Matthew Jefferson, along with his wife Dayna who have gifted us with sophisticated coastal Italian cuisine.


Orzo (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Orzo (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

And it absolutely delivers on all fronts.

Having only just opened in the last couple of weeks, Orzo exudes an elegant, relaxed vibe that’s also reflected in a menu that focuses on sustainable, local produce that will span lunch and dinner. Italian food all day long, what a treat.

The space itself is perfectly reminiscent of coastal chic with muted pastel tones, a curved wall and an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs work their magic. A wall filled wines, low lighting, gold and marble accents and light wooden light fixtures bring it all together and we are absolutely in love. You may choose to perch inside amongst all that beauty or outside in the fresh air to watch the world go by.

They said it would be the epitome of a coastal hug and that it absolutey is.

The menu features housemade pastas paying homage to southern Italy with mouthwatering dishes, all of which we would love to eat every day forever please.

To start, choose the House Made Foccacia with whipped ricotta and rosemary oil (to die for), the Fried Zucchini Blossoms with stracciatella, tomato and miso and vincotta (one of the most beautiful dishes we’ve ever sampled) and the Veal Carpaccio with tuna mayo, pickled onion, crouton and caper leaf (another life changer). Yes, all of them. Absolutely divine.

Pasta-wise, the Gnocchi with cherry tomato, basil and bush tomato was the fluffiest, most perfect dish of it’s kind we’ve ever sampled. The addition of a crunchy bush tomato concoction meant we wished it would go on forever. On the side add Heirloom Tomatoes with stracciatella, basil and olive oil and you will be one happy Gold Coaster.

There are mains along the lines of Pancetta Wrapped Spatchcock with chicory and grape and Pan Roasted Fish Fillet with sauce vierge with green olives and walnuts and of course, those are absolutely magical too.

There are also delights like house-cured meats and a variety of cheeses (AKA the love of our lives) so you might want to sample those too.

To drink, there are a beautiful array of Italian wines and beers and a list of cocktails that rivals any other.

The Negroni Orzo is perfection with strawberry gum, meletti and pandan and the Little Italy is obviously a delight with Aperol, vodka, lemon, mango and marjoram – the perfect summer sip. The entire list should be on your to do list of course.

So there you have it. If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the next-level goodness that is Social Eating House and Bar, you’ll know everything about it is unparalleled.

Make sure you get down there to experience it for yourself, Orzo is one of a kind and we are moving to Broadbeach now, good bye.

LOCATION: Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
HOURS: Daily from 12pm until late

Words and photos by Kirra Smith


Treat your palate to an explosion of flavour

Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

There was a time when if you wanted to experience a fine dining evening of sensational service and delectable food, you’d be a little hard-pressed to find it on our Coast. But oh my, how things have certainly changed! Pushing the envelope with a discerning meal out is no longer a marathon feat, as quality restaurants — and operators — find themselves calling the Gold Coast home these days.

For this, we (and some very well looked after restaurant-goers) are eternally grateful!

If you haven’t heard the buzz around the explosive opening of HOTA’s new Gallery building, we ask you: what rock have you been living under? The exciting addition to the cultural precinct — valued at $60.5­ million — is now the most extensive art gallery outside of any state capital; boasting over 4000 different artworks from international, national and local artists. Our time to shine on the Australian culture scene is finally here!

Yet, with fine works of art and masses of sophistication, there is naturally the necessity to fuel this movement. So join us in agreeing that a new fine dining restaurant under the name of Palette within the Gallery is not only fitting — but warmly welcomed!

A signature cocktail at Palette, HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
A signature cocktail at Palette, HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Opening on Friday 14th May, Palette, located on the ground floor of the all-new HOTA Gallery, is set to be a sophisticated dining experience that will feature a modern Australian menu with a comprehensively curated wine list, degustation menus and a la carte. Not just for small groups or couples, the venue will host larger groups and even cater for large-scale events.

Coinciding with the official opening of the HOTA Gallery recently, Palette aims to impress and indulge those who appreciate the arts just as much as great food!

Executive Head Chef Dayan Hartill-Law (formerly head chef of Melbourne’s Press Club) is counting down the days until he and his team can invite visitors to enjoy their modern cuisine, with a spotlight on fresh, local, and high-quality produce.

After scouring the menu, our standouts are the Hervey Bay scallops in a brown butter consommé and the Davidson plum sorbet with pepperberry meringue. If these dishes taste just half as good as they read, we are in for a real treat my friends.

Palette bar at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Palette bar at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

“Our two degustation menus are inspired by the major art exhibitions in the gallery, with the first menu relating to HOTA’s Solid Gold exhibit so that guests can see their favourite pieces of art come to life on the plate,” said Dayan.

Intrigued? Join the club.

Dayan goes on to tell us, “The Darling Downs vegetables in variations emulates the artist Mimi Dennett to have the same flowers and plants growing as what features in her piece, Bloom. The degustation menus will evolve as each exhibition changes, so diners can always expect an exciting new experience each time.”

Now we’ve heard of food matching drinks, events, and people’s dietary needs — but never with pieces of an exhibition!

Apart from two deftly put-together and highly thoughtful degustation menus, you’ll also have the chance to enjoy a more simplistic a la carte style menu for a decadent lunch with a difference. Featuring Fraser Island spanner crab, Brisbane Valley Qual, and Jerusalem artichokes with Rosella jam.

An entree dish at Palette, HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
An entree dish at Palette, HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Throw into the equation a superb wine offering, immaculate surroundings and Palette has all the hallmarks of being the Gold Coast’s next best fine dining restaurant.

Impressed as we are — as should you be — we expect this restaurant to go off with a bang. Implying if you plan to visit, we highly recommend booking well in advance to avoid disappointment!

Where: Home Of The Arts Gallery, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise
When: Opening Friday 14th May
Wed – Thu: 11.30am – 2pm (lunch) & 5.30pm – 9pm (dinner)
Fri -Sun: 11.30am – 3pm (lunch) & 5pm – 10pm (9pm Sun) (dinner)

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
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