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Lucky Bao

Bao down Gold Coasters, your favourite Asian share-food eatery is about to blow your mind once again. Lucky Bao, in Mermaid Waters, have recently added several new dishes to their already incredible menu and they are taking things to a whole new level.

Since beginning as a market stall a mere three years ago, husband and wife duo Daud and Emmi Kendall have gained bulk fans for their spin on the vibrant street food culture of Singapore.

Serving an array of handmade bao along with bar snacks, share plates and dessert have made them a household name across the Gold Coast and the new menu additions are certainly set to enhance that reputation.

Starting at the top. Now they’re known as bar snacks but they’re far from your typical hot chips and gravy. Your best bet is the Sichuan Pulled Lamb Shoulder Spring Roll with roast tomato and chilli sambal followed closely by the Tempura Betel Leaf with raw tuna, rice kimchi and gochujang (red chilli paste).

Moving onto share plates and there are three newbies you absolutely must try. First Seared Scallops with black pepper, shaoxing rice wine, coriander and fried bahoon. Next Sashimi of Yellowfin Tuna with pickled persimmon, ponzu gel and crispy rice and finally, Korean Rice Cake with sweet Korean chilli sauce, smoked sesame miso and shallot. Taste sensations, every single one of them.

If you have room for dessert, and you do, the latest additions are Vietnamese Coffee Mousse with chocolate crumb and sesame meringue and Sticky Date Pudding with miso butterscotch and white chocolate ice cream.

Wash all that deliciousness down with a couple of the new cocktails on offer. Bring Back the Heat is a savoury twist on the classic margarita and Mi-So Lucky is Lucky Bao’s signature cocktail including both miso and white chocolate. You guessed it, both extremely tasty.

Less reading, more eating, go!

Location: 90 Markeri Street, Mermaid Waters

HOURS: 11am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 11am to 10pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

10 reasons locals love Mermaid Beach

Mermaid Beach T-Shirts The Undercurrent
Mermaid Beach (Image: © 2021 The Undercurrent)

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

Little Mermaid
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

The Borrowed Nursery (image supplied)

Lupo
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

Zeppelin Barbers
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

Soak Bathhouse
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

Soak Bathhouse
Soak Bathhouse (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

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

Bonita Bonita
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.

Bonita Bonita Flat Lay
Bonita Bonita (image supplied)

11 top spots to sip sake on the Gold Coast

Sake from Misono Japanese Steakhouse at JW Marriott Gold Coast
Misono Japanese Steakhouse at JW Marriott (image supplied)

A traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice with additions of water, yeast, and koji, the legend of sake surrounds the story of a prince who once used the beverage to intoxicate a dragon to save a princess. Not your average fairy tale, but a clever prince nonetheless.

Originating in Japan over 1,300 years ago and traditionally revered as an offering to the Gods, it has become popular worldwide thanks to its unique hot and cold varieties and its ability to enhance the tastes of our beloved Japanese food. Always on the hunt for flavour, we found the 11 best sipping spots of sake on the Gold Coast in honour of the sacred brew.

Misono Japanese Steakhouse
An in-house speciality, sake is much loved at Misono. Served solo in six varieties and with detailed explanations of each on the menu, Misono’s sake options all fall within the range of the four main designations of the drink (dependent on how much the rice grains are polished). Not only can you drink it straight, but Misono also specialises in cocktails incorporating sake for something totally unique. Try the Kiwi Sparkler with sake, muddled kiwifruit and lime on ice topped up with sparkling wine.
Where: JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Eddy + Wolff (image supplied)
Eddy + Wolff (image supplied)

Eddy + Wolff
The intimate little venue hidden away in Robina, Eddy + Wolff are the masters of contemporary Asian eats, tasty tipples and an interior like no other. You’ll love the rounded, polished concrete ceiling, neon sign and soft pink hues that make up the stunning space. Of course, the team have chosen only the very best sakes to complement their menu, including one reminiscent of Limoncello that we can’t get enough of. The perfect spot to share a sake with your pals.
Where: 12/217-219 Ron Penhaligon Way, Robina

Kiyomi
Masters in the art of sake service, the team at Kiyomi have been through a rigorous training program to ensure they know their stuff. Offering a sample from each sake category, flavours range from earthy mushroom to citrusy and floral in both still and sparkling varieties. Kiyomi serves their warm sake at 46 degrees, the traditional temperature, and present it in a stone Tokkuri, handmade in Japan. Cold sake comes in a mouth-blown Tokkuri made with a large divot for holding ice spheres to keep it at the correct temperature. If sipping sake on the Gold Coast is a must for you, you have to visit Kiyomi.
Where: Lobby level, The Star Gold Coast, Broadbeach

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

Iku Yakitori Bar
Iku Yakitori Bar is a Burleigh favourite boasting many a delicious Japanese dish cooked over Binchotan coals and with lots of extra smoky flavours. Of course, there’s a handpicked selection of sakes on offer of the absolute highest quality possible, as is the way of the Iku team. Ask for the story behind each and prepare to be dazzled by their knowledge and the unique flavours on offer.
Where: 1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Cocotte Dining
Tucked away in Robina Quays is Cocotte offering a fusion of Japanese and French dining and plenty of sake options to complement the delicious dishes. Eight opportunities await from the popular Hyogo, Yamaguchi and Fukui regions, both by the glass and the bottle. A favourite is the Dassai Junmai Daiginjo, made with rice milled to just 23% of its original size and boasting flavours of grapes, flowers, strawberries and the freshest mineral water.
Where: 16A Robina Quays Shopping Centre, Corner of Robina Parkway and Markeri Street, Robina

Etsu Izakaya
At Etsu, they say sake has something to give that wine can’t, most notably texture and umami (the flavours that’s neither sweet nor sour). With over 16 varieties of sake from seven different regions of Japan on offer, Etsu has one of the most diverse ranges on the Coast. Keen to try them all? Ask for a Sake Flight – three, 40ml samples of selected sakes. Add a little fun to your dinner with a selection of one cup sake, take-home souvenir cups printed with popular classic Japanese cartoon and Disney characters.
Where: 2440 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Etsu Izakaya (image supplied)
Etsu Izakaya (image supplied)

Cafoo Izakaya
If opulent plates of the freshest hunks of sashimi matched elegantly with crisp and refreshing sake sound like a flavour party you want a piece of, then may we suggest you look no further? Cafoo has been wowing Palm Beach locals for a while now with excellent displays of off-the-charts Japanese cuisine and is often booked out. If you manage to grab a spot, you must try one of their signature sake cocktails — to freshen your palate, of course — or an ingenious twist on a European favourite: Sakegria.
Where: Shop 6, Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach

Wazen
A hidden gem out the back of Burleigh, Wazen is serving up incredible Japanese eats at VERY affordable prices. The menu is extensive, so go there at a starving time of the day and, of course, don’t forget to sample a few sakes while you’re there. There are several authentic varieties to try, and the staff know exactly what they’re talking about: ask what will best go with your favourite dishes, and you’ve got yourself a tasty time.
Where: 1/33 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Burleigh Heads

Little Itoshin
Tucked away in the residential backstreets of Miami should by no means put you off dropping into a haven of Japanese delicacies. And when you do drop in, be sure to try some of their fantastic fresh oysters or deftly made nigiri with a crisp and well-matched sake that will leave your tastebuds all shook up. It doesn’t end there. If you have the space, be sure to ask about their desserts not found on the menu: if you know — you know!
Where: Shop 6, 110 Mountain View Avenue, Miami 

Little Itoshin (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Little Itoshin (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

Harajuku Gyoza
With playful vibes of Tokyo’s most notable suburb throughout their Broadbeach venue, crispy gyozas and the freshest Japanese craft beer are eternally flowing at Harajuku Gyoza. But it’s the hard-to-find sakes — served both warm and chilled — that round out a taste adventure not worth missing. Grab your gang and request a cheeky round of sakes to up the ante on your evening out — kampai!
Where: G66 The Oasis Shopping Centre, Victoria Avenue Broadbeach 

Mamasan Kitchen + Bar
This Gold Coast favourite specialises in an enticing blend of modern and traditional tastes, and offers a range of sakes from house to premium and speciality sweet blends. Ranging from dry to delicate and fruity to floral, flavours include apricot and marzipan, mandarin and lime, tropical fruits and banana and savoury and nutty — to name a few! Mamasan also offers a Sake Flight served chilled and made of three 30ml choices from the menu.
Where: 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Photo by Zaji Kanamajina on Unsplash
Photo by Zaji Kanamajina on Unsplash

BAO Burgers

They’re soft, silky and filled with the tastiest of goodness and they are quickly gaining popularity as the perfect snack on the go. Luckily for Isle of Capri goers, BAO Burgers has recently opened and they are serving some of the best baos around.

In case you’ve never had the pleasure of putting one in your mouth, baos are a kind of Chinese sandwich made with a pillowy steamed bun and filled with anything from bacon and eggs to soft shell crab.

Found inside Capri on Via Roma and set against a sparkling, boat-laden backdrop, BAO Burgers is a street food style of venue with both dine in and takeaway options, a first for the complex.

If you’re a boatie, it’s a great takeaway option for cruising the high seas or a canal cruising picnic. Moor up and hoe down captains.

Owner Shane McDowall (former owner of The Boatshed in Currumbin) aimed to open something unique to the area that would be seen as an easy takeaway option but could also be enjoyed as a sit down meal, paired with fries and a gelato milkshake (yes please).

Obviously though, the most important thing is the baos themselves and the many delicious flavour options there are to choose from.

Starting with a breakfast bao. Choose from fillings of bacon, egg and tomato chutney or something a little bit fancier like the smoked salmon, Japanese egg, spinach and orange aioli.

Stick around until lunchtime and opt for the fried Szechuan chicken bao with coleslaw and sriracha aioli or a vego option featuring salt and pepper mushroom or halloumi.

For those who aren’t keen on the gluten side of things, baos are also available as sweet little salads.

Oh and in perhaps the greatest bao-related news of all time, there’s soon to be dessert baos on offer including a deep fried bao with mango, pineapple, toasted coconut and vanilla bean gelato.

It’s time to bao down to the tasty little morsels that are about to take over Isle of Capri. How many can you do?

LOCATION: Capri on Via Roma, 15 Via Roma, Surfers Paradise
HOURS: 9am to 5pm daily

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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