Summer is so close we can almost taste it Gold Coasters and with it comes balmy days filled with good food, refreshing sips and even better company. Then rinse and repeat every single day for three months.
There’s no doubt it’s going to be one of the best on record after the year we’ve had and what makes it even more exciting is brand new venues to enjoy all of the above in.
The latest of which is absolutely oozing summer vibes while also (kinda) making up for the lack of European holidays we’ve experienced this year.
It’s called Maman (meaning Mum) Kitchen & Bar and it opened a few weeks ago on James Street in Burleigh Heads for all of your Mediterranean feasting pleasure. And what a pleasure it is.
It’s the work of a couple of local lads whose names you’ve no doubt heard – Oli Frost, founder of The Grass is Greener Music Festival and part owner of Surfers’ burger bar Milky Lane and Ironman Matt Poole along with Oli’s Mum and Aunt, Karen and Elizabeth Fines, who are both exceptional Chefs.
Inside you’ll find a space made up of all-white everything, coastal chic at its finest, with pops of colour courtesy of Byron Bay artist Jai Vasicek’s wall-length murals and hand-painted ceramics. All of which we would love to transfer to our house right this second.
Maman can be accessed through an arched alleyway entrance in Justin Lane and we love a little outside-the-box thinking.
Now let’s discuss the menu because every single dish is one you’re going to want to sample starting with small plates like Moussaka of eggplant with seared scallops, taramasalata, tomato and fennel salsa (stop it) and Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare with preserved lemon, green olive salsa and Jerusalem artichoke crisps to name just a couple of magic treats.
Next up, there are larger plates like Lamb Kofte with hommus, cacik, Israeli salad and Turkish pide, Chermoula crusted tuna, Moroccan eggplant, tomato and coriander salsa.
Taste sensations the lot of them.
For dessert, a Fine Apple Tart with salted caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream perhaps? Yes.
To drink you may sip on signature cocktails like the Maman Spritz with watermelon reduction, ruby red grapefruit, cherry tincture and Prosecco and the Wake Up with Tromba Blanco Tequila, jalapeno pepper, fresh citrus and orange curacao.
Of course, you’ll probably want to sample every single one, as is the almost-summer way.
It’s delightful all round honestly and the absolute perfect addition to the Burleigh Heads dining scene.
Let’s get summer started right now shall we?
Meet you Maman Kitchen & Bar.
LOCATION: 49 James Street, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 5pm until late Wednesday to Friday and 12pm until late Saturday and Sunday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Burleigh Heads is on absolute fire with venues swinging open their doors left and right, much to the delight of locals who apparently can’t get enough of tasty eats and bunkering down somewhere warm with a wine in hand (same to be honest).
The latest eatery to grace us with its’ presence is Restaurant Labart (opening tonight), a stylish space on Burleigh’s West Street, where Burleigh Chinese once lived. It’s simple sophistication at its finest and unlike anything the Gold Coast has seen before.
Which is of course, due to the fact that Restaurant Labart is the work of Sydneysiders Karla and Alex Munoz Labart who bring quite the impressive rap sheet to our beachside city.
But first, the interior. The narrow space is beautifully designed with walnut leather bench-style seating lining the walls and not-quite-khaki paneling with dark wood furniture and low-hanging lighting completing the picture. The vibe is earthy, refined and understated and we quite like it thank you very much.
The menu is, happily, the star of the show and that is a concept close to our hearts (and tummies). It’s made up of snacks (best) and both small and large share plates all of which are absolute taste sensations.
To share we recommend the BBQ King Prawns with shellfish butter, crème fraiche and finger lime and the Veal Tartare with sun-dried tomatoes, tarragon and potato crisps.
The large plates are all kinds of goodness and in particular the Seared Mulloway with peas, dill and horseradish and the Grilled Lamb Rack with charred turnips and green herb sauce should make you happy.
For dessert (OUR FAVOURITE) Chocolate Mousse with popcorn ice cream and salted popcorn is probably the most exciting dish there is in the world. Keep that one coming please.
You may also indulge in a cheese plate and if that’s not enough to have you making a reservation right this minute, please explain.
To compliment the stand out menu, a carefully curated selection of wines (including biodynamic and natural choices) along with Australian craft beers and seasonal cocktails are on offer to delight your tastebuds.
As mentioned owners Karla and Alex made the move from down south where Alex was the Head Chef at famed Sydney venues Monopole and Cirrus Dining, both of which were awarded Chefs Hats during his tenure.
Restaurant Labart is their first venture and, with the philosophy of aiming to simply make people happy, they’re sure to fit in just fine around these parts.
Excuse us, we’re off to consume all the chocolate mousse before the rest of you get your hands on any.
LOCATION: 8 West St, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: Dinner Wednesday to Saturday 6pm until 11:30pm. Lunch Friday to Sunday, 12 until 3 pm
Words by Kirra Smith. Photos supplied – interior shots by Andy MacPherson – food images via Restaurant Labart.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Japanese food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So when a new, perfectly curated eatery bringing the traditional tastes of Japan to Burleigh Heads opens up, we are obviously all about it.
The newbie, Oi Izakaya can be found in the little alleyway off James Street where the Mexi-goodness that is Hail Mary also resides.
It’s the work of local lads Troy Olsen and Stephen Thompson who, along with renowned Gold Coast design genius OJ Thompson (of Ally Chow and Etsu fame), have created something the Gold Coast is going to absolutely love.
The newbie is a low-lit, moody space reminiscent of back alley, Tokyo-style Izakayas with all burnt wood paneling, dark intimate corners and an open-style kitchen, so you can watch the magic unfold.
The bar, at one end fits snugly into the corner and is jam-packed with an impressive array of whisky’s (love you), sake and Japanese beers. Tiny samurai fight for attention on one wall, while a (really quite magical) golden orb shines out from another.
The vibe is the perfect combination of old school Japanese and modern sophistication and we’re big fans.
Menu-wise the eats are refined and authentic, infusing mind-blowing flavours into dishes you’ll never want to stop eating.
To start, sashimi, always. The freshest of tuna and salmon for your tasting pleasure. But also Edamame Cheese Chips, a thing we have never before had the pleasure of sampling but will now order at any and every opportunity. Don’t ask, just order.
The Squashed Cucumber is not only one of the great dish names, it is a great dish. Basically it’s cucumber in plum sauce but the flavours defy that overly simplistic description. Eat it.
Oi Izakaya also have a Sushi Burger on the menu and yes it is indeed stacked like your run-of-the-mill burger but made with sushi. Genius and so very tasty.
Of course, the menus’ pièce de résistance is Okonomiyaki, the dish that made Troy and Stephen fall in love with Japanese eats and the reason we now get to spend all our time at Oi Izakaya.
If you’ve not yet had the pleasure Okonomiyaki is made up of many things including egg, cabbage, flour, Japanese spices and your choice of meat. The dish we sampled was Hiroshima-style (with noodles) and it was the very best variety we’ve ever tasted.
We ate the entire thing and you should order it and subsequently be impressed by how good we are at eating.
To drink, we suggest getting involved in one of the MANY Japanese whisky’s on offer but if straight up isn’t your thing, the Brown Rice Old Fashioned is as good as it gets.
All in all, Oi Izakaya is quite a treat and the perfect addition to Burleigh’s foodie scene and we suggest you get down there at the earliest available opportunity and give the boys some love.
And if you need someone to mentor you in the art of whisky drinking, you know where to find us.
LOCATION: Shop 4-6, 30 James Street, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: Wednesday and Thursday 4.30pm until late, Friday to Sunday 12pm until late
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
They say Australia is the lucky country and in particular those of us who call the Gold Coast home (made that bit up, but look around friends). Well, in the last week the lucky country got even luckier and (again) in particular a little place on the south east coast of Queensland, we like to call Burleigh Heads.
The latest little pot of gold comes to us in the form of a brand new bar but not just any brand new bar friends, it’s the kind that dreams are made of.
Rosella’s Bar flew into town just last week ahead of the Australia Day long weekend and it is the refined Aussie-inspired bar you never knew you needed in your life. But need it you do and, as usual, we’re here to tell you why.
It’s the work of local lads Jon Debeere (next-level wine connoisseur) and Jack Connor (ex-Aloha cocktail creator extraordinaire) who are both passionate about all-Aussie adventures and wanted to showcase the work of local wine and craft beer makers, plus do a little making of their own.
It’s an intimate space found on the highway in Burleigh, where a little hairdressing salon once lived, and streuth is it a beauty. Louvered windows open out into the street so you can perch yourself up there and watch the (unfairly good looking) world go by while a couple of booths and high tables line one wall and, of course, you can perch at the bar and have a chat with the boys (or talk their ears off if you’re us).
Brightly coloured, Aussie-inspired artwork is hung throughout, vintage, stained glass light shades hang overhead and Ken Done cloths line the bar. It’s beautifully put together, refined with a side of tongue in cheek and we are absolutely here for it.
Let’s chat drinks though because they are, of course the star of the show. The cocktail menu is unlike anything you’ve seen before with over 10 signature cocktails plus all your old faves. Each one is made with Australian spirits and each one is way more epic than the last.
The Ironman, for example, is made with Beenleigh white rum, Bundaberg small batch rum, lime, banana and a Nutri Grain Orgeat (a housemade syrup type situation) and topped with, you guessed it, our beloved Nutri Grain. It’s a gamechanger and our new go-to tipple.
The Rosella is made with White Light Vodka, rosella jam, Australian bitter, lemon and lilly pilly and served in a rosella shaped glass, all delightful and refreshing. Honestly, they’re all some of the best we’ve ever sampled so do yourself a favour and get there ASAP.
The wine list is equally as impressive, filled with natural, Australian-produced wine made with minimal intervention, many of which you won’t find anywhere else on the Gold Coast (or Queensland for that matter).
Rosella’s are all about showcasing Pet Nat wines (Pétillant-naturel) which refers to sparkling wines produced in the ancient way where the wine is bottled before primary fermentation and finished without the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars.
Sounds fancy, is amazing. We taste-tested quite a few and, let it be known, they are some of the most flavour-filled, clean tasting wines we’ve ever come across. And we’ve come across a lot.
Oh and there’s also Fosters. In a can. Not to mention MANY other Aussie beers you’ve probably never seen before. We’re in love.
Now to the food.
The menu has been designed with a nostalgic nod to the Aussie eats you know and love but minus the throw-it-on-the-barbie-and-hope-for-the-best attitude your Dad was all about.
Think Vegemite Beef Jerky, Bug Sambos, Raw Aussie Beef Burgers and Prawn Cocktails but all made with a refined, sophistication to match the exceptional drinks menus.
Last but not least, there are jaffles. The very best jaffles at that. How does Vegemite, Cheddar and Wattleseed butter sound? Yep. There’s also Onepot Lamb with soft herb cheese and spiced chutney.
Okay we’re done. Seriously just go. Right now. We’ll seeya there.
Love you ‘Straya.
LOCATION: 6/1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 4pm until late weekdays and 12pm until late weekends
Words and photos by Kirra Smith