When you find yourself forced to take a closer look at things in life, you can be treated to sensory experiences and surprises that you weren’t even aware existed. A near-perfect example of this — and pride of place slap bang in the middle of Burleigh Heads James Street, no less — is Naami.
From first observation, you’d be in the right frame of mind to assume Burleigh has scored itself another splendid little recess churning out some incredible eats. And it has.
The rustic garage-styled shop front is sure to satisfy your Vietnamese desires with Banh Mi, Spring Rolls and Pho — all to go. The bare minimalistic décor is brought to life by polished concrete floors, neutral hues, and a parked up scrambler style motorcycle, which couldn’t look more at home than on the bustling side streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.
But this isn’t where your attention should be. Although the food served up here is nothing short of astonishing and packed full of authentic flavour, if you let your eyes do some wandering, you might notice a rather large door loitering in the corner. Give it a push, and into Naami bar you go…
Curiosity once did kill the cat, but in this instance, you’re rewarded with Burleigh’s newest speakeasy-style evening haunt. Inspired by a motorcycle trip of Vietnam, owners Ollie Frost and his dad Geoffrey decided the exotic and distinct culture of Vietnam’s back alley bar culture was called for on the Gold Coast. And we couldn’t agree more. The pair are no strangers to hospitality either owning neighbouring Mediterranean hotspot Maman and Surfers Paradise’s burger nirvana, Milky Lane.
Cocktail maestro Breeana Erica, who has cut her teeth composing cocktail lists at multiple venues around the Coast, (including Maggie Choo & The Roosevelt Lounge) is heading up the venue. When it comes to aligning flavours and uniting liquids, this young lady has got it squared right away. With 11 inventive and Asian inspired Signature Cocktails, there will be no room for boredom here. Breeana muses, “The cocktail list reflects a diverse range of flavours and spirits which will ultimately create talking points; we’re hoping for people to sit and enjoy their drinks and create exciting conversations over them”.
No doubt they will. The ‘Pav Is Mine‘ is a tip of the cap to a classic pavlova, but with lashings of vanilla vodka, butterscotch schnapps and a one-of-a-kind passionfruit smoke bubble you just have to see. Or perhaps a ‘Pho-Groni’ is more your thing, especially if your usual tipple is a classic negroni? The bar takes a savoury collaborative gin from Fortune Distillery and Noosa restaurant Sum Yung Guys, Campari, adds a house vermouth blend before finishing with a Port cask finished cardamon tincture. If multifaceted savours are your thing, and you want drinks that challenge your thinking as much as your tastebuds, then you’re in for a treat here.
The overall décor of the venue invites you to grab a drink, sit down, slow up, and chill out. There’s no sense of urgency here. Should you grab some food in the front shop, also feel free to bring it into the bar to have alongside one of their delectable drinks offerings — after all, this is how things are done in South East Asia!
With plans to bring DJs in on specific nights and hold themed evenings and events, Naami plans to be that sultry backstreet bar (and eats) you never knew you needed in your life.
Where: 4/57 James St, Burleigh Heads
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 5pm — 12am
Words by Alex Mitcheson.