Inciting bragging rights across the city, Varsity Lakes has recently welcomed its very own micro-brewery complete with Canadian-inspired eats.
Overlooking the lake, with a spacious deck and dark wood interiors, The Lake Brewhouse is reminiscent of an authentic Canadian bar complete with Poutine – French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy – the nations’ signature dish.
The in-house brewery can be seen from within the restaurant and is currently preparing a batch, ready for consumption in around two weeks (we’ll keep you posted). They’ll introduce a light and a heavy lager which will be sold exclusively in-house.
And what better to accompany a cold, delicious beer than Nashville fried chicken wings! They may well be the best on the Coast and come in a range of flavours such as buffalo, ranch, blue cheese, comeback, cajun, smokey BBQ or sweet garlic. The heat factor ranges from mild to suicide so choose wisely.
Why not grab your friends and opt for a few share plates – there’s southern fried squid, jalapeno poppers, jerk spiced prawns and smoked salmon salad on offer.
Or jump right in to a crispy chicken burger with house made slaw or a signature roasted pork chop with grilled peach and salsa verde.
Donut ice cream sandwiches and Nutella fudge sundaes will tickle your sweet tooth and wash it all down with a Caesar cocktail complete with clam juice – a Canadian specialty.
They also serve up a mean breakfast if early mornings are your thing.
The Lake Brewhouse was made for dinner with a view and perfectly paired beer and bites.
HOURS: 7am to 10pm daily.
LOCATION: 235 Varsity Parade, Varsity Lakes.
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.
Two of the most passionate people in the local hospo industry, Mitch and Nerissa are the brains behind two of your favourites – Commune, in Burleigh, and Etsu, in Mermaid Beach. The pair, who might just be the busiest (and happiest) couple on the Coast, are now on the verge of opening a third venue.
We sat down with Mitch and Nerissa to chat about the new yakitori restaurant and building a late night bar-hopping scene in Burleigh.
How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
Mitch: We were both born here. Next week it’ll be 39 years for me. Nerissa’s moved away a couple of times. We met in the hospitality industry out at Varsity Lakes then Nerissa moved away to the snow and I started managing Bumbles in Budds Beach. When she got back, we got in contact again and started working together.
What do you love about the Coast?
Nerissa: I’ve tried to move away a couple of times but it’s just nice, easy, healthy living here. I love being able to walk around with no shoes on. I quite often walk from our house along the beach and to Commune and you can’t do that in Melbourne and Sydney or most other places. It’s just nice, it’s our home and we know everyone, people from school. The people here are happy and you really get to see that, especially in the café, we love building relationships. In the city, it’s so different.
How do you come up with such different concepts for each venue?
We build restaurants we love and that we know our community will love. Because we were born here, we want to give back to our mates around the Coast. You just have to wait for that perfect storm – the right idea, the right time and finding the right venue. We weren’t looking to open a place but we were sick of our jobs and thought this location (Commune) would be perfect and we were just ready to do it. Then with Etsu, which has been open a few years, we knew we wanted to open a Japanese restaurant and that it would be all inside. I (Nerissa) love long, dark places and Mermaid was the perfect location for us. We have never forced anything, it just always works out.
Tell us about the new place you’re opening in Burleigh?
When we got back from Japan this year, all we ate was yakitori and everyone else seemed to be talking about it too. Yakitori means grilled chicken – the restaurants in Japan mostly just make dishes from all parts of the chicken – thighs, hearts, skin, liver, neck, inner thigh, everything and they all taste really different. It’s really sustainable using the whole chicken too. We’ll make a chicken liver pate and a chicken soup too. We’ll also definitely cater for the vegos and have some really amazing Wagyu for the boys too. There’ll be a couple of raw dishes, but it’s a really different menu to Etsu. We’re looking at opening early to mid October.
Have you got the fitout sorted?
It’ll be a bit similar to Etsu where you walk in and there’s a dining bar but we’ll have a kitchen dining bar. Everyone will sit around it and the chefs will be cooking right in front of you – we’re just going to focus on that as our main feature. We’re right next to Lockwood Bar so we’ve put a hole in the wall for back door access so we’re hoping to make a cool little late night bar hopping trade. We’ll also dedicate a little area to a small Japanese whiskey type bar, people can access that from another entrance or just sit down there if they’re waiting for a table. Dining-wise, people will sit on the floor with their legs crossed, which is how it’s done in Japan.
What are your thoughts on the Coast’s growing dining scene?
We go to Melbourne and Sydney just to check out restaurants but now the Gold Coast has so many new places opening we don’t need to. Even just in Burleigh there’s so many, tacocat just opened and all these new places are popping up everywhere. It means we can just ride our bikes to dinner, it’s so good. It’s the perfect time for us to be able to do what we want to do too with all these things opening, it gives us the freedom to get a bit more experimental. It means everyone’s more appreciative of our industry, which is really good. It works here now, where it wouldn’t have a few years ago.
It benefits us in so many ways too. It’s more attractive for people to come and live and work here. Finding good, professional staff and lots of them can be challenging, so having that pool of staff wanting to live here, especially chefs, is great. Even in terms of produce and suppliers, the bigger the industry grows, the more everyone has available. We can get our hands on more and better products. It keeps us on our toes too, if someone new opens, we have to get better. We’re constantly reevaluating what we’re doing. If you’re not growing, you’re going backwards.
What are the biggest challenges for you in the industry?
We find the hardest thing is staff – finding the right people for what we want to do and having them be as passionate as we are. We always find staff who want to open their own places, which works out really well for us because they’re super passionate and we encourage that. Our Head Chef at Etsu came from us advertising in Melbourne.
What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Mitch: We work hard and lead by example and that makes it all rewarding.
Nerissa: You should go to work and be excited, if you don’t love it, don’t do it. We love what we do and it doesn’t really seem like work, it’s just our lifestyle now.
Being Gold Coast locals, we have to ask your favourites…
Beach: Burleigh. Before we lived here we lived in Mermaid and loved it there too
Café: There’s a few, we love No Name Lane and we go to Alfred’s, down to All Time. There’s quite a few around now, Double Barrel Kitchen is cool. Elk is really good.
Restaurant: We love Rick Shores, sitting out in the sun is so good. The Lamb Shop, Glenelg Public House and Lupo just opened which is great.
Weekend hang: We ride our bikes around, Sunday arvos on the hill are always good.
What started off as a way to honour the women (also known as Dough Lassies) who volunteered in serving doughnuts to soldiers in World War I and to help raise funds for the needy, has now become a much celebrated yearly event – Doughnut Day! Not that we need an excuse, but who doesn’t love to over-indulge in doughnuts?
This Friday make your way over to Paddock Bakery in Burleigh’s Hibiscus Haven and choose between baby Nutella bots (tiny doughnuts filled with Nutella) or The ‘Milo Milkshake’ Doughnut – semi-sourdough doughnut, dipped in milk glaze with crunchy little milo pebbles.
20 Hibiscus Haven, Miami
The guys at Blackboard Coffee got behind the doughnut craze early on in the game and brought us the injectable doughnut, a syringe filled with a delicious salted caramel sauce stuck in a doughnut – yum! And the best thing about it? You get to inject the gooey caramel sauce yourself. But be warned, they usually sell out early in the day!
7/240 Varsity Parade, Varsity Lakes
I think we are in heaven! Doughnut Time is celebrating National Doughnut Day with three limited edition MEGA doughnuts, introducing D’oh Nut!, Big Poppa and Chris Hemsworthy. They’re said to feed up to four people and are available now for pre-order via the online store https://goo.gl/AyuOj5. Pick-up from Friday 2nd June to Thursday 8th June.
Shop 5, 2375 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Corner of Cavill Avenue & Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise
All Time Coffee Co. is a no fuss coffee shop focusing on the important things in live – coffee and (vegan) doughnuts. Some of our favourites: the Notella doughnut, a vegan alternative to Nutella, the Fairy bread doughnut or *drumroll* the MAPLE ‘BACON’ DONUT, filled with maple jelly, smothered in a creamy vanilla and maple flavoured frosting and topped with smokey maple coconut bacon!!
1/2478 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Skull and Bones have won multiple awards for best coffee on the Coast, it might be time for them to win a doughnut award. Decide for yourself and try their take on the humble doughnut – bronut , a mix between a brioche and a doughnut. Those scrumptious treats are filled with a variety of different fillings like Nutella or caramel. Our recommendation, however, is the Bronut Sundae, a fluffy bronut filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with Nutella, a must try this Doughnut Day!!
2577 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Minus 32’s doughnut creations are next level. It’s already hard enough to chose a doughnut from their selection, but it doesn’t end there. You can pimp your doughnut with chocolate drizzle, caramel sauce and ice cream, possibilities are endless. Find them at Miami Marketta every Friday and Saturday and at other pop up event’s around the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami
It’s fairly safe to say that anyone who loves doughnuts had a Krispy Kreme before, after all, they are the top dogs amongst the doughnuts. To celebrate International Doughnut Day in style, Krispy Kreme Pacific fair is giving away one free original glazed doughnut to everyone who comes in store on the day! Yes, you heard right FREE Doughnuts! Do-nut be late, they’re only available until stocks last.
Pacific Fair Shopping Centre (near Coles), Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach
Spanish Doughnut a.k.a churros may look slightly different than the traditional doughnut but taste just as good (if not better!). All churros are made to order, using 100% Australian made products, proudly supporting local produce and suppliers. No preservatives, artificial colour or sweeteners are added. Fresh is best – viva! Spanish Doughnuts.
17 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise
The deli at Providore Marina Mirage is stocked with fresh pastries baked onsite daily including Nutella filled cronuts, a mix between a croissant and a doughnut, the original doughnut and twisted doughnuts. If you call yourself a true doughnut lover then celebrate Doughnut Day at Providore Marina Mirage this Friday open from 7am.
Marina Mirage Shopping Centre, 37 Seaworld Dr, Main Beach
This one’s for the die-hard doughnut fans. *Insert* Doughnutfuckwitdis Burger, a hand pressed wagyu beef patty, Nutella, smoked bacon, double jack cheese between a grilled Doughnut Time™ original glazed doughnut. And to not disappoint your sweet tooth, have a go at the “Oreogazm”, deep fried Oreos in doughnut batter w/ ice cream and liquid Nutella.
1/37 Connor St, Burleigh Heads
Adrian Grazioli is the face of The Pastry Emporium, a hidden gem tucked away in the backstreets of Bundall. One of his skills? Doughnuts! Adrian and his team make them with brioche of course, fresh every day. Nutella and Custard is a favourite flavour and highly recommended.
Offer: you get two for one this Friday!
Campbell St, Bundall
Located just five minutes west of Surfers Paradise is this European style bakery, baking up doughnuts for over 20 years. Our recommendation is the classic jam filled doughnut dusted with cinnamon icing sugar, or maybe you’re more into the Ferrero Rocher style doughnut? We do-nut judge.
Sorrento Shopping Village, 20 Bundall Rd, Bundall
Words by Louisa von Ingelheim
In what may be the happiest news of all time for those who love a good hazelnut spread (everyone), Friday the 5th of February marks World Nutella Day. Which means it’s time to celebrate the gooey, nutty godsend that literally whips people into a frenzy.
In honour of the day for which we are eternally grateful, here are 10 spots offering Nutella creations (listed North to South).
D Point 10 – Ferrero Rocher Doughnut
The Ferrero Rocher Doughnuts (filled with lashings of Nutella) are some the very best things in the entire world and you (and should) can eat them by the dozen at D Point 10. So soft, so fluffy, so great.
Where: 71 Stevens Street, Southport, 2/2791 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach and 201 Varsity Parade, Varsity Lakes
Blendlove – Nutella Cheezecake
Hands down the best Nutella cheezecake ever made because it’s Vegan, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Refined (Cane Sugar) Free, Dairy Free, and Soy Free, all the things! Choc hazelnut and buckini crust, creamy hazelnut cheesecake layer, topped with vegan chocolate and fresh hazelnuts. No guilt here.
Where: 1/253 Ferry Road, Southport
Salt Meats Cheese – Nutella Pizza
It’s pizza with Nutella on top- what’s not to love? Oh and it comes with whipped cream so there’s that too.
Where: 10 Beach Road, Surfers Paradise
Paradox Coffee Roasters – Iced Nutellalate
So it’s an Iced Latte but with Nutella which, as far as we’re concerned, makes it’s one of the best things in the world. Need we say more.
Where: The 4217, 7/10 Beach Road, Surfers Paradise
Elk Espresso – Nutella Thick Shake
Elk Espresso are famous for their insane Nutella Thick Shake and they are literally one of the most delicious things you’ll ever taste. Maybe order two.
Where: 16 Chelsea Avenue, The Oasis Shopping Centre, Broadbeach
Cowch – Nutella Waffle Sandwich
There’s plenty of Nutella goodness at Cowch but in particular we are HUGE fans of the Nutella Waffle Sandwich with two scoops of creamy Nutella ice cream sandwiched between two Belgian waffles with a scoop of Nutella, crushed Oreo and strawberries. Yep.
Where: Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach
Bam Bam Bakehouse – Nutella Cronuts
Bam Bam’s Nutella Cronuts are the best way to start every day. The nutty spread is wrapped up in a soft buttery and sugar coated flaky croissant dough and honestly who even needs an explanation, jsut go eat some.
Where: 2519 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
All Time Coffee – Notella Doughnuts
For all the vegans out there, you don’t have to miss out! All-Time Coffee came up with an all vegan version of Nutella, No-tella. Nutella has never tasted so…healthy.
1/2478 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Paddock Bakery – Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie
Paddock’s cookies are perfection no matter which flavour you choose but the Nutella stuffed guy also boasts chocolate chips and is both soft and pull aparty and so very excellent.
Where: Hibiscus Haven, Miami
Ze Pickle – Oreogazm
A true Nutella connoisseur will go nuts for this one; it’s deep fried Oreos in doughnut batter with ice cream and Nutella drizzled on top. The dream.
Where: 1/37 Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
Words by Kirra Smith