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Escape to the sanctuary that’s Pablito’s Mexican

Get the true taste of Mexico at Sanctuary Cove's newbie.

Pablito’s Mexican Cuisine and Tequilaria, Sanctuary Cove (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Pablito’s Mexican Cuisine and Tequilaria, Sanctuary Cove (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

When a new venue specialising in quality, authentic Mexican cuisine and tequila launches, we drop everything. Especially when it opens on the Northern GC because halleluiah, this end of the Coast is finally getting its quota of fresh, modern and very ‘now’ eats spots. This particular establishment, the spec-taco-lar Pablito’s Mexican Cuisine and Tequilaria, calls the luxe (yet casually cool) Sanctuary Cove home, and is the new frontrunner on your ‘restaurants to try stat’ list.

With an emphasis on fresh produce presented simply, Pablito’s serves up a very on-trend predominantly plant-based and gluten free menu, with just enough non-planty goodness to keep the meat eaters happy. Offering indoor outdoor dining with capacity to seat 45 inside and 50 outside, it looks the part of the quintessential Modern Mexican cantina. But, it also has a slight Caribbean influence and holy guacamole, is this not the union of the two coolest vibes ever and we are already obsessed.

King Prawn Lettuce Taco, Pablito’s Mexican Cuisine and Tequilaria (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
King Prawn Lettuce Taco, Pablito’s Mexican Cuisine and Tequilaria (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Speaking of obsessed, there’s a cactus at every turn which really speaks to our unrelenting fascination with these prickly must-haves. Our terracotta fetish is also well and truly nurtured, with gorgeous terracotta tables set against venetian walls and exposed concrete. The Virgin Mary herself resides within, in the form of several statues lit up with soft, flickering mood lighting creating a warm, authentic Mexican ambience. Clui Design and Northcoast Building and Maintenance certainly understood the assignment by creating a space that feels intimate and fun and best of all, like you’ve just swapped continents and stepped into Mexico City itself.

Owners Peter Baumgart and Paul Hodgkinson have outdone themselves on the big sister to their first-born Mexican restaurant, Caracara in Tugun. Looking to cut their teeth on something bigger and swisher, they patiently waited for the perfect location to present itself for a premium dining experience. Naturally when a spot at Sanctuary Cove became available, they were all over it like jalapeños on a taco.

Cocktails from Pablito's Mexican (image supplied)
Cocktails from Pablito's Mexican (image supplied)

Head chef Luke Corvin cooks up a show-stopping variety of delectable plates, designed both to share or hog all to yourself. Using only the highest quality produce and suppliers, sink your pearly whites into his signature Red Snapper Ceviche, enjoyed most when washed down with one (or more) of the many margaritas on offer. Our infatuation with this iconic Mexican cocktail is well documented, so any chance we have to knock back a few of these bad boys, we’re there before you can say muchos margis grazias. We’re ordering both the coconut margarita and the watermelon margarita because we can’t choose and why should we? The house tequila is made with wild agave and they only use organic, freshly squeezed lime in all their cocktails. Or, if you’re into sipping tequilas and mezcals (or shotting, like us circa the early naughties), there are over 50 on the menu and we dare you try them all. Actually, maybe don’t do that… because it really won’t end well for anyone involved.

Dessert Nachos, Pablito’s Mexican Cuisine and Tequilaria (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Dessert Nachos, Pablito’s Mexican Cuisine and Tequilaria (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

We’re also fans of the Crispy Mushroom Tacos with cashew cream, charred white cabbage and hibiscus onion, and the King Prawn Lettuce Tacos with Persian feta, sauerkraut, egg, peas, hibiscus onions, and Yarra Valley salmon caviar (fancy!). And let’s not forget the Chicken Burrito Bowl with Mexican rice, house beans, salsa verde and roasted red capsicum sauce and slaw. Top it all off with the Dessert Nachos with salted caramel bananas, coconut yoghurt and peanut brittle and you’ve officially died and gone to foody heaven.

So if you’re keen to escape the mass produced, sour cream laden tex-mex style of chow and experience authentic and genuine Me-hi-co, Pablito’s is the real deal.

Where: Shop 39D Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove, Hope Island
When: 5.30pm – midnight Monday – Wednesday, 11.30am – midnight Thursday, & 6.30am – midnight Friday – Sunday.

Words by Bianca Trathen.

Internal booth, Pablito’s Mexican Cuisine and Tequilaria (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Internal booth, Pablito’s Mexican Cuisine and Tequilaria (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Rosé Gelateria makes Sanctuary Cove that little bit sweeter

Rose Gelateria (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Rose Gelateria (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Over the years, Sanctuary Cove has been attracting plumes of visitors from far and wide to visit its attractive village-style selection of shops and eateries and simply while the day away. And why wouldn’t you? Luxe shops and marina-side restaurants to enjoy long lunches will have you feeling like you are living a European daydream.

For a quicker visit and to grab something a tad naughty, you were hard-pressed. Until now, that is. New kid on the block Rosé Gelateria brings you all the delicious gelato, plus much more to make afternoons or mornings spent at Sanctuary Cove even more satisfying.

The shop itself is a pastel-infused piece of art. Period. Even if you walk by and don’t feel the necessity to pop in, it’s still sure to turn heads. Cute hanging ball lights will mean checking out the selection of gelato from the wrap-around counter is a breeze, whilst booth-style seating gives you an adequate opportunity to rest your feet and savour whatever tasty goodness you might have chosen.

Rose Gelateria menu (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Rose Gelateria menu (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Having only been open for a week, the shop was thrown into the busiest week of the year for Sanctuary Cove with their annual boat show. With over 50,000 people coming through over the two days, we’re told the scooping never ceased. Now, with that behind them and balmy winter days ahead, they look forward to a slower pace and welcoming all of you lovely people when you decide to drop by.

Now, gelato-wise, these guys are casting their net far and wide by having two different suppliers: Delizia Brisbane and Everest Melbourne. Not content with just anything, the team carefully considered their options and made sure they have the very best flavours for their customers to enjoy offering crowd favourites Cookies & Cream, Mint Choc Fudge, Vanilla Bean which sit perfectly next to more exotic flavours such as Italian Pistachio, Fig & Marscapone, Vienna Coffee or Raspberry Choc — not to mention the taste tingling water-based sorbets like Lemon, Mango or Raspberry for those who like to keep things plant-based. You can rest assured whatever you get scooped here has been rigorously taste-tested!

Suppose you’re not up for anything frozen. In that case, delicious pastries and the prettiest rainbow assortment of macaroons (there’s even a popcorn flavoured one!) — from the maestros at Mark Daniels in Robina — are the perfect accompaniment to coffee. Beans are sourced from local coffee roaster Supreme in Yatala, and as well as being poured the standard way, you can also have your coffee over ice cream — afternoon affogatos are a thing, didn’t you know?

Rose Gelateria exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Rose Gelateria exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Once your tastebuds have been spoilt rotten, there’s a small selection of homewares and products for you to have a look at and then most likely take home. Organic teas from Mayde in Byron Bay and Mr Consistent cocktail mixers make the ideal gift for somebody special or if you feel the need to indulge yourself, be our guest!

There’s little doubt Rosé Gelateria is going to go down a storm here at Sanctuary Cove. By complementing nearby venues such as tapas and drinks sensation Destino, the pre-and post-dinner/lunch game has undoubtedly gone up a notch.

If you are stopping by, why not come a little earlier and stay a little while longer?

Where: Sanctuary Cove, Shop/39A Masthead Way, Hope Island

Hours: 7 days: 8am – 9pm

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Rose Gelateria interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Rose Gelateria interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

The new destination for sophisticated drinks and stunning homewares

Destino Wine & Cocktail Bar Seating Area (image supplied)
Destino Wine & Cocktail Bar outdoor seating area (image supplied)

Italian and Greek cuisine is the benchmark for sharing food with people who mean the most to you. It’s fair to say probably half the Gold Coast had some sort of love affair with Hellenika when it was open here, and yes, when it closed its Nobby Beach doors and relocated to Brisbane, we all died a little bit inside.

Sanctuary Cove has long been flying under the culinary radar for most of us, mostly for it being a little out of the way. But as exciting new venues start to eye up the area and change the hospitality landscape, a trip up north could reward you well.

Destino is the handiwork of Craig and Lisa Chilvers a couple with a confessed adoration for anything Mediterranean. After not nearly enough holidays spent in Spain, Italy and the Greek Islands, the pair envisaged an eating space where you can relax and sample some amazing drinks and food (before then buying the very same tablewares you ate with and taking them home with you).

Ever been to a restaurant and fallen in love with their glasses/cutlery/plates so much so you wished you could have taken them home with you? Well, at Destino, you can. All of the furnishings, fixtures, glassware, cutlery – amongst other homewares, are available for you to buy and take home with you.

Destino Wine & Cocktail Bar (image supplied)
Destino Wine & Cocktail Bar (image supplied)

The tapas bar come homewares store is an absolute feast for the eyes. The fit-out is a kaleidoscope of Mediterranean and Moroccan influenced features, textures and materials. Outdoor seating and low-down tables will ensure one drink may indeed turn into a few. And if we can’t make it to Europe for a while yet, an afternoon at Destino might just satiate your fix for overseas travel.

The food offering is fairly modest as there is no kitchen to speak of as such, don’t be perturbed as there’s more than enough for you to graze on and experience some great-tasting dips, breads, marinated olives and imported cheeses. This is the kind of food that will take you through an afternoon before eventually then moving on to your dinner reservation — or not!

Campos coffee will be served from first thing in the morning, and will take you all the way to cocktails from noon. A small but well-rounded drinks list has you covered with classic cocktails and a couple of house variations such as the Mykonos Mule (vodka, lemon juice, fresh lime, lemongrass syrup, lemonade and ginger beer). Wines focus on Spain, France, Italy and Greece, with some stellar examples of some European classics as well as Australian drops which you simply can’t go past.

The venue aims to incorporate its several guises into one light-filled, tranquil space where everyone can unwind. And quite frankly — we can’t argue.

Where: Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove
Hours: 6 days, 8.30 am – late (closed Tuesdays)

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Destino Wine & Cocktail Bar interior (image supplied)

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