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Paloma Wine Bar is love at first sip

Paloma Wine Bar interior (image courtesy of @kennysmithshoots)
Paloma Wine Bar interior (image courtesy of @kennysmithshoots)

With all of the excellent and plentiful eateries on offer on the Gold Coast these days, it can sometimes be hard to take your pick. Options. Options. Options. And for the most part, we must all agree; it’s a brilliant thing. But when you want to slow things down a nudge and enjoy just the simple things — executed with utter finesse — there’s a new kid on the block we just know you’re going to love. Burleigh’s newly opened Paloma Wine Bar is your new sophisticated hangout spot — and you’re going to be smitten.

But who is behind the venue? For those who are no stranger to the much-lauded and hatted Restaurant Labart, you’ll be aware that husband and wife team Alex and Karla Munoz Labart are some serious hospitality veterans from Sydney who made the sea change to West Street Burleigh Heads in 2018. And for that, the Gold Coast will always be thankful. However, their focus has now turned on creating a James Street wine bar that is fun, vibrant, and at its core, just a simple place for people to enjoy fantastic wine and equally brilliant small plates.

The space takes over from former venue Burleigh Bar & Bites and, through the pair’s love of decor, has been transformed into a haven of clean coastal chic with oceanic blue leather banquettes, dune sand white walls, and soft khaki green tiling. Hand-blown light fixtures from Currumbin’s Soktas punctuate the entire setting with classy low-level lighting, perfect for staring lovingly into your glass of wine in hand.

Alex & Karla from Paloma Wine Bar & Labart (image courtesy of @kennysmithshoots)
Alex & Karla from Paloma Wine Bar & Labart (image courtesy of @kennysmithshoots)

When it comes to a wine list of breadth and approachability, you’ll be hard pushed to find anything else similar on the Coast. A no bars approach has been taken with the offering, affording the customer a vast range of styles, producers, and countries to choose from to spoil their tastebuds with. Maybe a zesty and crisp Savignin (Sauvignon Blanc’s cousin) from the hilly Jura region of France will quench that Friday knock-off thirst, or perhaps a sultry and smooth Pinot Noir from Victoria’s Gippsland will take the edge off a hectic weekend of festive shopping.

Take your time here to explore the list and you’ll be rewarded with some absolute treasures, including a robust collection of natural style (skin contact) wines and pet nats (naturally sparkling), which if you haven’t tried, you should at least give a go. For those giving the wine a miss, you’ll still be catered for with a solid selection of signature cocktails (the bar is named after the refreshing tequila/grapefruit cocktail afterall), a well-stocked back bar, with a spattering of local craft beers.

Small dishes will complement the drinks forward focus here, but certainly not lacking any creativity or flavour. Think European-inspired and Mediterranean splashed dishes such as Burrata, white anchovies and peppers on toast, and Beef tartare with tarragon and anchovy vinaigrette. Oh and we’ve even heard a whisper that their beloved lockdown, La Burger, is set to make its comeback to Paloma. Be sure you have those stretchy pants within reach, folks!

Wine offering from Paloma Wine Bar (image courtesy of @kennysmithshoots)
Wine offering from Paloma Wine Bar (image courtesy of @kennysmithshoots)

Chef and co-owner Alex Munoz Labart tells us this, ‘Paloma is a neighbourhood wine bar. Pop in for a pre or post-dinner drink or come early and settle in for the night. We want you to treat it as your own, get to know our team and make it your home away from home”.

With such a stellar line-up of drinks and fabulous flavour laden dishes on offer, we doubt you’ll need any further encouragement.

When: Wednesday – Friday 3pm – late & Weekends 1pm – late
Where: 12 James Street, Burleigh Heads

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Burrata, white anchovy, peppers, on toast (image courtesy of @kennysmithshoots)
Burrata, white anchovy, peppers, on toast (image courtesy of @kennysmithshoots)

Restaurant Labart

Photo credit: Andy MacPherson
Photo credit: Andy MacPherson

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.

The end.

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.

Alex Munoz Labart

Alex Munoz Labart is a relative newcomer to our sparkly city but, in the year since he arrived and brought Burleigh’s exceptional venue Restaurant Labart into our lives, he’s made quite the impact on the local dining scene.

At a time when the hospitality world is experiencing so much upheaval Alex, his wife Karla and the Labart team have come up with an idea to create takeaway dishes (of the same high quality) rather than opening their venue to the public.

We sat down for a chat with Alex about restaurant Labart’s ethos of sustainability, seasonality and simplicity and how this new plan is going to work.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Exactly one year. My wife Karla and I moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney in April last year to open Labart.

What do you love most about living here?
We live in Burleigh and the ocean plays a big part in why we moved here. I love the Gold Coast’s sunshine and the beach weather that sticks around for the majority of the year. That, coupled with the amazing local community and slower pace of life. It doesn’t get much better.

Talk to us about the initiative you’ve just put in place to provide takeaway dishes rather than having diners eats in…
Labart at home will be available for pick up from the restaurant from Wednesday to Sunday afternoon and meals will range from $20-$30. An online ordering and payment system will ensure minimal physical contact and Labart’s high quality hygiene standards will remain in place, as well as the introduction of additional sanitization methods. We want to nourish people in a time when the world needs it the most. Dishes will be rustic, comfort food as we head into the winter months. Think Chicken coq au vin + mash potato, Free-range pork, chickpea + pumpkin casserole and beef bone broth minestrone. We’ll also have an offering of desserts and sides. It will be the same Labart quality to enjoy at home. Stay tuned for delivery to be announced soon.

Tell us about your career thus far?
I’m lucky to have worked with some of the best chefs in Australia like Mark Best and Brent Savage. When I was starting out, there were enough restaurants in Australia pushing the boundaries that meant young chefs like myself didn’t have to go overseas to learn. Putting myself in a fine dining environment early on really set the bar for where I wanted my cooking career to head.

Have you always known you wanted to be a chef?
Cooking has always been part of my life from a young age. My oldest brother is a chef and he pushed me into the kitchen knowing I’d love everything about it.

Why did you think the Gold Coast needed a restaurant like Restaurant Labart?
We’re starting to see a lot of people relocating to the Gold Coast from bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne. They’re used to dining in restaurants of a certain level and we saw an opportunity to offer that on the Gold Coast. We wanted to give locals a restaurant with a high-end level of food and wine but without stuffy, formal service. For us, Labart is the kind of restaurant we love to eat at and we saw an opportunity for the Coast to experience that too.

You just released an autumn menu, what do we need to know about it?
Our menu is small but changes almost daily based on the high quality produce our local suppliers have available on the day. The change from summer into autumn means we have access to new season produce like pine mushrooms and artichokes. Keep an eye out for new dishes featuring these seasonal vegetables as they make their way onto the menu.

Tell us about your venues’ ethos…
In one sentence – Labart champions sustainability, seasonality and simplicity while hospitality remains paramount.

What are your thoughts on the Gold Coast’s dining scene in general?
The Gold Coast dining scene has grown up a lot in the past few years. There’s a move away from cheap eats and overly-themed venues and more of a demand for proper restaurants offering excellent service alongside technique-driven food and drinks. It’s an exciting time to be a Gold Coast local.

What do you have planned for the remainder of 2019?
We have some exciting collaboration dinners coming up with friends of ours in the wine and spirits world and we’re working on a line-up of interstate guest chefs who will be cooking one-off dinners at Labart.

Favourites on the Coast:
Beach: Burleigh – of course!
Restaurant: Iku Yakitori Bar
Bar: Lockwood Bar
How does your weekend usually look: Saturday and Sunday are work days for us but I make sure I still find time for the beach. The day normally begins by crossing the road for a surf, followed by breakfast on the balcony with my wife before I head into the restaurant.

13 Gold Coast venues with exceptional wine offerings

La Bella Cellar interior (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
La Bella Cellar interior (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

When it comes to wine growing and producing, whether you know it or not, Australia is up there in the world with some of the best. And although we might not have the legacy and history of our European cousins, we still knock out some fantastic drops!

Whether you’re a fan of Euro classics or enjoying wines from our very own Terra Australis, we think a well-rounded wine list, and therefore drinking experience, should be celebrated. So next time you feel like the wine selection should be just as good as the food, we’ve gone to great lengths to find the Gold Coast venues with great wine lists and cellars where you can sip to your heart’s content.

La Bella Cellar
If you haven’t come across this humble ode to all things Italian and delicious, then we suggest you go about booking yourself a table pronto. One sentiment many people share through gastronomy is to match a country’s food with their wine. Here at La Bella Cellar, you have countless opportunities to do so with a carefully curated list displaying hard-to-find Italian regions and varietals. But if you feel like Australian wine is just as good — and it is — they have a clever section where you can experience the same grapes and styles but from good ol’ Straya.
Where: 9/3 Deodar Drive, Burleigh Heads

Nineteen at The Star (image supplied)
Nineteen at The Star (image supplied)

Nineteen at The Star
A five-star venue overlooking the ocean and 19 floors up is the perfect place to enjoy an exceptional wine, and Nineteen at The Star is precisely that. Not to mention they have a walk-in, glass window wine room filled with hundreds of bottles of the very finest wines from across the world. Of course, the team at Nineteen are absolute stars when it comes to wine knowledge, not to mention pairing said wines with their dishes. Treat yourself to a delicious time at Nineteen; it’s pure magic.
Where: The Star Gold Coast, Casino Drive, Broadbeach

Palette
Combining art and food in a brand-new opulent setting, HOTA’s Palette restaurant hinges its menu closely on what is featured within the current exhibition in the adjacent gallery, meaning you’ll be eating with your eyes as well as your mouth. Executive Chef Dayan Hartill-Law believes strongly in freshness and seasonality, mirrored by their Australian/New Zealand dominant wine list, showcasing some fantastic producers in our own backyard. If you feel the need to keep things as close to home as possible, you’ll just adore their ‘local list’ with wines exclusively from nearby Granite Belt and Mount Tamborine regions.
Where: Ground Floor, HOTA Gallery, HOTA, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Social Eating House + Bar
A casual, fine dining venue in the heart of Broadbeach, Social Eating House + Bar is the perfect place for an-award winning feast plus a glass of wine or two to match. The wine menu is broken down into easy-to-choose sections, including light and aromatic whites, light to medium body reds and bigger shiraz, to name a few. The team are highly knowledgeable and can certainly help you find something to suit your tastes.
Where: Shop 137-138, 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach

The Glenelg Public House (image supplied)
The Glenelg Public House (image supplied)

The Glenelg Public House
Long loved by Gold Coasters as the place for sophisticated home-style cooking and consistently excellent service. And it isn’t just the wine list you should be excited about; start things off with one of their superbly made house cocktails, and you’ll peruse the sizeable collection of select wines a little easier. If you’re a fan of red wine and matching it up to a melt-in-your-mouth steak, this is the place where all your dreams can — and will — come true.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

The Wine Barrel
As you might expect, a restaurant called The Wine Barrel has quite a selection of wine for your tasting pleasure. The Mudgeeraba gem boasts one of the very best wine lists around, and the gurus behind the bar will ensure, yours is an experience to remember. From Margaret River to Tuscany and sparkling to sherry, there’s sure to be a tipple that’ll tickle your tastebuds (and the food is the goods too). We love this place!
Where: 8/59 Railway Street, Mudgeeraba

Glass Dining & Lounge Bar
The shimmering waters and reflective hulls of nearby superyachts hopefully won’t dazzle your eyes too much when you open the drinks menu at Main Beach’s Glass Dining & Lounge Bar. Take in the extensive collection of worldly drops, and you’ll realise there is great emphasis on stellar Champagne and Australian Shiraz. So, how does starting with freshly shucked oysters and finishing off with free-range grass-fed steak sound to you — because from where we’re sitting, it sounds marvellous.
Where: Marina Mirage, 74 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach

Orzo (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Orzo (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Orzo
Firmly settled as a prime lunching spot, Orzo can be found at The Oracle Boulevard Broadbeach, serving up exquisite modern seafood dishes and, of course, a wine list to match. As you might expect, the wines are of the Italian variability from various regions, and each is stunning. Whites, reds, rosés and sparklings, anything you could want to sip, and each paired perfectly with the impressive menu. Ask the team for their recommendation and prepare to be dazzled by the goodness.
Where: 1N-02, The Oracle, 12 Charles Avenue, Broadbeach

Jafa
Up Southport way is the stunning little space Jafa – a wine and pizza bar boasting quite the unique array of vinos that pair perfectly with the menu. Have you ever tried an orange wine? There’s some on the menu here; trust us, it’s amazing. Not to mention an impressive array of reds from Syrah to Nebbiolo and some we’ve never encountered.
Where: 7/253 Ferry Road, Southport 

Destino
Suppose your heart misses the Mediterranean Sea, as ours does. Might we suggest you take a visit to Sanctuary Cove and drop anchor at this perfect, white-washed afternoon grazing spot? Enjoy the dappled light and spoil yourself with cocktails, select dips, and imported cheeses — but make sure you have selected a suitable glass of wine to go alongside these morsels. Choose something delectable and European like French Provencal Rosé or Spanish Tempranillo, and imagine you’re on the Amalfi, even just for a short while!
Where: 38C Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove

Gemellini (image supplied)
Gemellini (image supplied)

Gemellini
An institution adored by a league of perpetually hungry fans out there on our coastline. Gemellini (and the OG Gemelli) has been bringing classy Italian mealtimes to Nobby Beach for a little over five years now and shows no sign of slowing up. For wine lovers out there, you’re in for a treat. If you go by the glass, you can match great examples of European classics with their drool-worthy handmade pasta dishes. If you feel like delving into their hefty bottle selection, you can sip away and sample the best pizzas this side of Naples: sure to take you straight to Italian cuisine nirvana!
Where: 2247 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Jimmy Wah’s
The Burleigh Heads gem has a carefully crafted wine list of some of the most iconic producers around, along with small and innovative winemakers making their own unique type of magic. Most of the list is available by the glass, so you’re invited to sample something unique from around the world. Each tipple is a perfect match to the exceptional modern Vietnamese food menu. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of spending time at Jimmy Wah’s, they simply must be next on your list.
Where: 1724 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Moo Moos
Often touted as the best steak restaurant on the Gold Coast, if you’re in need to satisfy the carnivore within you, then look no further. Indulge your thirst for something more refined and work your way through their vast vintage and non-vintage Champagne collection and start a lunch/dinner you won’t forget in a hurry. And if you need a follow up, their list is extensive and informs the reader on styles and grapes with a handy little introduction to each section.
Where: 2685 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Jimmy Wah's (image supplied)
Jimmy Wah's (image supplied)
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