It's off the s'kale.
It's off the s'kale.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we, the people of 2021 are more concerned with what we put in our bodies than at any other time in history. Diets and eating trends have come and gone, but the one solid dietary trend that has only gone from strength to strength is plant-based eating.
We now find ourselves with vegan options at most, if not all of our cafes, restaurants and eateries, so it was to be expected that at some point, someone was going to have that light bulb moment and open an entirely plant-based eatery. And that they did. Whilst there is a handful of venues falling under this banner in our city, you’ll no doubt be happy to learn that as of today, there is one more to add to the collection, Plants & Me of Southport!
Occupying a space on the southern end of busy Scarborough Street and only steps away from the Southport South tram stop means finding this little gem and finding your way home is not likely to cause any issue.
Once inside, you’ll feel an industrial/minimalistic vibe, but then you’ll notice these guys take their position on plants seriously too; with greenery-backed bench seating and an entire feature column dedicated to plants. But not just any plants either, rare and endangered species which in time you will be able to buy and then take home with you. Food and plants to take home in the same place — this is a new concept, people!
Great care is taken to produce a vegan menu that hinges on whole foods and using ‘mock meats’ as little as possible. A lot of work from the culinary wizards behind the scenes — with a peppering of love — has created dishes that you simply won’t find anywhere else, all tied together with a subtle infusion of Asian influence: most notably Japanese cuisine.
For example, you could start things off with Pinwheel House Gyozas with cabbage, ginger and mushrooms, before setting your sights on a Slow Cooked Japanese Curry of seasonal vegetables. Perhaps the most imaginative part of the menu is their desserts. With particular attention made to The Frozen Garden, smoked ice creams are topped with frozen (edible) botanics and sprinkled with candied mixed berries and cashew biscuit crumb. If one dish has the potential to turn anybody vegan, it has to be this one, people. Take note!
Drinks-wise, the venue is waiting for their liquor license approval — so until then, they will be operating under a BYO capacity. Fear not though, once they have the license approved, they promise to conjure up some incredibly complex and fantastic vegan cocktails just for you. And if their food menu is anything to go off, we can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Operating for breakfast, lunch and dinner and with three different menus, we can see Plants & Me on a collision course with some hungry plant eaters out there. From where we are standing, we can certainly see everyone — meat-eaters included — leaving with a smile on their face.
Where: 4/20 Scarborough St, Southport
When: Everyday 7am — 2.30pm | 5.30pm — late
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
Okay so the vegan eats movement has totally blown up on the Gold Coast, and we’re loving the ever-increasing variety of restaurants proving that plant-based fare is anything but bland-as-bruh.
If you’re looking for a list of local nosheries that can convert even the most passionate meat and meat by-product enthusiast into a bona fide vegan fare fan, read on friends….
Kuan Yin Tea House
If you’re one of those peeps who thinks eating vegan is all about tasteless rubbery tofu, get yourself down to Kuan Yin Tea House immediately! The ultimate IYKYK, this place is fast becoming a local institution with some of the best vegan eats in our ‘hood. Serving the most insanely delicious Thai inspired vegan food, do yourself a flavour (not a typo) and order the BBQ Pork Fried Rice. Now open Monday to Sunday, see you there every day and twice on Sundays!
Where: 152 Scarborough Street, Southport
One of the OG vegan restaurants on the Gold Coast, Greenhouse Canteen’s menu is as good as it gets. They’ve got a botanical bar so that you can order a selection of vegan cocktails, wine or beer and the space is always packed with good vibes. To eat, we’d go for the Jackfruit and Sour Cream Enchiladas or the Sweet n Sour Tofu Larb. Also, if you feel like eating at home, Greenhouse does takeaway and for a gastronomic gift, they even sell vouchers. Hint hint….
Where: 1916 Gold Coast Highway, Miami
It’s vegan. It’s Mexican. And ‘nuff said #BetterTogether. An all-time vegan fave on the Gold Coast for many moons, Goodness Gracias serves up plant-based Mexican food in a vibrant Palm Beach space with mexcellent service to boot. Eat-in or takeaway and choose from delicious eats like burritos, tacos, nachos and plenty of tasty sides and salads. We’re regulars here, and it’s always top-notch nosh (say that after a few margis).
Where: 1114-1116 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Blendlove started with two gals just trying to make a difference to people’s health through plant-based food. Created with love, they blend only the finest ingredients to produce a collection of whole, nutritious treats that are vegan, and free from gluten, dairy, preservatives, artificial colours, and refined sugar. Basically free from everything….except flavour! A local fave, educating the GC that raw and whole foods can be a party in your mouth. An Insta-worthy one at that!
Where: 253 Ferry Road, Southport
Lord of the Fries
If there’s one thing we can get behind, it’s a fast-food venue made up primarily of potatoes. Well colour us happy because Lord of the Fries is precisely that. Finally fries that aren’t drowned in beef tallow and juiced up with gluten, aren’t cooked in cheap’n’nasty oil or smothered in watered down tomato sauce, and haven’t been sitting in a bain-marie since the beginning of time. Praise be! Slinging vegan fries a-plenty, Lord of the Fries is also serving up Veggie Burgers, Onion Rings, Vegetarian Nuggets and Vegetarian Hot Dogs. Plus, everything is kosher and Halal. Hallelujah!
Where: Paradise Centre, 8 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise
The Hidden Cherub
Tucked away in our much-loved Miami, you’ll find laneway bar/plant-based eats venue: The Hidden Cherub. Decked out with a sleek, industrial-esque look and greenery dripping from the walls, this warehouse style restaurant is a Vegan Vibe! While the drinks here are the main event (as they should be!), the 100% vegan packed food menu is filled with delicious share plates, burgers, tacos, salads and sides. In terms of burgers, get stuck into The Californian (just trust us) and sharesies some Sticky Buffalo Wings and Beef Tacos. Mouth-watering goodness at its best.
Where: 2/29 Lemana Lane, Miami
Cardamon Pod at Southport Is a favourite amongst Gold Coasters (and influencers), offering both mouth-wateringly yum vegetarian and vegan choices. All about clean eating, the menu is lit with Insta-friendly, tastebud titillating nosh so good it’ll knock the socks off even the most discerning vegan diner. We recommend the Mumbai Wrap, Life is a Berry Peach Pancake, and the Snicker Acai Bowl because duh – Snickers. There’s also plenty of raw treats, organic coffee and gluten-free options too. All dishes are almost too pretty to eat….emphasis on ‘almost’.
Where: 3/3 Brolga Avenue, Southport
Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant
Okay it’s vegetarian, it’s vegan….and it’s YUM CHA! Nothing pleases our palette more, and the fact that this place has been around for yonks it a testament to its deliciousness. Whether you dine in or takeaway, Easy House will send your tastebuds into a tizz with the likes of Deep Fried Wontons, Steamed BBQ Pork Buns, and Pan Fried Shanghai Dumplings. Not a yum cha fan? No probs, there is also a vast array of traditional (but vegan/vego) fresh, flavour-packed Asian dishes and banquet options.
Where: 90 Markeri Street, Mermaid Beach
Doko Demo V
The Bali-vibing Doko Demo V 2.0 is even more amazing than the OG, and we are here for it! Offering an entirely vegan wholefoods-based menu, Doko Demo V is the work of Head Chef Jared Peck. Whether you’re seeking an uber tasty plant-based breakfast, lunch or dinner, this little gem is bursting with beautifully prepared dishes that are both healthy and of the eyes-are-bigger-than-your-belly variety. The Spicy Pepperoni Pizza goes down a treat, as does the No Beef Lasagne with garden salad, and the Unreal Scallopini. Wash your feed down with the Dokodemo cocktail because one must stay hydrated….
Where: 2 Sunlight Drive, Burleigh Waters
Umm with ‘Midori’ in the title, this place immediately had our attention. A Reedy Creek based trove of plant-based Japanese food, Izakaya Midori is a winner winner vegan dinner. There are dishes like Spicy Lime Karagee, Japanese Curry Rice, Midori Ramen (not the booze just to clarify), and Smoked Edamame to name a few. You can also grab things to takeaway and the service is next level. Sold? Of course you are!
Where: 50 Woodland Drive, Reedy Creek
Words by Bianca Trathen.
The Gold Coast restaurant scene has been quick to catch up to the increasing number of people jumping on board the vegetable train. Thankfully these days, we need not venture far to find our plant-based fix, with a plethora of veg-vibing establishments all vying for our affections.
As the masters of mind-blowingly good meat-free eats, these veritable veggie experts are in a legendary legume of their own.
While we may be guilty of throwing the word ‘institution’ around a little liberally at times, Cardamom Pod (and it’s crew of certifiable whole-food wizards) is a name known the coast over as a haven for plant-based folk and those craving nourishing nosh.
While we sadly bid adieu to the original Broadbeach location (and then a fond ‘hola’ to Nude Amigos in the same spot – coincidentally also offering a considered assortment of vibrant vego options) – thankfully the name lives on through the second Pod residing at Brickworks Ferry Road. Get your fill of creative and colourful all-day eats such as the Buddah Bowl, Blinged Out Avo Benny, and if we really must choose – the French Toast *never* fails. There’s a reason this place has been around for years, go discover it for yourself.
Where: 3/3 Brolga Avenue, Southport
The delightful folk at Blendlove believe nothing is worth eating, if it hasn’t been created with love and let it be known that everything they create there, is worth eating. Co-founders Riki-Lee and Sharlene pride themselves on serving the tastiest, freshest and healthiest plant-based food on the Gold Coast. They whip up their treats in-house without the use of refined sugars, artificial colours or preservatives. Plus, keeping us plied with our daily Blackboard coffee fix earns them a bunch of extra brownie points in our books (guilt-free, sugar-free ones, of course).
Where: 253 Ferry Road, Southport
Mermaid’s middle-eastern eatery, Falafels, has since expanded from its initial exclusively meat-free menu, but its primarily plant-based roots remain (as do the legendary falafels we know and love, praise be chickpea).
This small but mighty neighbourhood noshery specialises in fresh and flavour-packed portable bites with a mediterranean focus – all plied with secret-recipe sauces, dips and house pickled veg. The famous hand-crafted falafels have a rep as the best you can get your mitts (and mouth) around on the Coast. Available any which way you like – Plate, Pocket or Salad – aka stuffed in a pillow of pita, or perhaps piled atop a throne of veg, tahini and hummus (or not, for the #hummushaters… we’re told they’re out there… #blasphemy).
A trip to Falafels will give you allll the feel-good feels (namely satisfaction).
Where: Shop 2c/1 Lakeview Blvd, Mermaid Waters
Temple of Spices
Ahhh, vego curry, how we love thee. A wholesome, hearty, hug in a bowl – and for many of us, the gateway dish to discovering that meat-free can be mind-blowingly good, yes? Mermaid’s resident spice slingers, Temple of Spices has quite the rep for treating local diners to incredible Indian eats – including a dedicated menu of main-character vibing veg/vegan dishes to tempt anyone and tantalise every tum. Quell those cravings and chow down on chutneys, coconut rice and your choice of protein swimming in creamy, spice-laden curry – your tastebuds will be happy as Lassi. And for anyone considering skipping the Vego butter? That gets a big yeah, naan from us.
Looking to bolster your meat-free meal with an all-out feast? Spice up your night and split one of the plant-based banquet packs with your Dahl-ing (thank us later).
Where: 2468 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Tian Ran Vegetarian
Meaning nature in English, Tian Ran provides the purest of vegetarian and vegan Asian cuisine. Their meals are free from meat, dairy, alcohol, garlic, onions and MSG and they also offer a gluten-free menu. The team are passionate about providing quality food and make their meat substitutes with soy, wheat, yam, seaweed and mushrooms. Serving wholesome helpings of healthful eats made with love, that in no way compromise on flavour or satisfaction – and impressively so, considering the restricted ingredient repertoire. Don’t believe us? Just check their reviews #amustvisit.
Where: 2468 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
The Milkman’s Daughter
The funkiest little vegetarian joint around is Mermaid’s The Milkman’s Daughter, tucked away on Alfred St and serving up some of the very best (and most stacked vego food). The interior is as cool as they come filled with cascading greenery and terrariums built into tables, you’ll be Insta-snapping up a storm. The entirely vegetarian menu is made up of both all day breakfast and lunch options and my word, will you be hard up to make a choice.
The Farmers Breakfast is a perennial fave among frequents – but you ‘batter’ believe the loaded Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, piled with vanilla turmeric custard, granola, walnuts, passionfruit, berries, pistachios, lemon zest has to be one of the most bonkers brunches going (in the best of ways).
Where: 2/43 Alfred Street, Mermaid Beach
To the uninitiated, the Dalas Kitchen specialty of salads, sodas and sweets seems to strike the balance of naughty and nice eats – but as it turns out, its just nice.. and nicer – with the latter comprising of sparkling water topped homemade soda syrups and raw sweets.. so get amongst it guilt-free, y’all.
One of adulthoods greatest tastebud revelations remains that salad can be both nourishing and oh-so-satisfying (for those of us who grew up knowing ‘salad’ as sad iceberg and token tomato slices slapped on your plate, anyway). Dalas Kitchen is of course, serving up the former – Nobby’s wholesome eats dispensary delivers our daily veg-vibing, summery side-dish and salad fix, all 100% ready to tuck right in. Because sometimes we need a star salad without that whole cleaning-every-pot-and-pan-we’ve-ever-owned song and dance, right? #exhausting. So go on, grab some of that goodness to-go and get in that daily 2&5 in the most soul satisfying of ways.
Where: 2247 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach and Pavilions, Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach
A crew that’s especially keen on their greens, delivering crafted plates of plant focused, whole food eats that are also downright delicious. Their foodie philosophy of ‘sometimes naughty, mostly nice’ – is an approach we can wholeheartedly support, especially since they also happen to serve a killer marg #ourkryptonite (and also something we get around with gusto).
In their ever-tasty eight year tenure, they’ve amassed an army of loyal local fans (both vegans and meat eaters alike) that would follow them *almost* anywhere for their flavour-filled fare. Which is lucky, since they recently relocated little further south, making the move from Miami to Talle… and yeah, we can manage that – anything for our Cauliflower Wings (and coconut marg, lbh) fix.
Where: 268 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Tallebudgera
It’s a vegetarian institution on the Coast and if you haven’t been there, you haven’t lived. With everything from Creamy potato bake, saucy layers of veg-laden Lasagne to an array of salads and desserts, there’s always something tasty to try and a line up of people waiting to get in on the goodness. Eat in or takeaway and definitely don’t forget to indulge in the lemon, mint and ginger refresher, it’ll make your day.
Where: 20 James Street, Burleigh Heads and 72 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Psst – specifically seeking eateries sans animal products entirely? Check out our lineup of the best vegan GC restaurants here.
Words by Kellie Leader.
It may be home to the Gold Coast’s bustling business district but Southport can also boast a huge array of incredible eateries, culture and general good times.
We’ve rounded up 15 things locals love about the place and we reckon you might enjoy them too.
In no particular order, enjoy.
There is many a good time to be had at Southport Sharks including dining at one of the delicious dish-packed restaurants, drinking at Aviary Rooftop Bar overlooking the city, joining in on one of their classes at the Health + Fitness Centre or getting involved in one of their many good time events. The possibilities are endless. It’s the perfect spot for a family event or take the crew for a Sunday afternoon session. Happy days no matter what.
Where: Olsen Avenue and Musgrave Avenue, Southport
Southport Yacht Club
Waterfront dining is the name of the game at Southport Yacht Club with two venues to choose from and stunning scenes from whichever you choose. You’re also welcome to just sit back and kick up your heels with a cold beverage or two while gazing lovingly at one of the many beautiful yachts in the marina. It’s one of the Coast’s best locations and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Where: 1 MacArthur Parade, Main Beach
Zero Latency is a free-roam, virtual reality experience like no other. With up to eight players per game, you’ll have the BEST time fighting zombies, exploring mystical places and challenging your friends on space stations. All you need to do is put on the VR headset, strap into the backpack and pickup the controller. Get 10% off here. It really is so good.
Where: 34 Smith Street, Southport
The Coast’s first vodka distillery opened in Southport a few short months ago and what a treat. The family-owned business are whipping up three types of vodka, two types of gin and even a couple of beers on the premises and you can pop in to grab a bottle to go, or you can sit down and enjoy a cocktail and a charcuterie board and spend a bit of time. Very cool.
Where: Unit 7/55 Bailey Crescent, Southport
Who doesn’t love a good dive bar. Particularly one that doubles as a live music venue and has a huge range of your favourite beers on offer (and some you may not have heard of). Head in there to discover some new music from both local and interstate bands and if you’re in the mood for a party, which we know you are, you can hire the space out for your next one.
Where: 44A Nerang Street, Southport
Mr PP’s Deli & Rooftop Bar
On the ground floor of the building you’ll find the deli section of the establishment, with an array of delicious meats and cheeses that will be brought together in platter form for your feasting pleasure. Upstairs, the rooftop bar boasts tasty cocktails, even more delicious eats and views across the city. It’s a real good time.
Where: 43 Nerang Street, Southport
To put it bluntly, you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted a Randy Wallhole bagel. There are eight flavours to choose from which means you have multiple per day if you so choose. Go for the Pulled Bas first up, it’s got Smokey BBQ pulled beef, peri mayo and apple slaw. Wash it down with some of the best coffee on the Coast and be on your merry way.
Where: 4/21 Nind Street, Southport
A newbie amongst the Southport bunch, Boudoir Lounge is the very best spot for a tasty brunch with the girls or simply a few cocktails after work. Found on Como Crescent, it quickly became the go to spot for those looking for some delicious eats, in a sweet setting and with unique sips of course. Inside there’s also a hair and beauty bar so you can get fabulous before you head out on the town. Perfect.
Where: 410/1 Como Crescent, Southport
Whether you’re four or 40, there’s tons of fun to be had at Broadwater Parklands. For starters, you can sit and stare out at the yachts you’ll never set foot on. Then, there’s the bouncy pillow (maybe don’t go on there without a child), a kiddies train, a water playground and weekly events from theatre shows to foodie markets. See, fun.
Where: Marine Parade, Southport
D Point Ten
Oh donuts, how we love you. D Point Ten can be found on Stevens Street and, in keeping with the general donut vibe, is a little hole in the wall space pumping out the freshest of donuts we may have ever excitedly shoved into our greedy mouths. In all the best flavours no less. Go the Ferrero Rocher for sure.
Where: 6/1 Stevens Street, Southport
The delightful folk at Cardamon Pod are serving up delightful dishes with a focus on clean eating but of the prettiest variety. They offer vegan and gluten free options for breakfast and lunch with a side of organic coffee and vegan desserts. All very delicious and it’s very hard to stop at just one thing or not to post on your Instagram.
Where: Brickworks Centre, 3/3 Brolga Avenue, Southport
Gold Coast Aquatic Centre
Southport’s centre of swimming is something for all of us to be proud of. It’s as pretty as a collection of swimming pools can be and, as it was home to all the Commonwealth Games water activities, it’s world class. The architecture is sleek and there’s a training room featuring pits filled with foam for the divers to practice in.
Where: Marine Parade, Southport
Imagine being wrongly accused of murder, chained to a wall and having to rely on your friends’ detective skills to free you. Who you gonna call? Welcome to Escape Hunt, Southport’s brain bending game guaranteed to test your problem solving skills like they’ve never been tested before. There’s a few scenarios you might be faced with, all of which involve solving a mystery with a set of intricate clues. It’s the most fun you can have inside a locked room. Make sure to take your smart friends. Grab 10% off here.
Where: 2/162 Scarborough Street, Southport
Where to start. There are SO many excellent places to peruse at the Brickworks starting with Ferry Rd Market where you can nab yourself everything from beautiful flowers to the freshest breads, seafood and fruit and veggies galore. God it’s good. Within the Centre, there’s also stunning homewares, fashion and design stores and health and beauty services. Oh, there’s also always some really cool events.
Where: Ferry Road, Southport
Words by Kirra Smith