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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.

Mr Hizola’s

Over the last year or so we have reported on many a game-changing venue swinging open their doors to offer us, the good people of the Gold Coast, tasty eats and even tastier tipples. Until now though, there has been not one single Cantonese cuisine-themed restaurant to report on but HAPPY DAYS folks, the time has come.

Opening on Thursday (June 28th), Mr Hizola’s is the new kid on the Burleigh block, brought to you by the (surely very tired) team behind Hideaway Kitchen, Bine Craft Beer Bar, Soho Place and Nightjar (love you) and it’s a good one.

A low-lit, moody vibe is what you’ll find upon entering the 100-seat space and, as you’d expect from Scott Imlach, Simone Turnbridge, Michael Craighead and the crew, there are plenty of eye-catching features. The ceiling is covered in greenery with colourful paper lanterns dotted throughout, artwork depicting traditional scenes adorn one wall and a dark, somewhat magical laneway is your new favourite spot for Insta-snaps.

Most excitingly of course, is the food. Unlike anything else on the Gold Coast, the menu is straight from the creative mind of Mr Jon Hizola, formerly of Hideaway Kitchen and Etsu Izakaya fame (plus, you know Nobu in Perth) and yes, the man behind the venues’ name.

So the deal is share-style dishes, and good luck because there are way too many to taste. Luckily there’s a banquet for $50 per person so you don’t have to choose if you don’t wanna.

Cantonese food traditionally comes from China’s Guangdong Province (south west) and it would seem the food is quite a treat.

Mr Hizola’s menu is organised into sections including Dim Sum, From the Sea, From the Coop, Noodles and Rice etc. making for ease of ordering.

From the Colds section go the Kingfish Boucit in pickled chilli and aged black vinegar and the Pig’s Ear and Jellyfish salad with celery, cucumber and coriander. We know, but trust us.

Sizzling typhoon shelter Mooloolaba prawns is a dish drawing inspiration from the Mongolian-influenced areas of northern China and it’s laden with chilli and nuts and the prawns are as big as your face. Yes please.

The Chicken Gai Jik Pang (chicken drumstick) with sweet sour sauce has been described by someone who apparently knows a thing or two on the topic as “the moistest wing you’ll ever pop in your gob”. So there’s that.

We could literally list every single thing on the menu but instead, recommend you book yourself a table under the sky garden and eat until your pants pop.

For lunch, it’s a yum cha-style situation with plenty of delicious favourites to fill your belly.

The wine list has been carefully curated with choices made to complement the dishes and of course, a creative cocktail features the usual suspects plus some Chinese-inspired treats you’re gonna love.

Oh, one more thing. The menu has been designed to ignite all five of your senses so expect fire, theatrics and plenty of good times.

Cheers Mr Hizola, see ya Thursday (and every day after that).

LOCATION: 1730 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: Open 12pm to 4pm and 5pm until late, seven days

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

Nightjar

Just as it was starting to seem like there weren’t enough nights in the week to visit all the sweet bars Burleigh has to offer, another one pops up to demand your time and your cash.

You can thank Scott Imlach and his talented team for the latest dive bar-style back alley haunt, which is guaranteed to be your daily (too far?) go-to.

In their signature style, the gang behind Bine, Hideaway and Soho have decked the place out in traditional, Sailor Jerry, tattoo-style artworks and over 50 hanging bottles that provide a low-lit, dark and debaucherous vibe.

Opening on October 6th, Nightjar will take the bar scene back to basics with a focus on the ideals of freedom-seeking, wanderluster Sailor Jerry himself. There’s no dress code, no fancy fittings and no uptight rules (high fives all round).

It’s just a bar, down an alley, where good times are the name of the game.

There’ll be live music, cold beer, creative cocktails and crazy dance offs (may have made that up but a girl can dream right).

The name Nightjar pays homage to Scott and Michael’s Kiwi roots – in NZ their fave (also made up) phrase is “let’s have a jar at the pub” which in Aussie talk translates to “let’s get a beer”.

Can anyone confirm that beers in NZ are served in jars? Asking for a friend.

It’s the good old fashioned party bar Burleigh wants and deserves and there’s absolutely no doubt that all the best things will go down behind that roller door.

So pals, let your hair down, get your tattoos out and let the good times roll.

LOCATION: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads (located next to Lockwood Bar)
HOURS: From 4pm to 12am Wednesday to Friday and 12pm to 12am Saturday and Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

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.

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