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The Black Sheep Espresso Baa

Coolangatta’s quirkiest oceanfront café, The Black Sheep Espresso Baa, is changing things up, introducing some tasty new menu treats and another venue soon to be open in Currumbin’s industrial district.

The Cooly space is a skinny, hole in the wall decked out with weathered wood, surfing snaps and what may be the happiest crew on the Coast getting things done down the back. Best of all, the sparkling Coolangatta sea shines across the street. Once you’ve been, you’ll probably understand that The Black Sheep Espresso Baa is now your new home, best make yourself comfortable.

Back to the menu – overheard more than once within the hour were the words “the food is so good here” and indeed it is, particularly the new additions. Here’s a couple of must-trys.

Ever considered a roast for breakfast? Give Granny Garner’s Lamb a go. It’s a good old-fashioned herb marinated lamb shoulder with traditional sweet potato, leek and capsicum hash, roasted baby beets, spinach, Persian feta, a poached egg and balsamic reduction. It’s just like your Nan used to make, except for breakfast (and better – sorry Nan).

Catering to the ever-increasing number of vegos among us is the Uncle Cupcakes Mushrooms Eh Bro made with marinated seasonal mushrooms (so many different kinds guys) and truffle mayo, shaved Parmesan, brown rice, a poached egg and a parsley citrus dressing. Oh and you get a dollar off if you order in a Kiwi accent. Churr.

Tasty and fun, what more could you want.

With plans to go global, the Currumbin venue is the first of a few in the works for owner Dinesh and his team. Soon to be open on Traders Way, it will be trade at night too, a first for the Black Sheep brigade.

The team are of course passionate about coffee and they’re keen to introduce a few new concepts to their repertoire including more single origin beans and barista-fave, pour overs. For those who have no idea what pour overs are, it’s a simple concept with delicious results. It basically involves pouring water over and through the coffee grounds to extract the flavours. Try one and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.

The Black Sheep Espresso Baa have managed to create a vibrant, organised chaos-style culture that makes them one of Cooly’s most-loved treasures and lucky for us, the rest of the Coast is soon to get on board with those good vibes too.

LOCATION: Underneath The Strand, Marine Pde, Coolangatta
HOURS: Form 5am to 3pm daily

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

New: That Blue House

Beach bums and baby mamas rejoice, there’s a new spot in Cooly to grab your post-surf, post-walk latte and it ticks all the right boxes.

That Blue House, literally a big blue house on Dutton Street, opened a mere two weeks ago and already has locals flocking to sample the wholesome dishes and tasty raw treats.

Coolangatta’s latest is just a 200 metre walk from the beach making it the perfect place for your first turmeric latte of the day or lunch after a morning soaking up the sunshine.

It’s open and airy with a fresh sea breeze wafting through the deck for those who prefer to dine outdoors on those balmy Gold Coast days (read: every day).

Dishes are wholesome and fresh, with a few cheeky sweet ones thrown in for good measure eg. French Toast like you’ve never seen topped with honey cinnamon mascarpone, grilled banana and edible flowers.

Add a little bit of Mexico to your morning with a Breakfast Tostada. It’s a soft tortilla with fresh tomato salsa, bacon, chorizo, avocado smash and cheese topped with a free-range friend egg, lime and hot sauce. Hola!

Corn fritters with a chilli twist are the third standout dish served with avocado, spinach, house-made chipotle mayonnaise and a balsamic glaze.

What are you waiting for, walk those sandy feet over to your new Cooly favourite quick smart. It’s the one with all the good vibes flowing out.

HOURS: 6.30am to 4pm.

LOCATION: 5 Dutton Street, Coolangatta.

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

15 reasons locals love Coolangatta

Rooftop of The Pink Hotel, Coolangatta (Image: © 2017 The Undercurrent)
Rooftop of The Pink Hotel, Coolangatta (Image: © 2017 The Undercurrent)

Coolangatta is our southernmost suburb and an uncomplicated little town. Apart from when in summer (and outside lockdowns), you can travel between two time zones — by simply crossing the street!

Time travelling aside, Coolangatta has long been loved for its laidback, beachside vibes and of course, pumping surf when the elements align and the swell fills in. These days, there is a multitude of reasons to visit other than amazing beaches and world-class waves. These include outstanding food venues, lively bars and a few other businesses worthy of your attention. So here are some worthy reasons for a nip into Cooly town.

Have a beachside coffee at Vanilla Lily
Quite possibly Coolangatta’s prettiest cafe, Vanilla Lily is serving up solid coffees and fresh eats in a beautiful setting opposite Greenmount Beach. Chill with the local community who love this hangout and enjoy the delectable fare. Our pick is the Avocado Toast with sliced radish, dried chilli flakes, pomegranate and drizzled with raw honey and lemon on a slice of sourdough.
Where: Shop 2, 110 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Avocado Toast, Vanilla Lily (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Avocado Toast, Vanilla Lily (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Drink a beer at the Coolangatta Hotel
The Cooly Hotel is an absolute must-do. This well-known bar is opposite the town’s main stretch of sand and is often the place folks find themselves towards the latter part of the day. The attractions are world-class live music and great vibes aplenty. Pull up a chair and make an afternoon of it with salt-licked breezes blowing and uninterrupted beach views.
Where: Corner Warner Street & Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Enjoy some good food at Choofas Smokehouse & Seafood
Conveniently located on the town’s main street, the guys at Choofas offer some exceptional fresh and cooked seafood alongside BBQ style smoked meats, ribs, buffalo wings, burgers, steak, chicken and salads able to fill all hungry-bellies. The BBQ smoked meats are rubbed with Choofas own dark dry rub, then cooked long and slow to ensure tenderness and flavour. Choofas Horn Bar is also stocked with over 60 top brand rums, otherwise enjoy a cold beer on tap while overlooking Coolangatta beach as the sun goes down.
Where: 150 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Grab a pie from the Coolangatta Pie Shop
This iconic Gold Coast pie shop has been around for over 50 years, so it’s no wonder they’re serving up some of the tastiest pies around. You can also get some outrightly delicious caramel slices while you’re at it. Perfect for a mid-morning fuel up or after a big afternoon session of surfing. Fun fact: they’re open 24 hours on weekends.
Where: 50 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Francie's Pizzeria (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)
Francie's Pizzeria (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)

Eat pizza at Francie’s Pizzeria
Francie’s is some of the best pizza you’ll ever sample, so without hesitation, it quickly became the local’s favourite pizza bar. As purely a walk-in and no reservations style venue, swing by ahead of the crowd for delicious and inventive toppings. Our pick is the Pears Brosnan: Gorgonzola, pear, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella. YUM.
Where: 2/102 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Take a stroll through The Strand
The Strand at Coolangatta is a great respite from all the action at the beach. Filled with all you retail needs (ALDI, Woolies etc), dining (the views from the upstairs restaurants are outstanding) and entertainment (hello Timezone and Cooly’s only cinema). Spend some time strolling around the boutique shops in the air-con; you’re sure to find something you love here.
Where: 72-80 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Scoop your way through all the flavours at Ottimo
Ottimo serves up great coffee and makes all of their moreish gelatos in-house, but why are their plethora of dazzling flavours so damn good? Likely because the owner and head gelato maker Davide is Italian and has studied for a diploma from the Gelato University of Carpigiani — we didn’t make this up, it’s true!
Where: 18/52 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Ottimo Gelato (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Ottimo Gelato (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Release your inner child at Timezone
Have the heavens opened up? Or are you simply up for a bit of fun? Timezone Coolangatta features full-sized bowling lanes, over 200 video games, dodgem cars and laser skirmish. Not just one for the kids!
Where: Level 1, 72-80 Marine Parade, The Strand, Coolangatta

Start your day with brekky at South East Espresso
A Cooly favourite for a tasty breakfast and excellent poured Paradox coffee, find South East Espresso tucked a block back from the majestic Rainbow Beach. It’s the ideal spot to satisfy those early morning hankerings, and if you fancy visiting again (which you will after a surf), they’re open for lunch too.
Where: 5 Dutton Street, Coolangatta

Indulge in an Italian feast at Little Cooly
Little Cooly is serving up some mind-blowing handmade pasta alongside a 100-strong Italian wine list that reads like a love letter to Italy itself. If it’s date night, look no further — and if you’re desperate for great pasta, well they have you covered on all bases. In an ode to the local area, dishes have been named after Gold Coast icons and suburbs and shine a light on local produce, for instance The Snapper Rocks features Tweed River prawns, mango, cashews and avocado or The Greenmount features Bangalow bacon, spicy chorizo, a fried egg and mozzarella.
Where: Level 1, Shop 120/72-80 Marine Parade, The Strand, Coolangatta

Little Cooly signage (image supplied)
Little Cooly signage (image supplied)

Get your art on at Maverick Hair & Art Studio
Pop into this tucked away gallery for a fabulous hair spruce up or to enjoy some fresh local art including that of Cooly local Byron Coathup. You’re sure to find sweet, locally designed souvenirs to take home. Your favourite local brand, The Undercurrent is stocked here too. Grab a Cooly tee to remember your time.
Where: First Floor, 1/17 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Take in the view at Greenmount Beach Surf Club
With unsurpassed views in a northerly direction, you can take in everything overlooking the spectacular Greenmount Beach right up to the skyline of Surfers Paradise and, on some days, beyond. If the surf is good, you can also be entertained by surfers as they jostle with each other and generally tear waves apart — the level here is high. Our favourite is an icy schooner in hand and an amber sunset: perfection.
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Eat a burger at Eddie’s Grub House.
Rock ‘n roll meets fried chicken, burgers and whiskey: does it get any better than that? Get a mouthful of naughty but nice American classics in this soul food dive bar. They regularly have live music and karaoke nights and are one of the best spots to catch up with mates before a night on the town.
Where: 171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Eddie's Grub House (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)
Eddie's Grub House (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)

Shop local at Cooly’s Beachside Markets
On every second and fourth Sunday of the month, Queen Elizabeth Park comes alive with plenty of local traders selling anything from raw produce to clothing and accessories. The perfect place to take a stroll with a coffee in hand and the sun on your face — be prepared to spend some money.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta

Have a sunset cocktail at Moxy’s Rooftop Bar
This Griffith Street rooftop bar is always packed with sunset and weekend revellers sipping on cocktails living their best lives, and this should include you. Regular DJs and insta-worthy drinks mean this venue is a top place to see in the weekend or alternatively help you get over a hump day from hell. Either way, head upstairs and let the good times roll.
Where: 2/152-154 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Moxy's Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Moxy's Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

Benny D Williams

Music royalty on the Coast, Benny D Williams has been on the scene for over 20 years.

We sat down with the living legend to chat about his first appearance at the iconic Blues on Broadbeach festival and the array of instruments in his ever-growing arsenal.

It’s almost time for Blues on Broadbeach again, what can we expect from your sets?
This is my first year playing Blues on Broadbeach so I’m really excited about the opportunity to play such a well-established and respected event alongside some legendary acts. Therefore I’ll be delivering “all killer, no filler” for my two sets over the weekend.

What do you love most about the festival?
I love the fact that punters can wander around between stages and see a wide range of great rootsy music. There’s a magnificent vibe in the air over the whole weekend. It really is something special.

Tell me about your style of music, how do you describe it to people?
My music is an eclectic combination of soulful sounds featuring rhythmic percussive grooves and drenched in psychedelic sunshine.

How many instruments are in your arsenal these days?
It varies but for this special show I’ll be packing a few guitars, Djembe drums, harmonicas, a kazoo, a recorder, my trusty cowbell and a bunch of other bells and toys which I’ll probably end up playing all at once piped through a rather large pedal board of special effects. Maybe a clarinet too.

What’s your favourite thing about performing?
That fleeting moment shared with the audience. Letting go and flowing with the music as it takes me to places I’ve never been. Improvising grooves and building a song from nothing…there’s lots of things. Performing is like meditation, I always feel like I’ve cleansed my soul somehow after a show.

How have you seen the Coast’s music scene transform over the last 20 years?
The Gold Coast and Brisbane have blossomed into a thriving creative community in so many ways. We still have a long way to go before we can match Sydney or Melbourne but I definitely think the Bjelke-Petersen hangover is wearing off.

What do you mean by the “Bjelke-Petersen hangover”?

A long time ago Queensland was a very conservative state run by a crooked bunch of National Party politicians. Joh Bjelke-Petersen was the Premier and basically drove any creative types to Sydney and Melbourne to escape from this dodgy bunch who used the police as henchmen to shut down anything they thought was outside the boundaries of good taste and often with the use of physical violence, especially towards the LGBTQ community. My parents were theatre folk who moved to Melbourne from QLD back in the day. The National Party of the 70s and 80s was an evil, nepotistic, crooked regime and they all got busted in the Fitzgerald enquiry. Queensland has regained some of its arts culture and it’s hard to catch up after 20 years or so of stunted growth but we’re getting there.

How did you come to be involved in blues music…tell us your story?
Blues is the essence of everything I write essentially. I was raised on old rock and roll and that’s stuck with me. When I was a teenager I hunted out the originals that influenced people like Elvis, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and later I drenched myself in Zeppelin and Hendrix…still do! There’s something honest and delightfully simple about the blues that resonates with me, it’s pretty much my default setting. When I wake up in the morning I make a coffee and pick up a guitar and play/learn some blues riffs. I think that’s a pretty great way to watch the sunrise.

What’s up next for you after Blues on Broadbeach?
HEAPS! I’m currently releasing a new single every month in 2017 culminating in a big album launch in December. It will have all those songs on it and a few new ones including a live track. At the same time, I’m producing lots of other local acts in the studio. From a gig perspective I’m doing a very special dinner and show on the 22nd of June upstairs at Edelweiss in their beautiful function room, which will be an audiovisual feast for the senses. It will be rock solid.

Your favourite piece of life advice…

Follow your dreams, be good to each other and don’t litter. Let everybody do what they want to do as long as it doesn’t mess with anyone else’s trip.

You’re not a Gold Coast local if you haven’t…

…watched the fireworks on the beach at NYE.

Favourites:

Beach: Not telling!! Haha.
Café: Iron and Resin Garage or anywhere that has live local music.
Music venue: To play at…at the moment I’m loving The Avenue in Surfers Paradise and Miami Marketta is great, there’s heaps! Still we need more venues that can handle live bands.
Bar: Cambus Wallace at the moment. Although I haven’t had the chance to hit any bars lately because I’ve been fairly busy. Hopefully soon!

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