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Tom Angel

Tom Angel of The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)
Tom Angel of The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)

HOTA’s new Gallery would have to be one of the most notable openings of 2021, and along with it the respective opening of both Palette Restaurant and The Exhibitionist Bar. And if you haven’t been treated to the superb views that The Exibitionist Bar offers, are you even a rooftop bar connoisseur? Behind the creative cocktail menu at the venue is Tom Angel. With a wealth of knowledge, Tom brings to the venue a refreshing and imaginative slant to all beverages that will be sure to treat all the senses. Read on to find out a bit more about his career and his love of all things hospitality on the Gold Coast.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local? 
I moved here beginning of 2006 for a holiday, fell in love with a lady, the place and surrounding areas, and never left!

Tell us a bit about you.
I caught the bug from an early age working for my Aunt in her award winning café in Christchurch, NZ. Ever since then I’ve been on a quest to embody the art of hospitality as she did. I spent a few years working at The Star Gold Coast, learning all aspects of the industry, before moving onto smaller venues. I count myself very lucky to work with and learn from some best in the business, like Josh and Astrid and the team from La Casita/Fleet in Brunswick Heads, Adam Lane at Kiyomi (now at Yamagen), and of course Dayan Hartil-Law, before opening a small cocktail bar in Broadbeach. Owning and operating a bar gave me some invaluable lessons that I very much appreciate and has only strengthen my resolve and passion for this industry and the bartending community. Finding like-minded individuals, David Aznar (L’apero Pop-Up), Jackson Connor (Rosella’s in Burleigh) and Finn Hope (Exhibitionist Bar) to name a few, to develop and collaborate with has been very exciting!

After moving to the Gold Coast, I met my future wife a week afterwards, and now we have two boys together! My oldest son is also hearing impaired like myself, and my family is one of my biggest sources of drive and passion, to show that having a disability should not hold you back from achieving what you put your mind to.

Tom mixing a Woodford Reserve cocktail behind The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)
Tom mixing a Woodford Reserve cocktail behind The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)

What do you consider your greatest career achievement?
I consider the Diageo world-class competition one of the most prestigious bartending competitions worldwide and I love that I’ve made the top 100 bartenders in Australia 5 times, which shows to me all my hard work and staying in touch with what is happening internationally in the bartending world is paying off. I came 2nd in 2017 and went to Bangkok for a priceless bartenders Bootcamp with Andrea Gauldi and some of the best bartenders in Asia. The pop-up bar we did on the rooftop of the Sofitel hotel was a night I’ll never forget!

Currently working at HOTA, Home of the Arts and the amazing team here definitely feels like a privilege especially with the Culinary Arts team, and it feels like this is going to be an important milestone in my career. The Curatorial Arts team here has provided me with a new source of inspiration which is very rewarding!

What makes The Exhibitionist Bar a superior rooftop bar on the Gold Coast?
The view is amazing! Both daytime and night-time. We have this panoramic view of the Gold Coast city skyline, which is becoming iconic, combined with the hinterland behind us to watch the sun go down over the hills. Quality drinks and food on offer as well, with our talented bartenders able to make classics well, and live music entertainment on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. Our cocktail menu is inspired by the current show in the major gallery which is currently An Art Mixtape: Yours for Summer. We have done our own mixtape of cocktails with  A) some being our favourite cocktails and flavours and  B) we have collaborated with international legends such as Monica Berg from Tayer + Elementary in London, currently number 2 in the World’s top 50 best bars list, and Heather Garland, co-owner of Caretaker and Deadshot in Auckland, NZ. We are having a lot of fun with this menu!

What is your personal favourite cocktail, and why?
I’m loving the Kokomo, from the new Exhibitionist Bar cocktail menu. Clarified cocktails are cool and it’s been a while since I’ve done one! It’s a take on one of my favourite classic cocktails – Mai Tai – we essentially take a sour cocktail and make it clear, I love watching people’s reactions when they taste the drink and they are not expecting it to be sour. Husk Pure Cane rum, Glenlivet Caribbean Cask, Marionette Orange Curacao, lime, m’orgeat (macadamia orgeat). We then float a layer of a bitter Davidson plum liqueur on top.

Kokomo cocktail from The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)
Kokomo cocktail from The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)

How long does it take you (from start to finish) to come up with a new cocktail?
It all depends, sometimes I can do it on the fly, some of the best drinks I’ve made have been when under the pressure to make a drink in 5 mins! I like to start with a base flavour and keep it really simple with a minimalist thought process behind it. Often if I’m working with a particular spirit, I’ll pinpoint a certain flavour that would work well accentuated. I will write down on paper in a notebook or scraps and work my way through it, often with random drawings and indecipherable sentences. Here at HOTA, Home of the Arts, it’s been really nice to use the artwork as a starting point, and I will dive deep into it. Why was the artwork created? What does the artwork look like? Colours, textures, lighting, emotions? One of my favourite projects has been with Claudia de Salvo – a ceramist who created an artwork called Heat and Time for our opening major show back in May. She was exploring the different temperatures of firing the clay, and how by pouring water into them, showing us the chemical process involved in breaking down clay. This is a metaphor for time and human intervention. The resulting drink was exploring the use of ginger and native ginger in different temperatures and forms, served in a vessel made by the artist!

With the borders having just reopened, what are you most excited for in the immediate future?
I’m most excited to bring my family across the border for some fun and catch-ups with family and friends! I’ve got some restaurants I’ve been waiting to go to (looking at you Eddy + Wolff!)

For those celebrating at home this year, what’s an easy NYE cocktail recipe you would recommend someone to make?
Mezcal Margaritas! I’m a huge fan of mezcal and I think this would be perfect and very easy to make at home. Grab a bottle of quality mezcal, limes, agave nectar, sea salt and ice.
Add two parts mezcal to 1 part lime and ½ part of agave nectar, shake with ice (if you don’t have a shaker use a glass jar with a lid or a Tupperware container – be imaginative!) pour all contents including ice, into a short glass with a half rim of sea salt. This is a great base to work off, you can add to this and make your own twist! Add cucumber, mint, chillies, berries, melons.

The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)
The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)

How would you be spending your New Year’s Eve, if you weren’t working?
If I wasn’t working I would be at home with the family, probably invite the neighbours and friends over and bust out some special wine that I’ve got stashed away somewhere!

What is one thing you are looking forward to in 2022?
I’m looking forward to seeing a sense of normalcy coming back hopefully, but the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers NSW scene is looking very exciting in the hospitality world, so I can’t wait to explore this further.

What are your Gold Coast favourites… 
Café: Not the Gold Coast, but Cubby’s in Chinderah. Always an essential coffee stop in the morning on the way to work and the team there are amazing.
Coffee spot: Vector, Tarte and Stable are all making quality cups of brew! Beam Roasters and Therefore Roasters, both from Northern NSW are roasting some amazing blends as well. Dino at Rosella’s makes the best Espresso Martinis ????
Restaurant: North Room, Eddy + Wolff, Muso, and my sons reckon that Eddie’s Grub House makes the best burgers on the Coast (they do). Also do yourself a favour if you haven’t yet, get down to La Casita in Brunswick Heads for some cracking Mexican food.
Bar or pub for a drink: Rosella’s for shit chat and great drinks. The new wine bar Paloma by the Labart legends has a very slick wine list curated by Channey. Super happy that Après Surf is back in Burleigh too. My home bar is coming along real nice too, almost completed so the neighbours will be happy about that!

How do you choose to spend your weekends? 
I spend it with my family first and foremost, and catching up with my friends and like-minded individuals, always on the lookout for the next project, and of course training my palette.

Dayan Hartill-Law

Dayan Hartill-Law - Execuative Chef of Palette Restaurant (image supplied)
Dayan Hartill-Law - Execuative Chef of Palette Restaurant (image supplied)

The HOTA Gallery opening caused quite the stir on the Gold Coast, and when we found out that the Executive Chef of the high-anticipated Palette restaurant was Dayan Hartill-Law, they had every reason to get excited. Dayan has a long resume with vast industry experience including The Star, The Press Club, Dinner by Heston, Vanitas and Quay, meaning he will bring an international pedigree of learning from some of the best chefs across the world – lucky us! Read on to find out a bit more about Palette and the man himself.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
My family and I relocated to the Gold Coast 5 years ago now.

Tell us a bit about your career to date.
Coming up on 20 years as a chef, I have been on a perpetual pursuit to work with the best chefs and thinkers around the globe. More recently running prolific spaces like The Press Club in Melbourne and Vanitas at Palazzo Versace. There have been many formative years in my culinary education, working for great chefs like Peter Gilmore at Quay, Heston Blumenthal at Dinner by Heston and many others.

What career achievement are you most proud of?
I think there have been many not to sound obnoxious. I think my very first solo hat was great to attain, it sits on my kitchen wall at home as a reminder of the hard work. But I also love hearing from chefs that I have had under me in the past succeeding in their own right or repeat guests coming in time after time to enjoy what my team and I do.

Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration honestly comes from everywhere, whether walking through my neighbourhood and seeing what natives are fruiting or flowering, which I love to pick with my son. There’s also obvious inspiration that comes from my cookbook library. But the most inspirational thing for me now is being permanently surrounded by art; the way that certain pieces will spark an inspirational thought or a movement, it is a really great privilege to be surrounded by it every day.

What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
I really enjoy labouring over a ramen, spending the entire day working on it is wonderful, and to take from Ivan Orkin there are no rules with ramen so it can be anything, having done a Peking duck ramen, Hainanese chicken ramen, the warmth it brings to the soul is everything.

What excites you the most about Palette being part of the HOTA precinct?
The continuation of the precinct being all about arts is such an amazing thing to be a part of and to know that culinary art is held in such high regard, to be able to have Palette stand symbiotically alongside performing arts, and visual arts is amazing and to integrate the three together is really quite an amazing thing to be apart of. With plans to integrate the three with inclusive experiences in the coming months, it is really wonderful to be able to work with talented artists and creatives to think outside of the box to create wonderful cultural experiences for the Gold Coast and its visitors.

Which dish on the menu would you recommend is a must-try when visiting Palette, and why?
There are so many great features on the menu at the moment, the Fraser Island Spanner crab, watermelon radish, pandanus, blue quandong and lemon myrtle is my favourite from a chefs perspective. There are 45 movements on the plate which is pretty ridiculous when you have to do 100. The Voronoi, Little Cocoa chocolate, flavours of banoffee is also a really fun dish from its aesthetic, it was actually the very first dish I conceptualised when I learnt that I was successful in getting the position with HOTA. We have multiple fun things throughout the whole menu though, from Vegan fish sauce to Davidson Plum sorbet, Hervey Bay scallops, or the dry-aged Burrawong Gaian ducks that everyone is raving about.

Voronoi Dish from Palette Restaurant (image supplied)
Voronoi Dish from Palette Restaurant (image supplied)

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: Being on the northside, it’s been so great to have Bear Boy open in Helensvale. We also love to go to Daark in Chirn Park.
Coffee spot: If I am running about in the shopping centres, Foster Black always hits the spot, but also Shakermaker and Blackboard are excellent.
Restaurant: Having two small ones, dining out is not as frequent as it once was, but I love to go and see Tim and Shannon at the North Room. Adam and Tim at Yamagen are doing some great things, but the most frequent restaurant for us because my son won’t eat any other beef than wagyu (must be nice) we are always at Wagyu-ya on Chevron.
Bar or pub for a drink: I am not really a big drinker but that being said, I have been a big fan of Tom Angel for many years, so looking forward to trying his entire menu on a Sunday afternoon at The Exhibitionist Bar. Plus the guys at Rosellas are doing some great things, as are the team at Nightjar and the Scottish Prince are also really pushing the envelope.

How do you choose to spend your weekends?
Spending time with the family is the most important thing being in this industry, you lose a lot of nights at home, which is never fun. But, on those weekend days I try to jam in as much in as possible.

Dayan in the Kitchen at Palette (image supplied)
Dayan in the Kitchen at Palette (image supplied)

Archie Cox

Archie Cox of Carafe Wines at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)
Archie Cox of Carafe Wines at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)

Is it just us, or does drinking your wine from a carafe just add that little bit of pizzazz? Some associate a carafe with dinner parties, but what if we told you that it benefits a lot more than just complimenting your ‘exquisite taste’ and being a talking point over dinner? Think sustainable wine consumption like you’ve never imagined. Enter Carafe Wines, based on the Gold Coast. We got to know the mastermind behind the business, Archie Cox, and found a bit more about how Carafe Wine’s is wine without waste.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I grew up on the GC and spent my days around Southport. I attended Keebra Park High and am a member of the Southport Surf Club, so you could say the GC is my true stomping ground! My favourite places around our glorious Coast are certainly within the fabulous food/wine/events scene and blending this with our sea life is absolutely intoxicating.

Tell us a bit about you.
I grew up on the Gold Coast and I’m one of four boys to hardworking, professional parents. Many locals would have been taught by at least one of these consciously and thoughtful teachers and or principals! My parents broke the mould by taking us kids around Australia to truly allow us to see the genuine culture of our long-standing country, spending time in central Australia learning our indigenous ways.

Land of The Sun - Carafe Wines at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)
Land of The Sun - Carafe Wines at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)

During my youth, I began my love of the ocean at Southport Surf Club – rowing boats, until the burning boat life called me to complete my marine mechanics apprenticeship. I was offered an opportunity for the prized boat mechanic of the Australian ‘Formula One boat series’. I traveled the world, securing winning performances for my team, tweaking each boat, including for one of the female drivers – Kay Marshall (iconic at this time). After a few years, I returned to see a niche business opportunity in the elite’s private business security. My ‘large format’ status is not hidden, and it had become a benefit on the Formula One circuit as the drivers required security support, and I seamlessly bounced into another new role. This then lead me to take an imperative role in the daily runnings of ‘The Playroom – Tallebudgera.’ I was managing there when I was presented with the opportunity to take over this local music establishment. I was the frontman of ‘The Playroom’ and wanted to turn it into the most iconic Gold Coast music venue for all the famous bands worldwide to showcase their talents. The tunes that bounced from the wall and carpet weekly included The Living End, INXS, Run DMC, the Ramones, Powderfinger, Mighty Mighty Bostones, and the local likes of Pete Murray. But one icon I truly enjoyed was Henry Rollins, even heading to gym sessions with the boss man himself. Sadly, in 1999 the land where ‘the playroom’ stood was taken into submission.

After reflection and redirection, I turned my hand to another passion in the wine trade, from grape farming to marketing and sales. I travelled the Australian coastline making marks in every town, learning the fine talent of a wine connoisseur. My experience and love developed further over the last 15 years as I helped many well-known brands to create food and wine menus with my, some may say, prestigious palette. My most recent role was almost a decade of popping corks for the beloved Moet Hennessy. I am eternally proud of this time with the LVMH team, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience a dream life for many. I have seen the world sipping bubbles, tasting luscious liquors, and reading my own place card in the most delectable dining rooms. My most pinch-worthy moments were: being seated in Madam Cliquot’s quarters upon her prized possessions and clearing dust from the bottles in the cellar of Krug as well as initiating an insurmountable success at music festivals and high-profile events. Some of my happiest days are meeting the story-worthy people in my customers from our coastal locals to others around the glorious globe.

Carafe Wine brands on tap at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)
Carafe Wine brands on tap at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)

Explain to us what Carafe Wine is.
I took a more conscientious turn to ensure what I’d experienced in Australia within wine needed to be passed on. Through my learnings in the luxury wine trade, I hoped to offer a better way to consume. A sustainable wine without waste is served from tap to carafe to table. Carafe Wines maintain their centuries-old stylish European origin by replacing bottles. The global impact of wine bottles for venues and restaurants is hugely impactful, being 460kg of glass wastage per plate and a high cost to venue owners, councils and our environment. I wanted to change this for our future.

What are the benefits of ‘on tap’ wine?
Wine on tap offers a fresher and higher quality wine as it has not been bottled, meaning limited exposure to oxygen. The grapes juice is prime. Many believe that it is “terrible” or “cheap” because it comes on a tap, but it is the opposite. Every European winemaker and drinker agrees. Wine actually maintains its freshness due to less time to oxide, thus providing the consumer with the ultimate drop every time. Carafe Wines is the new chic-conscious way to drink wine for a better future.

Why is reducing our carbon footprint so important?
Reducing our carbon footprint is key to a sustainable life, and currently, the overuse of glass and its inability to properly be recycled is concerning. Here in Australia, we need to consume wine like the Europeans do. We can do this by using a carafe to serve delectable wines direct from barrels or taps and removing the unnecessary wastage (glass) in the process.

Carafe Wine tasting at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)
Carafe Wine tasting at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)

What is in store for Carafe Wines over the next 5 years?
Over the next five years, I plan to work with restaurants and bars to find a better alternative to their alcohol consumption lists. Ensuring we all work together to provide a premium to our wine lovers without hurting our environment. The future is bright, and I look forward to truly making a difference while sharing that carafes are chic and the way of tomorrow as ‘what was old is now new again and considerate to us all’.

Where can people enjoy Carafe Wines?
Carafe Wines is on tap at – QT Bazaar, Miami Marketta; Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar Benowa, Omeros Bros Fish Bar, Edgewater and Cafe Le Monde Noosa. Check out the Carafe Wine website for all venues.

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: My favourite coffee spot is Double Barrel Kitchen Mermaid Beach
Coffee spot: My favourite coffee is from home in Miami but second on the list would definitely be Cruize Espresso Chirn Park
Restaurant: I can’t go past the Spanner Crab Dumplings at Mamasan Broadbeach but not to outdo the Lemons Butter Snapper at Omeros Bros Marina Mirage.
Bar or pub for a drink: If I’m going to grungy music grassroots then it’s definitely – Last Night On Earth in Southport
How do you choose to spend your weekends? My weekend (if the weather is right) are spent on the water in my boat. Either fishing or crabbing. I am a hunter/gatherer and enjoy finding the freshest possible produce and creating beautiful food for family and friends to combine with our premium wines, quality champagne, or thirst-quenching beer.

Breeana Erica

Breeana Erica (image supplied)
Breeana Erica (image supplied)

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR! We have all been there. And we all have to agree there may be a love, hate relationship with the spirit, but nevertheless, we won’t be drinking anything else on the 24th of July as it is World Tequila Day. So to get into the spirit (pun intended) we interviewed Gold Coast local, Beverage Manager for Handpicked and Venue Manager of NAAMI, Breeana Erica. Ever had a signature cocktail from Roosevelt Lounge or Loose Moose? Chances are, it will be one of Breeana’s creations. She is the mastermind behind some of the best cocktails on the Coast, and it’s about time you got to know her. So grab yourself a cocktail and read on.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Gold Coast has been home for 14 years now and I’ve felt like I’ve been on holiday ever since.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you love doing what you do.
I started working in a small country town pub where learning how to not only take ownership of the bar (as if someone was coming into your own home), but also how to pour the perfect beer and how to banter were first and foremost. I’ve worked in everything from fast-paced pubs, nightclubs and did my fair time in an Irish bar. In each and every different type of venue and bar, I was always looking to reinvent the same old classic cocktails that were on every menu created from the same set of dusty back bar basic bottles. I would always be looking for someone adventurous enough to try my new twists on shots and cocktails wherever I went. From the first time I ever stepped behind a bar, I felt at home and I knew I could let my creative side go wild.

Once I moved into cocktail bars I worked for Moo Moos, Loose Moose, opened the Roosevelt Lounge and a few others in Broadbeach, where you will still find so many of my signature cocktails on their menus years later that I’ve created, including my first ever cocktails still going strong and popular. Cocktail creation for me, is creating art and is my craft. I love to draw people in with all their senses and give them an experience, not just a drink.

At NAAMI, I have full creative freedom and I’ve created a 16 signature immersive and interactive cocktail menu with a few secret cocktails and a secret menu launching in a few weeks. So if you know, you know. I love the feeling of inviting new people every day into what feels like my own home and offering my hospitality and knowledge of the industry and having them try my twist and flair of cocktails.

No. 5 Cocktail at NAAMI (image supplied)
No. 5 Cocktail at NAAMI (image supplied)

What is your greatest achievement to date?
I’ve entered a fair few cocktail comps in my time and have won some pretty sweet bragging rights, along with trips away and booze… but, it would honestly have to be the feedback/response from all my customers over the years. Still to this day, I get to meet new people every day and welcome them into my venue and have them fully trust me to try new things and have an experience you don’t get in too many other places. From doing this over the years, I have strangers who have come out for a nice drink who have turned into friends and family; and from meeting new people I have had an absolutely insane amount of people follow my work and career. I also have to mention the people I have had the pleasure of working with – that has also been an achievement in itself.

Tell us your favourite tequila cocktail.
At the moment, my favourite tequila cocktail I created is The NAAMI #5. 

What do you love the most about working with tequila?
In the past few years from my perspective behind the bar, the GC went from being the Espresso Martini capital of Australia to The Chilli Margarita obsessed!! Tequila is my go-to spirit at the moment; so I wanted to put my little spin on the classic fav and steer people away from the tequila, salt and lime combo we have all done to death. So I’ve infused Blanco tequila with dill and replaced the triple sec with watermelon, then adding lime, ruby red grapefruit, ghost chilli reduction served with a vanilla sugar rim instead of the classic salt. Batched in a little perfume bottle, as you pour it out for yourself have your camera ready for the glittery surprise in every bottle.

Naami Bar (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Naami Bar (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: I am a foodie at heart and being in the hospitality industry my whole life, I have so many favourite places and recommendations. But for me, I love the Pesto Tofu Scramble and service at The Milkman’s Daughter, it’s such a beautiful place to sit and start the day.
Coffee spot: I dont stop in enough but the coffee at Backyard in Nobby’s is always on point!
Restaurant: My favourite restaurant for the location, the service, the food, and my favourite cocktails is definitely Edgewater on Isle of Capri.
Bar or pub for a drink: I am a big fan of supporting all the local surf clubs along the coastline for a cheeky beer by the beach. We are so lucky to have so many little watering holes along the beach!
How do you choose to spend your weekends? My weekends are what most people refer to as Mondays and Tuesdays; and I’m usually out disconnecting in nature, at the beach or taking my longboard out skating up and down the coastline enjoying the year-long summer.

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