When I think of the Gold Coast several words spring to mind – sun, sea and Surfers Paradise – as well as the obligatory sausage sizzles, seedy bars and skimpy bikinis. None of these are bad things, but when you write a food blog and spend your days and nights thinking about the perfect short black as opposed to the perfect shore break the idea of spending a weekend amid Queensland’s gourmet wasteland doesn’t fill you with excitement. But when we’re wrong, we say we’re wrong – and three days and too many calories to count later we are pleased to announce we ate lots, and most importantly, we ate well.
When in Rome do as the locals blah blah blah. Picked up from the airport at 7am we headed hard and fast for the beach and to try the apparently much improved coffee. On our way to our destination we passed through the newly opened Hilton Hotel in Surfers Paradise. Not my cup’a'tea as the busboys wear rolled up trousers, converse and trilby hats. Not the uniform that I think Hilton travellers will be used to. The foyer is also not as grand as I expected – more thin corridor in my books. But the saving grace they do have is Luke Mangan’s most recent restaurant upstairs overlooking the foyer and a cafe and deli in the corridor downstairs. Something for next time.
Our coffee destination was to be Black Coffee Lyrics. It is in an area of Surfers that would usually house Korean restaurants in drab surroundings so what they have done with the place deserves recognition.
We did take the coffee back to the beach as the local council have set up what I would describe as bar-tops right along the strip of sand so you can do some people watching or to do a spot of whale watching.
We were still peckish so we headed to a new cafe in Broadbeach named Elk Expresso. The main drawcard of this place is that it does something that Melbourne does not.
Thick shakes – but they take it one step further – Thicker shakes. When a Melbournite and Londoner find themselves 30 degrees out of their comfort zone, nothing goes down better. We had a bite of brunch here first as we had to push on to our next food destination. Great atmosphere inside with no need for doors that look out onto the park opposite.
Stupidly I went for something sweet – Trio of waffles, ice cream and maple syrup. Not the smart thing to do when you have just downed a thicker shake and lining up lunch in 2 hours. The dish was passable due to the thickest maple syrup covering the waffles. But that did not hide the fact that the waffles were very dry in the middle to which no amount of syrup was going to correct.
We needed to compare the smashed avocado on toast to the Melbourne staple – and I can say that it passed with flying colours.
The appropriately named Yum Cha at Robina Town Centre has been getting some good reviews around the Coast and was keen to drop in to see what all the fuss was about. It recently won the 2011 Restaurant and Catering Award for Excellence 2011. All dishes are made in house so there is no fear to get an ugly unfrozen dumpling sitting in its heated up bum juice. The dishes were light, tasty and we were even able to find some new dishes such as the prawn and scallop dumpling – which has a whole scallop sitting atop each parcel.
That evening with a few friends I headed to another award winning establishment – Moo Moo Wine Bar and Grill in Broadbeach. We had a booking for 9pm but upon arrival were ushered into the bar to await our table.
This was not your run-of-the-mill steakhouse as Moo Moo provides a selection of specialty grain fed, grass fed and organic beef for you to get your graze on.
The decor inside is ultra modern so I can understand why the big names of the Gold Coast (if you can call them that) make their way here to wine and dine every chance they get. The same goes for the lighting, which changes colour every few minutes – and affected the quality of the snaps I took. We decided on a nice bottle of vino collapse-o to bypass entrees. But there was a lone voice that was starving so we got a side of bread. I hear you ask why a side of bread comes with its own side of Moo Moo’s jus and honeyed carrot salsa. Yeah – I am still wondering that too. Probably so that can charge you $3.90 for what was essentially going to be a bread roll.
So eating our gravy rolls with side salad we ordered up. Most of us opted for the Rangers Valley Sirloin which was 36-48 Months of age max / grain fed 300 + days – aka good and one person who optioned the F1 Wagyu Rump.
2 of the 3 Sides for $20 was not a bad deal overall:
All in all – there was no disappointing anyone with the perfectly cooked steaks. The quality of the meat deserves the reputation is has been given. Well worth a special night out.
While the boy was off with the boys, WordMonkey headed to Madam Tojo’s in Chirn Park. Highly recommended by foodie friends I couldn’t wait to check out this unique haunt that is packed with personality, and it didn’t disappoint. Quirky decor (suitcases aplenty, abstract art, a great big bird hanging from the ceiling), a bohemian owner (one that proudly advertises the bar’s resident snake therapist), and affordable and tasty tapas (parma-wrapped haloumi, chunky tortilla and roasted butternut squash and pumpkin). Ok, it’s not quite up to Spain’s standard, but it is a great home-cooked approximation of some Euro classics and a welcome addition to the area’s more generic establishments. (photo care of http://www.foodgoldcoast.com.au)
You could quite easily spend a night sipping wine and snacking here, however we (the girls) had a dinner date with seafood restaurant to the stars (apparently Beyonce once gorged a whole heap of oysters here) Omeros Bros - located in Marina Mirage at Main Beach. If you want the catch of the day (and are willing to pay some pretty eye-watering prices) then this is the place for you. It doesn’t exactly push culinary boundaries, but then with produce this good why bother? I could be critical and say that this is a safe menu for unadventurous diners, but that would be a massive disservice to the place. On our visit we tucked into prawns in a garlic-cream sauce, curried prawns and salt and pepper calamari. All delicious, all allowing the juicy, fat seafood to take centre stage. If you wanted to really push the boat out then platters, lobsters, whole fish and all the rest are on offer and no doubt equally good.
The surrounds are similarly smart but unchallenging – a kind of timeless elegance that follows through to the food - Crêpes Suzette for dessert? Don’t mind if I do. One word of advice – request a table waterside, otherwise you might feel like you are closer to the shopping centre than the sparkling ocean.