The Gold Coast has no understanding of AFL – it’s rugby league through-and-through with a smattering of rugby union to top it all off. To me this is normal as I didn’t grow up with any idea of AFL either, and the big names that drew me and many others into BSKT Café are well-known to this (almost) single-code community. The coast’s league team is the Gold Coast Titans and this café is owned by Greg Bird (Titans co-captain), Nate Myles and Mat Rogers (both Titans teammates).
Obviously a place that three current top-flight players decide to open together isn’t going to take the no-holds-barred grease feast (Huxtaburger) route. Instead they have taken what they have learnt from their team’s nutritionists, coaches and health instructors, and have introduced their healthy lifestyles to their many fans.
They have decided to open a healthy-living style café – which incorporates some yoga and pilates classes that run upstairs above the café.
Weirdly – it’s not about the coffee, Melbourne peeps.
Instead, their focus is on the menu and having in-house specialists who have taken up residency – such as Ciane Brewster, a resident artist who is currently hand-drawing the art on the walls and will be holding gallery exhibitions in the café. BSKT also has resident yoga and pilates instructors, and their classes were being phtotographed by every lycra-wearing female that walked past.
The room is not in anyway like a Melbourne café. It’s more a blend of spacious café and restaurant. The fact that there was liberal alcohol flowing from 12noon leads me to think that these guys better start opening during the evening – as the menu (other than the few breakfast dishes) can be served in exactly the same style in the evening without anyone raising an eyebrow. Not sure how the booze fits into the healty-eating ethos, but I’m not complaining.
The menu is split into Breakfast and Smaller and Larger dishes. I never thought I would say this about the Gold Coast, but the menu design was a breath of fresh air. Out with the ‘let’s do it cause everyone else is doing it’ smashed avocado and ‘eggs done all the same way with a different sauce to varying degrees of success’. Instead dishes actually got you thinking – antioxidant fruits, super berry acao pancakes, Navajo native breakfast, squid and soba noodle salad and organic super grain breads. That, my friends, is what I call interesting.
We got in for lunch after giving an overpriced food market a wide berth ordered a coffee which, for a place that had no interest of claiming any sort of single origin or small batch roast, really hit the mark compared to the majority of rubbish lining the coast. I went in for the 18hr Sticky Pork. The best sticky pork in my mind comes from Chin Chin, so I had it on a high pedestal. Saying that most Coasters haven’t been there so have nothing to compare it to. Warning to wary meat eaters, this is quite a heavy pork dish but the balance of chilli vinegar, cherry tomatoes, shredded raw vegetables and sour herb salad helped. But I did find a lack of the crispy pork I was promised.
The Grey Nurse (sorry mum, but I have to give you a relevant name) decided on the Indian-style lamb curry. I loved the presentation of this dish and how the kitchen has tried to set themselves apart with the inclusion of Australian brown rice. The yoghurt riata and lean lamb rubbed in BSKT’s very own specialty spices leant a simultaneous warmth and cooling to the palette that had the Nurse beaming.
The café had only been open for a week, but they have found their feet and have an appreciative clientle. If you are living there or plan to travel to the coast – put BSKT Cafe high on the list – or risk being labelled a BSKT case.
P.S. If you are flying in or out of the GC airport (Coolangatta) I have your lunch and dinner spot lined up. Justin Lane does pizzas. But they do them better than anywhere else on the coast and in their own unpretentious style. They have one of the best bars for you to perch at and are worth seeking out – I reckon it’s a much better option than Bread + Butter down in Kirra, which I have heard is full of sun-damaged old people trying to relive their youth. So add Justin Lane to your itinerary, too.