It’s no big revelation (especially if you live on the Gold Coast) that the northern beaches and beyond are starved for good coffee, food and booze. It’s been that way since I first moved to the coast 20 years ago and not much has changed. But as some famous singer songwriter once belted out – “times are a’changing”. Owner, chef and barista Matt previously had a café down in Miami for 9 years before moving to Melbourne and returning south just recently. He too noticed that that the only decent cafes anywhere in the area were Daark Espresso and Percy’s in Southport so saw a gap in the market and took a gamble.
It’s a smart gamble and one that’s starting to pay off. Taking his lead from suburban cafes in Melbourne, Matt’s looking to bring back that community feeling that is missing from the coast – a place where locals and friends can meet up in a relaxed informal environment. He agrees start-ups are touch and for the first couple of months it was slow but that’s completely changed now with business peaking especially on weekends where lines are not uncommon and the hit the café has been on Instagram.
Last visit I stumbled upon Daark Espresso which was the first place to pop up in my hood in a good number of years. On this visit back to the Gold Coast I spotted a new player on the coffee scene – Big Sur Coffee. Labrador is slowly breaking away from the old school bakery, butchers, corner stores and the rubbish cafes and restaurants that surround developments like that.
Big Sur Coffee is just off the corner of Central Street and is instilling the café vibe that is missing – especially this far inland. They’re not trying to blow the doors off the café industry – but what they’re doing is instilling some confidence that you can get a decent coffee and brunch in the suburbs – lucky for the likes of those in Southport, Arundel and Parkwood.
Coffee is roasted offsite by Cleanskin Coffee Co in Brisbane. It’s done by the previous owners of Canteen Coffee in Burleigh (who very recently sold out of their café business). It’s a nice smooth blend that works very well with milk (I had a flat white).
The Big Sur menu is tight with a list of café staples such as bircher museli, scrambled eggs and the ever-present smashed avo. But setting themselves apart from the pack they also have interesting dishes like the creamed corn, poached eggs, green chilli relish on sourdough and the very British bubble and squeak with homemade HP sauce and corned brisket. The specials board also is worth a look – with a few different burritos, a BLT and a mysterious dish called the Egg Bomb all coming in under the $10 mark. Good value – especially after visiting Melbourne last week where all brunch dishes averaged around the $16 mark.
Future developments include a new winter menu, more sweets (including a bunch more doughnuts that just keep selling out early in the day) and the possibility of utilising the back carpark where Matt will hopefully start to build a deck and canopy area to ensure as many people can get a seat as possible. If this café invasion keeps going on this far north on the coast then I hopefully will start to see a bunch of new bar and dining concepts trying their hand at the crowd up this way. We can only hope it happens sooner rather than later.
Open hours: 7 days 6am-2pm, Sunday til 1pm.