It’s only been open for two weeks but I think I have found my new favourite restaurant on the Gold Coast. It’s well hidden and it’s in an area devoid of any good eateries – apart from Pablo Pablo (but lets face it, Pablo is basically standard tapas that’s not really pushing the boundaries of small plates.
So let me introduce you to Lester and Earl. These guys have brought the American Barbecue concept which they had been developing since 2013 – well before there were any sniffs of the American takeover we have seen bloom in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. It’s taken owner and smoker (meat that is) since then to acquire the four flats that previously sat above the Palm Beach Supercycle shop and get the requisite permits to install a great balcony with views out to Palm Beach and get this 300 seater open to the public.
The food is first and foremost the star of the show here. If you’ve visited JRs Smokehouse BBQ – you know that there’s only so much meat that can be smoked at any one time – so get in before it sells out. We started off with the Hereford/Angus cross Cape Grim Brisket on a BBQ platter with honey mustard potato salad, slaw, cornbread and pickle. The best comparison I can do is the platter I had recently at Kong BBQ in Melbourne (opened by the group who brought us the Chin Chin behemoth). Kong disappointed as they tried to mix Korean with American and failed (sweet peanut brittle and lacklustre kimchi does not a good BBQ make). All the elements on this dish were meant to be together and it just works.
I also got a gander at the beef short rib and the pork ribs all cooked low and slow smoked with hickory and mequite. I like what they’re doing here as they’re using the same meat that major players like Neil Perry are using – so you know as long as they don’t fuck the cooking you’re going to get a very decent cut of cow plated up in front of you.
Being so knew there is no dessert menu yet. I cannot wait for the proper menu to see what they have up their sleeve. But in the meantime they are making a nice selection of housemade ice-cream.
We went with the peanut butter, chocolate fudge and bacon for our three scoops. Incredibly creamy and really who could go past trying bacon ice-cream once in their life?!
But food is only half the focus at this very forward thinking restaurant – you cannot lose sight of the amazing scope of the booze here too. There’s no beer menu yet as they are going for small batches of craft beer on tap that are rotating faster than they expected to. Which makes it all the more fun as you’re invited up to the bar to sample a few of the brews before you make a final decision. With around twelve taps and a mixed range of smaller players from around Australia and the USA you’re spoilt for choice.
I would even go as far to say that this is the best tap list on the Gold Coast. I have high hope after chatting with Mike about future possibilities for the taps with Mountain Goat Steam Ale about to come on this weekend and a secret stash of Two Birds Brewing award winning Taco Beer in the cellar for when the time is right.
Spirits is another area they set themselves apart from the other Gold Coast bars. They have stocked West Winds Gin, Tromba Tequila and are meeting with many other local distillers in order to showcase the class of booze we have on our doorstep. I can speak from experience after meeting the Tromba Tequila crew in Melbourne I learn that good tequila is not meant to be who – but swirled in a wine glass and sipped over a night of good food and conversation.
In a suburb where the only real choices you have are the bog standard surf club and a couple of run of the mill Asian joints it’s a huge breath of fresh air to get Lester and Earl opening in Palm Beach. If you think about it – Lester and Earl only have a Facebook Page and nothing else at all on the internet (I only found out about it 2nd hand) yet on a Thursday night the place is packed with more than 300 people. So I suggest you get your life in order and book a table. And do book that table because there’s no other way you’re going to be able to shoehorn your way in once word gets out.
Contact: 1097 Gold Coast Highway Palm Beach, Queensland, Australia. Ph. 5598 2889. Facebook.