All that surfing and swimming sure builds up an appetite. While Burleigh Heads has long been known for its beaches and surf, the Gold Coast suburb’s emerging food scene is now just as much a draw as what’s happening on the water. Here’s a primer on the region’s most exciting eating and drinking.
After fine-tuning his chops at Sydney restaurants Cirrus Dining and Monopole, chef Alex Munoz Labart and wife Karla Munoz Labart swapped the harbour city for the Gold Coast. Locals – and in-the-know diners generally – were glad they did, especially when in 2018 the couple opened their eponymous fine-diner. Europe might be a recurring theme on the seasonal, seafood-dominant tasting menu – mullet roe lends an oceanic accent to blue-eye trevalla, while calamari gets a star turn on the charcoal grill – but the combination of an au courant wine list and the elegant, bistro-style setting equals a likeable blueprint for Australian dining circa 2021.
Bake and shake is the modus operandi at this family-run bakery. Working with slow fermentation, heritage grain varieties and a stone hearth oven, Lisa and Geoff Dance turn out sourdough loaves and buns that have shifted the community’s understanding of what bread can (and should) taste like. In addition to supplying other venues – see Labart above – Burleigh Baker also runs a cafe serving sandwiches, rolls and other brunching favourites that chime with its feel-good ethos.
Osteria Del Mare
As its name suggests, this easy-going Italian diner references its seaside address with the offer of seafood pastas – spaghetti vongole, say – and the inclusion of fried calamari and mussel soup among the mains. Pizzas are also popular here and run from the classics through to vegan variations made using dairy-free mozzarella cheese. From Friday to Sunday, the restaurant opens at lunch – perfect for playing out those Amalfi Coast getaway fantasies. (For added realism, dive into the wine list stacked with Italian and Italianate bottlings).
Awash with nostalgia and Australiana, Rosella’s is an establishment right in step with the zeitgeist: the drinks list seamlessly moves from the everyday (tinnies!) to wines both new-wave and blue-chip Australian (here’s to you, Yarra Yering and Wendouree), while the food offering sticks to the Aussie-Aussie-Aussie theme. Say g’day to jaffles, a deluxe prawn cocktail remix, fancy hot chips and Australian cheeses.
Some come to Borough Barista for its beachside address on The Esplanade. Others come for the coffee (hot- or cold-brewed); smoothies; cold-pressed juices; and other daytime essentials. Or make longer pitstops to refuel on burgers; toast (the avocado toast is spiked with turmeric); cakes; and bowls filled with the good stuff. Early rising surfers and swimmers gather at dawn (the cafe opens at 5.30am) for their wake-up espresso ahead of a morning in the waves.
Burleigh Brewing Co
That fervent interest in small-scale brewing on the Gold Coast? It’s all Burleigh Brewing Co’s fault. Established by Peta and Brennan Fielding in 2006, Burleigh Brewing turned heads with its European-style lager and continued to evolve – and scoop up international brewing awards – from there. Today, the brewery’s mighty taphouse welcomes fans every weekend to taste tank-fresh beer alongside beer-adjacent dishes including pizza, burgers and falafels.
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