Aussie Eats, Treats, Beats & all the Deets

 

For three weeks I spent some time down under visiting the fam, catching up with loads of friends and basically eating like there’s no tomorrow. Eating out in Australia comes at a price but boy oh boy they have definitely turned it up a notch as far a quality and variety goes – The Gold Coast in particular.

Below is a taster of what I experienced during my short space of time, which includes a whole bunch of snazzy restaurants, cafes, bars, you name it.

 

Melbourne – A Foodies Dream

Would you be surprised if I told you this was my very first time visiting this city bursting with eateries, culture and known for its fantastic nightlife? Sadly I will have to admit to this fact but in one way im glad that I have waited this long because I feel far more appreciative for all this city has to offer.

 

Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar – 23 Olivers Lane

Newish eating space and located in the heart of the CBD is rammed with a cool crowd of people and serving all your favourite asian dishes from Thai, Japanese to Cantonese. I opted for the 5 course menu plus a starter of the most freshest shuck oyster ive ever had – not even kidding!

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Anything from the sizzling pork buns to the spicy king prawn salad and the masterpiece of Wagyu beef was beyond amazing. This place is one you can not walk past and ignore and I can see why it is so popular amongst the Melbourne foodies.

 

Burch & Purchase Sweet Studio – 647 Chapel Street, South Yarra

From the moment you walk in here, a sweet sugary smell hits you in the face with wall to wall desserts, cakes, jams & spreads and enough confectionary to last a lifetime. I got the chance to meet Darren who is the owner and brains behind it all. His extravagant creations are not just ridiculously delicious but what I like to call a a work of art and made with plenty of love.

Of course I had to get my hands on at least one of these marvellous masterpieces and what more fitting than a raspberry Blondie filled with Laurent Perrier champagne, peach, lemon and white chocolate. So much goodness right there.

PS – come with a large appetite 🙂

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Speakeasy Kitchen Bar – 359 Chapel Street

Only popped in here for a couple of glasses of wine. What I loved about this place was the double access from the main and back streets and the lovely open bay window which I managed to perch on, admiring the hustle and bustle of Chapel Street and great for people watching. ( just admit it, we all love doing it)

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Charlie Dumpling – 184 High Street

As per normal I ordered a feast of food which is perfectly fine if you are sharing between three people right? This place doesn’t take reservations so if your lucky enough to score one, take it, no matter what time it is. After being told by numerous people about how much they loved the place I knew I was in for a treat. Before we sat down to dinner we were invited to check out the ‘secret bar’ up the road. There seems to be quite a few of these little doozy’s around Melb’s and why not. Love a bit of mystery. I had a impressively tasty cocktail called the chilli caprioska – lets just say I was down right pleased with my choice of poison.

Choice of menu items –

Kuromitsu Salmon

Grilled Skewers & Lettuce wraps

Pecking duck dumplings

Rice crusted eggplant chips

Fried chicken ribs

And a special first birthday dessert which came complimentary – ready for it…. MILK CHOC DUMPLINGS WITH A CHILLI RASPBERRY SORBET – OH MY GOD!!

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Iddy Biddy Bar – 35-39 Bessington Street, St Kilda

The first things I dug about this hipster coffee house-bar-kitchen was the way creative way they designed their menus using children’s books. Very cool idea. As it was a warm, sunny afternoon, we choose an outside spot to make use of the alfresco dining (something that I haven’t been able to enjoy for quite some time!) and ordered some fruity fresh jug of PIMMS and a selection of finger picking food. Or is that finger licking?!

Chilli mussels, calamari and the definite crowd pleaser, wedges, sour cream and sweet chilli. Yummo.

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Sydney – City Life, Sophistication Plus 

Gotta love this city. Fast paced, standoffish, vibrant, buzzy and with so much to offer, see and do. Its hard not to miss it really…..

 

Opera Bar – Lower Concourse Level, Sydney Opera House

You cant really get much better than this famous spot, adjacent to the Opera house with stunning views of the harbour bridge. Enough to make most people envious.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity of admiring these more than average views with my cousin over a crisp bottle of Rose BUT watch out for those naughty grubby seagulls, they may leave little presents and plant some unwanted droppings on your head. Ekk!!

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Tetsuya’s – 529 Kent Street

So. This. Just. Happened.

This world-class restaurant serving Asian-French dishes has been on my to do list for many many years now and finally it was all actually happening.

10 course degustation menu consisting of mostly seafood dishes is basically, pure decadence. If you’re a foodie then feast your eyes this larger than life menu –

Pacific Oysters  with ginger & rice vinegar (extra option just because I had to)

Chilled pea soup with a sorbet of bitter chocolate

Soy poached Tuna with roast eggplant

New Zealand Scampi tail & chicken liver parfait

Confit of Petuna ocean trout & trout roe

Grilled Murray cod with mushroom ragu

Tea smoked quail breast with parsnip & calamari

Seared veal tenderlion with smoked bone marrow

Poached cherries with Yuzu & Young coconut

Tetyuya’s chocolate cake

Petit fours

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Now im not going to go bore you with every intricate detail of each dish like I normally would but if I had to sum it up in a couple of sentences then I would say yes, this place is epic. Astonishing.  The trout was a standout and although this is going to sound rather odd, the palate cleansers were exceptionally tasty and in fact so good that we had to lie that it was out birthday to receive an extra serving and even a candle on their signature chocolate cake (mature bunch we are)…..which by the way was incredible! Winning.

This will come at a cost of $220 a head (not including drinks) but if you are like me who appreciates food then I cant see why paying this price for a special occasion is a bad thing.

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Deck Bar  – Dee Why Beach

This beach ‘shack’ themed cafe with prime ocean views is a casual spot after a dip in the water and some basking in the sun. Located on the main street of Dee Why Beach, you almost feel like you on your own little private island and im told is quite a hit with the locals. Of course we had to nab the brightly coloured day bed while munching on delicious chicken tacos (of which I do recommend) and sharing a bottle of Sav Blanc. I don’t think life can get much better than that if im completely honest!

…..I even managed to walk in with my swimmers a towel wrapped around me and no one looked twice. Brilliant!

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Gold Coast – Sun, Surf, Sand & Sensational Alfresco dining  

A place I liked to call home for almost 13 years of my life has certainly improved as far as dining is concerned. Add to that a flood of charming vintage cafes and markets to keep you busy through out those sunny weekends. 

 

Hank – Shop 12, Victoria Avenue, Broadbeach

I was pumped about eating at this place after a friend had told me how exceptionally good the food was. Organising a dinner with 25 of your friends however meant the pressure was on to make a good impression with my choice of restaurant.

Because of the size of the booking we had to go with the banquet menu which seemed to work very well between the three tables. The staff here are great and very hospitable towards your needs. Even if you are vegetarian they are happy to swap with the likes of Salmon or fish.

The wine was flowing and I was very much looking forward to an evening of succulent food and great company.

So your probably wanting to know what we ate right? Well I thought you’d never ask.

As served –

Olives

Organic sourdough with truffle butter

Char grilled lambs ribs

Organic potato gnocchi which was unbelievable amazing!

Slow braised beef cheeks – To. die. for

Pork Belly with smoked pear puree

Finishing off with Sticky date pudding and salted caramel – could this get any better!

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Finders Keepers bar – 49 James Street, Burleigh Heads

Okay so it’s definitely not hard to find. Located in the local favourite James Street is a fairly new eatery to add to the endless list of hot new openings on the GC. Meeting up on a Wednesday night meant it was fairly quiet but it had a cosy feel to it and a decent enough menu with loads of plates to share.  As I was trying to be behave after a heavy week of eating non stop I went for the safer option of tuna tataki. Theres a pleasant mixture of seafood and meat and you will probably need a couple of servings if you’re wanting to fill that tummy up.

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Blackboard Coffee – 7/240 Varsity Parade, Varsity Lakes

Varsity has become the hub of trendy coffee places and especially being located right next to the College means prime location for these guys. I had been told about this so-called injected salted caramel donut and the words were like music to my ears.

I had to try one.

Even if that meant early in the morning.

I guess its acceptable if your sharing with someone 🙂

Yes?

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Canteen – 23 Park Avenue, Burleigh Heads

Funky cafe located down a lane, alfresco style. You can sit yourself outside in the old school train chairs and enjoy a latte in the sunshine or a refreshing beetroot juice just like I did. Also recognised as one of Australia’s premier espresso bars. Awww

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Paddock Bakery – Hibiscus Avenue, Miami

I absolutely adored this place! A once house converted into a vintage coffee shop. Walk inside and you have an impressive view of the wood fired oven cranking through the double glassed doors. Serving all sorts freshly baked sourdough breads, gourmet bites and the coffee. Well as I cant drink caffeine so I opted for the decaf and holy moly it is on point.  Whats even better is that they are open every single day. Outside you can take a seat in the lush garden, full of home-grown herbs and vegetables, leafy trees and even has their own car park. I’m thinking it’s probably love at first sight.

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Elk cafe – 16 Chelsea Avenue

I’ve frequented this place many occasions (more because it is conveniently close to my best friends house) but anyway….

It has a noticeable arty flare to it with mismatched furniture, concrete floors and serving coffees, some interesting macaroon lollipops and the best Chai lattes around town.

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Commune coffee – 1844 Lower Gold Coast Highway

Ahhh I do miss this quirky, vintage coffee spot. Sensational place to catch up with friends over brunch but you better get here early as its well-known popularity means queues out the door darlings! The vibe of the place is exactly what you would expect from a cool cafe.

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Edgewater dining – Shop 3, G7, Capri on Via Roma

Stunning spot overlooking the water sits this modern Australian food space. Perfect for a glass of wine and some tomato based pasta. Oh yeah that’s what I had! My first actual visit to this newish and uber stylish shopping complex, really impressed me with the variety of shops so I highly recommend a nosey around once you’ve finished admiring those awesome canal views.

A hot tip is pop into Manola’s brothers which in my opinion is the best delicatessen on the Goldie.

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Taboon – 514 Christine Avenue, Robina

Id been recommended this place by a number of people and I had to just see what all the fuss was about.

I wont tell you just how much I was hanging from a rather large weekend but even still I was amazed by how well the food was cooked here. I just couldn’t get enough of this modern, Middle Eastern cafe.

Minced Lamb, zucchini and yoghurt pizza was on the menu – I die! Followed by a trio of luscious dips. Turkish Beetroot, Tunisian carrot and Persian eggplant.

It was clear to see why they have won so many awards over the past 12 years, seriously good peeps!

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Elsewhere club – 1/23 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Serving you gladly is their motto and a club that has been part of my life for the past 7 or so years. I can’t get enough of this alternative, kooky club which reminds me of something you’d find in the depths of Bricklane or even Melbs for that matter. Full of cool cats, urban hipsters and hippies who are just purely there for the music,  is a pretty rare thing to find these days. It is by far the best club to come for tunes that aren’t commercial or pretentious and supports home-grown music which is always a big thumbs up. If you love your acid, twisted, dark and funky house then this may just be your kind of scene. The light up dance floor is one not to be missed!

Shout out to some awesome DJ’s who have made my weekends some of the best yet –

Giv Ashfar

Audun

DJ Katharine & Ben Abrahams, Motion Theory Music

Session Katz

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You Japanese – 9 Beach Road, Surfers Paradise

Fresh sushi, ahh yes I almost forgot what that was! In Oz its very easy to come across decent sushi that’s not going to break the bank account so when a friend of mine said ‘go and check out this place, its one of the better ones around’ I just couldn’t say no could I.

Theres nothing special about this place at all, nothing fancy and very Surfers Paradise, however the quality of the food will change all of this, trust me.

Starting with some traditional Miso soup, my favourite raw tuna, salmon and avo maki and finishing with a seaweed salad. Don’t forget to wash it down with some chilled sake. You just cant go wrong!

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Base espresso – Oasis Shopping Centre 32 Hill Street, Broadbeach 

Two word – so good. Opting for something on the healthier side (probably best) I went for the Acai Smart Start – toasted muesli, coconut yoghurt, chia seeds, acai, green apple and honey. Smart start it was indeed. Probably the best breakfast bowl ive ever had in my entire life pretty much sums it up here. Did someone say seconds? (actually no its far too filling!)

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O’Malleys on the Beach – Cavill mall above Macca’s

Ibiza beach Sunday sessions. Sounds like my cup of tea.

Sunday sessions used to be huge on the GC but over the years its become almost rare to find anywhere worth actually going to and lets face it im not really a ‘pub’ kind of girl UNTIL I came across this place.

Okay so its nothing overly special BUT the music is fantastic. I love the bongo drums and hearing these play while sipping on bubbles and soaking in the beach views was just wonderful. Remind me why I live in London again?! 😉

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******PICK OF THE TRIP******

Goes to………. Social Eating House (3 Oracle Blvd, Broadbeach)

So this place just blew the water out of the park! The fact that it has a cheese menu, unique glass charcuterie cabinet with meats from places such as Spain and Italy, screamed European. Finally the GC has a restaurant that offers not just quality food but a unique dining experience.

The staff was unbelievable friendly, bent over backwards with extensive knowledge of the wine and food menus.

The idea behind this restaurant is to order small plates to share or ‘tapas’ if you like which in my opinion is tremendous and obviously something I am in favour of. For me, it’s all about trying as much as you can on the menu to get the best out of it.

I know you hear this quite a lot from me but this food was just WOW. Top 10 and up there with the best of them.

Goats curd bread with balsamic

Baked figs with blue cheese & rocket (next level!!)

Steamed Asparagus, Fried Hens Egg, Truffle Oil, Goats Cheese & Manchego Beignets

Flank Steak, Grilled Shallots, Roasted Kipflers, Onion Rings

Confit Pork Belly, Spiced Plum, Parsnip Puree, Crackling Crumbed Prawn

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Cardamon Pod – 2685, 1/2685 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach

I only managed to sneak in a dessert here which was massively disappointing as I had heard so much about this place. Not only is it vegetarian/vegan but also very healthy offering raw dishes, smoothies and some pretty amazing sweets! My friend Louise told me ‘Steph, you need to try this cheese cake’. Okay then.

The Byron Hippy pumpkin cheesecake (as they call it) with poached pear was rather on the appetising side. Extremely rich and probably something you should share… (especially after 5 courses) or not.

I find myself wondering how on earth I manage to eat so much in one serving but as they say, there is always room for cake!

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And that’s a wrap folks! Apologies for the extra long super duper post. As you can see I had one pretty amazing trip with a marathon of eating but really when you think about it, ive only barely touched the surface. So many more exciting restaurants to check out in due time! 

Enjoying life’s pleasures with friends and family when they are on the other side of the world is so important to me and as I like to say – you only life once so make the most of it of what you love to do!

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Happy eating x

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Comments

  1. All these photographs look amazing especially the dessert photographs! My mouth has watered looking at these scrumptious looking treats! A great post! Laura xx http://www.shehearts.net

    • Thank you Laura, everything was just incredible. I really enjoyed visiting every single place on here xx

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