5 MINUTES WITH ADAM HARALAMPOU

Owner of Justin Lane, Harry’s Steak Bistro and Bar and Mr Bengal, Adam Haralampou knew from the tender age of 13 that the restaurant industry was for him.  Drawing on years of hospitality experience gained in Europe and Asia, this Gold Coast local is now living his dream – running very successful eateries in his hometown of Burleigh Heads.

“Opening my own restaurants is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Adam says. “I’m passionate about great food, great venues and providing people with brilliant quality food.”

Adam opened Justin Lane in 2011. It sits in an old arcade, and over the past six years he has expanded it so the space now takes up 10 of the former shops.

Justin Lane Rooftop Bar
Above: Justin Lane Rooftop Bar

“We’ve got a rooftop bar, pizzeria, pasta bar and takeaway counter,” he explains. “It’s been so exciting because it’s just kept growing and evolving.”

Harry’s Steak Bistro and Bar opened in October 2016, with the intention of providing a steak house that wasn’t only for the rich. “I wanted to get rid of the idea that eating good steak can only be a luxury experience,” says Adam. “There’s a mindset that steak has to be expensive. But we offer great quality steak at an extremely reasonable price.”

LOCAL CHARACTERS, LOCAL PLACES

Both these venues are named after local characters – Harry was Adam’s late grandfather, a man who was passionate about food and particularly good quality meat. The influential and community-minded Justin family lived in Burleigh during the 1930’s. “I liked the idea of my venues having a local identity,” he says.

Adam believes it’s important for his restaurants to use local produce wherever they can. “It’s essential to support other local businesses,” he says. “The more we support each other, the better the restaurant scene here gets and the more it grows.” Justin Lane buys many of its meats and cheeses from James St Deli in Burleigh Heads, and Harry’s Steak Bistro sources much of its meat from Britt’s Meats. “They find us awesome meat from around Australia,” he says. “We use In Fruit in Brisbane for all our fresh fruit and vegetables, and a local florist for flowers for our venues.”

Family dining at Harry's Bistro
Above: Family dining at Harry’s Bistro

The Gold Coast restaurant scene has exploded over the past few years and now boasts 22 hatted restaurants, including new ventures such as Japanese restaurant Kiyomi and Moo Moo The Wine Bar & Grill in Broadbeach. Executive chef Kathy Tindall offers modern Australian cuisine at Catch Restaurant at the Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel, and Fellini Ristorante overlooking the Broadwater serves authentic, rustic Italian dishes. Enjoy a tasting menu in pristine natural surrounds at Songbirds Rainforest Retreat in North Tamborine; the waterside ambience of the cafes, restaurants and bars of Marine Village in Sanctuary Cove; and free-range, organic produce from local suppliers at The Wine Barrel in Mudgeeraba.

Adam recommends Hellenika in Nobby Beach run by Simon Gloftis, and The Fish House in Burleigh Heads. “Both serve awesome food and are iconic on the Gold Coast,” he says.

STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

Adam recently opened Mr Bengal in Palm Beach, a “no frills, great quality, neighbourhood café”, and won’t be stopping his empire there. “I live and breathe it,” he says. “I love being busy, and creating amazing venues.”

The future of the Gold Coast dining scene looks set to keep going from strength to strength, with critics predicting a big increase in casual outdoor venues that work well with the relaxed lifestyle, providing excellent and innovative food.

Justin Lane sign at night Booze, food good vibes
Above: Justin Lane sign at night Booze, food good vibes

“I’m passionate about great food and great venues,” says Adam. “On the Gold Coast, we have beautiful weather, beaches and hinterland, and now we’re throwing great food into the mix. New places are opening everywhere, and while they look cool, they’re more than that – they have high quality produce and amazing service. Why would you go anywhere else?”