HIGHWAY TO FOOD HEAVEN

From edgy new eateries to raw-and-ready speakeasies, discover the Gold Coast’s finest food spots on the beaten track, writes Chantay Logan. Here on the Gold Coast we like to make life easy. We keep our favourite haunts where we can see them: on our main thoroughfare. While a little local knowledge helps, these prime pit stops are all conveniently concentrated on the Gold Coast Highway stretching south from Broadbeach to Palm Beach.

BROADBEACH

Hello sailor! Hidden in a laneway a stumble from the Broadbeach main strip, you’ll find buried treasure in tiki-themed labyrinth Aloha Bar and Dining. Sit amid pineapples and pin-ups, sip playfully presented cocktails and savour Kalua pork belly and tonkotsu ramen. Nearby you’ll find speakeasy bar Soho Place – just look for the red London telephone box. These guys are all about cocktails and craft brews … BYO food. If you’re looking to line your belly you’re in luck – this section of highway is also home to hospitality heavy hitters Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill and Gemelli Italian.  Further south, the graffiti-splashed Hideaway Kitchen & Bar serves snappy Asian street food.  Pull up a bar swing or book a table in the garden under a rainbow of suspended umbrellas.

MERMAID BEACH

Image: Bam Bam Bakehouse Facebook page

It takes three days for Bam Bam Bakehouse to create the perfect croissant. It’ll probably take you about three seconds to scoff it when you visit for brunch. From choux bombs to peanut butter and jelly cream puffs, this Mermaid Beach parkside eatery boasts the best treat cabinet in the business. Got a hot dinner date? Step over to the small but smartly styled The North Room. While it only fits around 30 diners, they’re treated to a top-notch share-plate menu and polished service. If you prefer a fast, fresh fill-up, hula to Poké Poké. Choose your favourite Hawaiian or Caribbean inspired bowl of goodness and wash it down with drinking coconuts and pina coladas. If you spy a red lantern swinging streetside, that’s your signal Etsu is open for business. The rabbit-hole style izakaya invites you to step into a world of binchotan-scented smoke and thrumming music, serving sashimi, tempura, yakitori, gyoza, whisky and sake.

NOBBY BEACH

Image: Inside Gold Coast

Made it to Nobby Beach? You’re in for a real treat, with one of the Gold Coast’s finest restaurants sporting an impressive new look. With its famously filling banquets and sprawling wine list, there’s no way you’re leaving Greek eatery Hellenika without feeling thoroughly indulged. Everybody needs good neighbours and Nobbys is particularly blessed. Fire Cue specialises in sassy cocktails and lip-tingling, lick-your-fingers Latin fare (order the lamb asado). Get your drinking boots on to experience The Cambus Wallace. Full of olde-world nautical nods, this hipster hangout is named after a Scottish ship carrying explosives, whisky and beer that sunk off Stradbroke Island in 1894.

MIAMI

Welcome to Miami! If you need a wake-up call, count on Caffeine Kings for a textbook pour. Their cold-brew Nitro coffee in a can takes care of the most serious situation, particularly when paired with one of the hollandaise-drenched breakfast classics. If you’re on the other side of the sunset, try Greenhouse Canteen, a trendy, foliage-filled oasis that aims to make the junk food we all secretly love to eat more wholesome. Enlisting pulled-pork impersonating jackfruit and uncanny cashew “cheese”, they’ll change the way you think of vegan food.

BURLEIGH

Image: Harry’s Steak Bistro Facebook page

In a tiny bistro tucked off the highway in Burleigh, brothers Patrick and Pascal Rabbath share the Lebanese dishes they grew up with. Hear their story over a spread of falafel, tabouli and flat bread. Across the bitumen, the newly opened Iku Yakitori Bar also offers an authentic cultural experience, right down to the tatami-style seating. Enter through the Justins Lane back alley, where you’ll also find Nightjar, the raw-and-ready speakeasy sibling to Soho Place. There’s no dress code and no rules – just cold beers, spirits and cocktails. Takeaway from Red Hot Cod will come in handy. If it’s hearty you’re after, a great steak at Harry’s Steak Bistro & Bar won’t wound the wallet … although unlimited frites could well damage your diet.

PALM BEACH

Locals love Espresso Moto. This ‘Palmy‘ cafe and bikeworks will get your motor running with quality caffeine and a breakfast and lunch menu of contemporary classics. With a cool fitout made for munching jaffles and slurping smoothies, Spikexx Espresso is another cafe-hopping contender. Dinner could be rustic Italian at Balboa, or Spanish pintxos at San Sebastian. It’s almost too hard to choose … and you don’t have to, thanks to The Collective. With five individual restaurants in one appealing alfresco package, it has every craving covered.

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