Bianca: A few months back Alex and I had a brain fart, we were at home alone, where we proceeded to spend a good deal of time perusing Instagram. We then happened to come across a little cake store in Maroochydore , Tome Café. What happened next was pure madness…We then proceeded to book a 4 day holiday up to our fair neighbour’s state, virtually on a bored whim. Fast forward a few weeks and here we are post QLD bliss and here to tell the tale.
Alex has already done a detailed post on the accommodation and our meal at the hotel restaurant which you can read here Palazzo Versace. But allow me a short intro. Alex, bless his soul, likes the finer things in life – he’s the Kim Kardashian in our family! His one pre-requisite for the trip, was a stay at The Palazzo Versace in Main Beach, I’ll give him this – I was equally blown away by the rooms, service and the opulence of the hotel.
The Gold Coast has always had a soft spot in our hearts as it was the location for our yearly family holiday, spending a week or two in Surfers during the school break. Typically it revolved around the beach and all the theme parks. But this trip was geared more towards the eating rather than the sightseeing. And let’s be honest, what else is there to do on the Gold Coast, especially in winter.
After landing and picking up our rental, we made a pit stop at The Paddock Bakery in Miami. A small café/bakery churning out delicious looking bread, doughnuts, muffins and cookies. The café itself had a gorgeous little courtyard and I could easily imagine it being the ‘place to be seen’. I self-imposed a one item limit on myself and having been told they had run out of Almond croissants, I got the closest looking thing to one. An interesting concoction – a brownie enclosed within pastry. Perhaps better on paper than in reality, with the brownie having an odd texture. I’d hardly judge a place on one pastry alone, I wish we had more time and stomach space as the menu and the space looked great.
And the reason we had to save stomach real estate, brunch at Elk Espresso in Broadbeach. I was secretly hoping to happen upon a feasting Hiddleswift where I could express my disappointment in his life choices but it wasn’t to be. I was intrigued by the sound of the Marigold Latte – safflower, pineapple, orange, mango and marigold $5. A milk based tea beverage, with subtle floral notes. But not overwhelmingly milky. Unlike anything I’ve ever had before.
The food is on the pricey side, though I doubt Sydneysiders would bat an eyelid. The Eastern Spiced Vegetable Fritters – w/pork belly, avocado, lemon, labneh and poached eggs $18.50 were right up my alley. The mixed veg fritters were super crispy, the labneh lightened the whole thing up as well as adding some sourness. Eggs were poached perfectly and the pork was shredded then moulded into a little log. I happily paraded my far superior dish in Alex’s face!
Alex had the Potato Hash – w/Avocado, poached eggs, hollandaise and double smoked bacon $18. Not what we were expecting when it was set down in front of us. With two large potato hash balls, think large potato gems. Which were delicious, crunchy on the outside with fluffy potato on the inside but on the salty side.
You wouldn’t be remiss to think you were in Surry Hills but stroll 500m up the road and you’re on the beach. One to check out, at least for the people watching.
The next morning, we made the 40 minute trek from our hotel to Paradox Coffee Roasters. If we were going to eat like pigs we had to earn it! Usual round of coffees were ordered.
And this time we had to get something sweet, with one of our favourites. The Ricotta Hotcakes –w/ spiced orange, berry drizzle, vanilla cream, mint and maple syrup $15. The hotcakes were light and airy, I loved the maple syrup and berry drizzle – they kind of merged into a super sweet/tarty sauce. Fresh fruit is always great to balance out the sweetness. But for a dish with ricotta in the title there was no discernible ricotta flavourings whatsoever.
We also got the Avocado on Toast –w/bacon. The avo needed salt and the bread was burnt. The bacon was great….but bacon usually is.
Big props to the music selection with hip hop & r&b tunes. As well as the free sparkling water BUT might be an idea to mention it to patrons (especially those outside) lest they die of thirst! Dramatic? Yes!
After a quick wander around some shops and a 1 hour stint in Timezone reliving our youth. We made our way over to one of my ‘allowed’ burger offerings for our QLD trip. Bettys Burgers started with a single store in Noosa but time didn’t allow an adventure that far north. The décor is ‘jungle chic’ with hanging pot plants, aged white wood work and dark floor tiles. I half expected staff to come out wearing safari outfits. I digress… The burgers!!
First things first, Bettys has Shake Shack to thank for the menu’s foundations – burgers, shakes and concretes. Essentially a thick ice-cream or custard with allowable mix-ins or toppings. With that out-of-the-way, the burgers are actually very good. Staff were friendly but made us feel uncomfortable with their incessant hovering, we were asked 3 times within a space of 10 minutes how our burgers were.
Alex went with his usual, Crispy Chicken – w/Southern fried chicken, lettuce, tomato and Bettys special sauce $10. The price point is beyond reasonable considering the quality. The chicken was moist and the coating crispy. A little OTT with both the tomato and the butter lettuce, particularly with the thick white core. Not nice at all. We agreed on a 3.6/5 pickles.
I had the Bettys Classic – w/Angus beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, Betty’s Special sauce and added bacon $13. The beef was tender with a nice exterior char but there wasn’t much pink to be found. The brioche buns were soft and squishy. Again way too much with the lettuce, my situation was worse than Alejandro’s and we all know how I feel about lettuce in my burgers. I initially removed it but midway through the burger I was finding I needed the greenery to balance the heaviness. Remove the lettuce core and it would be a much more enjoyable eating experience. The bacon was great, crispy the way I like it. A 3.9/5 pickles.
We then waddled over to ESPL Coffee Brewers just opposite the esplanade. If you’re after good coffee in Surfers Paradise guaranteed you’ll find it here.
That’s a wrap on our casual eats on the Gold Coast, keep your eyes peeled for more Queensland food adventures.
Photos by Alex