I was probably about 7 years old when I first heard of Gold Coast. Or rather, I was gifted a bright pink t-shirt by a family friend who had just been back, with one of those “I was in Surfers Paradise & thought of you” written on it. As I grew older, my impression of Gold Coast was formed with two key highlights to do in the city – theme parks & beaches.
On this trip, I only managed to check half that list off (and more actually). Sad to say, I never made it to a theme park, no thanks to the weather. But that is exactly why, Gold Coast – I’ll be back.
If I do make it back, I’ll be sure to visit some of these top-notch cafes which came recommended in Scoot’s inflight magazine. Written in Chinese no less, but it was well worth the trouble.
First up on the list was Paddock Bakery.
We went there expecting a take-out bakery, and something we could buy to grab and go. So we were pleasantly surprised to find out it’s a sit-down cafe situated in a residential estate, which comes with their own garden sitting as well.
What I loved – aside from their really cute paddock takeaway counter – was their sourdough bread. I was never a sourdough kind of girl, but this – oh boy, did it change my mind.
We were also hoping to try their salted caramel donuts, spied them on the table next to ours, and actually asked our neighbours what they were – shameless when it comes to food – but they ran out. We tried waiting for the new batch to be pushed out. But they never did, so we went with the muffins instead.
The service staff were really nice too. One saw how desperate we were for the donuts, and said she would pop by our table to let us know if they were ready. Well, we all know how that went down though..
Another cafe which the in-flight magazine recommended was Elk Espresso, and one of my top favourites as well. Wasn’t the easiest to get to, we had to change buses from the terminal to get here. But it was well-worth it.
My pictures honestly doesn’t do the place and food justice. Took my photos using my phone after my camera crashed on me. But the photos honestly look better on my phone than on my computer.
But I digress. Everyone needs to try their Pulled Pork Burger at least once in their lifetime. I might be over-exaggerating, but every mouthful of that burger was just pure gold. I’ve never had pulled pork so tender and crisp and the same time, served with the apple and fennel slaw which was refreshing and complemented the pork really well – that was one heck of a burger.
Again I apologise for the badly taken photos, but would you just look at that cute (hipster) decor. J’aime beaucoup.
There were some hit and misses with our cafe adventures though. We were walking along Coolangatta Beach (recommended by our Airbnb host) and on display at Griffith St Larder were these really adorable donuts where you could inject caramel goodness into with a syringe.
So of course we had to try them. Gimmicky as they were. The donuts weren’t as fluffy as I expected them to be, so the caramel concentrated on really just the middle of it where you injected it into and didn’t spread out much. Cute though, if you’re into those sort of thing (which we obviously were).
I had a sandwich thing as well. And as you can probably already tell.. It didn’t leave much of an impression. It had gherkins though, that I remembered. Yum, why aren’t there more of gherkins lovers around? But other than that.. Nothing much to rave about in my opinion.
Food was the centre of our travel for obvious reasons. And I kept Miami Marketta to the last (for the dining portion of this post) because, well, you save the best for the last don’t you?
It was a good night, spending close to an hour listening to the band play. It really wasn’t the kind of genre we listen to, but the dude had a wicked way with the harmonicas.
The market had a fantastic curation of street food, it was hard to decide what to have. Eventually settled on this ginger chicken dish with cous cous, served with coriander dressing. Say what – ginger and coriander are two of my least favourite things, and yet this was my absolute favourite.
Tons of interesting dessert options, and I went with this – Apple Crumble – stewed apple, raisin puree, coconut cream, freshly grated coconut, cinnamon.. There was so much going on in this deceptively plain cup.
The market was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, and us being there on a Saturday was just perfect timing, with it taking place once a week.
While dining was a major component of our Gold Coast trip, let’s not forget the beaches. One of the things we were there for.
Surfer’s Paradise was a must-do, of course. But with all touristy places, it was crowded and packed with people. Together with the eateries around, and the surf shops, it would make a nice day out. If you don’t mind the crowd that is.
For dinner, we bought a slice of pizza each and sat along the street, watching the buskers, in awe of how much crowd it attracted. Business definitely wouldn’t be as brisk back home.
Gelato was also in order after something savoury. And this scoop of burnt caramel and pecan was simply delizioso!
Oops.. I did say the food portion of this post was over, didn’t I?
So back to beaches. My favourite of the lot was probably Broadbeach. I’d like to think that the sacrifice of the theme park was worth it, because we wouldn’t have made our way here without the additional day.
Sure, it was a gloomy day. But I’d like to think that was part of the charm, with more of the clouds being caught on the reflection of the sand. Or maybe that’s just me consoling myself.
Gold Coast, you have my heart. And I can’t wait to be back again.