American-Chinese diner FuFu brings prawn toast, meal boxes and fun vibes to Mermaid Beach
First it was a modern Mexican restaurant, then a mezcal bar, followed by the Gold Coast’s first dedicated poke-bowl eatery. You’d think Morgan Walsh would be done (well, for a little while at at least) but today, Thursday March 1, she is opening the blush-pink doors to her fourth Mermaid Beach venue – a Chinese-American diner called FuFu.
Late last year we dropped the news that Morgan was working on FuFu, and construction works quickly began on the high-traffic space that used to house Burger Fuel (and the Ashy Bines cafe and Bernie’s Burgers before that). With Poké Poké located in the same complex and Bonita Bonita and BonBon bar just a few hundred metres up the highway, FuFu’s location was really a no-brainer. As you might gather from its name, FuFu is cheeky and cheerful, with a fun vibe and a menu that is designed to be more indulgent than its sibling venues. Basically, FuFu puts a Chinese spin on old-school diner classics – there’s everything from cheeseburger spring rolls to mac ‘n cheese with barbecue pork. Plus, the meals here won’t break the bank, which is right in line with Morgan’s ethos of creating venues that are more accessible to the everyday person on a regular basis. Lunch and dinner will be served Wednesday to Sunday, with breakfast and diner-style filter coffee added to the mix on weekends only.
While Morgan has been the creative mind behind the fit-out of all of her venues, each one has its own style and identity – and FuFu is no exception. The landmark Mermaid Beach building is unrecognisable from its former state – its bright white and blush pink exterior, complete with archways featuring louvered glass windows, lush landscaping and a retro-style vertical neon sign, cuts a striking figure along the Gold Coast Highway. Inside you’ll find booth-style seating, with off-white tables and glorious pink velvet bench seats. By day, FuFu is bright and breezy and by night the fluro pendants, pink wallpaper and cheeky signs (like ‘no bad juju, only good fufu’) shine bright.
FuFu shifts away from share plates by offering old-school meal boxes for one, with a series of Chinese-American dishes served on a single stainless-steel tray. Choose from one of six meal boxes (including vegetarian and vegan options), such as the Happy Time – you get fried rice, sweet-and-sour pork, egg foo yung (omelette), vegetables in XO sauce and a handful of prawn crackers. You can opt to build your own box with everything from fat noodles with barbecue pork to beef and black bean and lemon-honey chicken. Or, you can indugle a little with one of FuFu’s standalone specialty dishes – there’s a hot dog with char siu sauce, a beef-cheek jaffle with gooey cheese and a sarsaparilla and plum sauce, and prawn toast (but not as you know it) with wasabi mayo. For a truly unique breakfast, you can head to FuFu on weekends to find morning eats like mac ‘n cheese with scallion pancakes, fried-rice porridge, jaffles filled with egg, barbecue pork and baked beans, and a Chinese sausage (mc)muffin. As for drinkables, there’s a tight list of Asian-inspired cocktails, including the Yuzu You Boo with yuzu, sake, jelly and sparkles, as well as beers and old-school glass-bottle soda pops – which you can (and should) turn into a spider for a few extra smackers. Finish with deep-fried ice-cream or a yum-cha-style mango pancake filled with cream for a very happy ending.
It’s time to get your FuFu on – head to our Stumble Guide for opening hours and location.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 350 places to eat, drink, shop and play.