The year in review: a baker's dozen of the Gold Coast's best cafe openings of 2023

The year in review: a baker’s dozen of the Gold Coast’s best cafe openings of 2023

As we hurtle towards the final weeks of 2023 and the out-of-offices begin to flood in, we wanted to take a minute to reflect on the year that was. 2023 brought some seriously drool-inducing bakeries, sandwich slingers and boutique coffee spots aplenty. We’ve collated a list of what we think are some of the year’s best new cafe openings, from the extraordinary to the neighbourhood nooks. In no particular order, here are our picks …

Tarte Beach House, Currumbin: Perched on the banks of Currumbin Creek, this incredible venue is technically two-in-one, with downstairs delivering the same sandy-footed stroll-in-off-the-beach style vibe you know and love from Burleigh, while upstairs, you’ll find a slightly more elevated experience, meaning Tarte Beach House would be perfectly at home on our best cafe and best restaurant list. Perfectly encapsulating a chic Hamptons-meets-Paris aesthetic, Tarte Beach House was undoubtedly one of the year’s most enthusiastically received new openings. If you’re yet to experience Tarte Beach House, add this one to your holiday hit-list.

Bake House Gozen, Molendinar: There’s something deeply satisfying about sinking your teeth into a perfectly crafted croissant. The crisp, flaky outer that yields to the buttery layers beneath, each bite is a culinary gift. If you too possess a solid appreciation for croissants, start planning a pilgrimage to Bake House Gozen. The Molendinar-based bakery is the handiwork of Maki Jinno, who has been perfecting her pastry art for 25 years and up until recently was found at Palm Beach Farmers Market. After repeated requests from market regulars, Maki finally opened her first bricks-and-mortar space. If you’re planning a trip, you should know that Bake House Gozen is an exercise in quality over quantity so get there early!

Side Piece Coffee, Varsity Lakes: Specialising in brews, chews and banter, Side Piece was an instant hit with the locals, and once you get a glimpse of the goods, it’s not hard to see why. The all-day menu meanders from traditional morning morsels such as B&E Toasties to drool-inducing lunch bites, which includes the ever-popular saucy meatball sub and deli sando loaded with smoked ham, mortadella and salami. Be sure to leave room for a cookie, just trust us on that.

Buoy, Nobby Beach: Pronounced boo-ee, this is the latest from Brodie Green, who also owns Burleigh’s famed coffee spots Seadog and Seadog in the Park. Buoy is inspired by the dreamy Nobby Beach lifestyle and centres around all-day breakfast favourites and coffee. In terms of the menu, things are still evolving slightly but diners can expect a ‘no-frills approach’ with a spotlight on hyper-local produce. The stand-out so far is the ricotta pancake stack made with mascarpone, Vermont maple, berry compote and coconut sorbet. In the mood for lunch? Wrap your mitts around a Cheesebuoy burger (Oxley wagyu patty, Swiss cheese, pickles, tomato, lettuce and a slather of dijon mustard) or keep it light with the LULU Salad (cold poached coconut chicken, cucumber, tomato, onion, chilli, mixed Asian herbs and glass noodles).

Dipcro Pastry, Chevron Island: If you noticed the scent of something sweet lingering in the air on Thomas Drive, you are not mistaken. Follow your nose and you will soon stumble upon Dipcro Pastry. While customers are rarely given a glimpse into a bakery’s engine room, at Dipcro, they’ve put it front and centre with a glass party production space streetside. You’ll be mesmerised by pastry chefs hand placing individual slithers of almonds and brushing the croissants ready for baking. Once you do manage to peel your gaze away, you’ll be greeted with an elegant, gallery-like cabinet housing picture-perfect pastries presented upon their own tiny podiums, like tiny works of art. Among the line-up, you’ll spy croissants, cinnamon buns, delicate mille feuille and pain au chocolat alongside some savoury selections such as a beef bourguignon pie that contains chunks of slow-cooked beef that has been marinated overnight in red wine. A must for pastry lovers.

Janus Deli, Molendinar: A second entry for the thriving Crestwood Plaza hub, Janus Deli is a sibling venue for the owners of popular doughnut slinger, D Point Ten. Both chefs by trade, Dean and Ryan always wanted to introduce food into their offering, but have been waiting for the right time. Thankfully, 2023 was that time, creating a concept that combined both of their culinary loves – sandwiches and sweets. While Dean’s background has primarily focused on western foods and doughnuts, Ryan’s has been in Korean cuisine, which provided a flavourful base to begin building a menu that married the two. The brief was ‘simple and tasty’, with sandwiches and toasties featuring a slight Korean lean and matching the criteria to a tee. It’s not too dramatic to say the Janus fried chicken will change your life.

Social Espresso, Burleigh Heads: Conversations happen over coffee. It was this social aspect that inspired Mitch and Hayley Roberts almost eight years ago. Starting out as a wholesale coffee roaster in the backstreets of Burleigh, Social Espresso has blossomed into a local success story. This year, the perky pair rolled up the doors to an impressive new caffeination station a hop, skip and a jump from its original home. A glow-up in every sense, the new HQ offers more seating alongside a brand-new food menu that includes one of the tastiest pesto-chicken toasties we’ve ever wrapped our mitts around.

Paris-Brest, Palm Beach: If 2023 has a culinary theme here on the Gold Coast, surely croissants would be right up there next to toasties and sandwiches. Nestled at the base of Sable on Palm, along the Gold Coast Highway, the venue is the handiwork of Farouk Yousfi, who learned the art of perfect pastry in France. According to Farouk, the Paris-Brest difference is that everything is handmade with love, and a lot of French butter. The chocolate-almond croissant is undoubtedly his best-seller, with the seasoned baker struggling to keep up with demand. Among the daily selection, you’ll find rustic sourdough loaves, focaccias, danishes and pain au chocolat, to name a few.

Stone Studio, Currumbin: After an unexpectedly short stint in Miami, Brad Hooker and Jennifer Redmond were on the hunt for a new home for their beloved pottery studio/cafe. Their search eventually led them to Nuban Street in Currumbin Waters, and while it wasn’t much to look at initially, the pair immediately fell in love with the spacious lawn area and began to imagine sun-soaked coffees by day and clay and sip classes beneath festoon lighting of an evening. If you’re yet to check out the new digs, let this be the sign you’ve been waiting for. Whether you’re in the mood for a coffee and a chat in the sunshine, or you’re keen to get your hands dirty with a clay class, Stone Studio is a delight.

The Holliday. Coffee, Nobby Beach: Look for the peach-hued umbrellas and stream of happy faces and you’ll find The Holliday. Coffee. Designed to capture those sweet carefree holiday vibes, The Holliday. Coffee is the latest venture from Marcus Wilkins (co-owner of Burleigh’s institution coffee house Nook Espresso) alongside partner Liv Ayres, who has also been in the hospitality industry for the past decade. Together, they’ve created a casual coffee slinger that locals have been quick to adopt into their daily routines. There’s some exciting things in the works here, so watch this space!

Chanoyu, Nerang: Okay so technically this one isn’t a ‘new’ addition as Chanoyu has been operating from Southport for years, but we’re willing to overlook technicalities in favour of matcha-filled cream puffs and katsu sandos. In August, Chanoyu’s owner and chef Shin Sugiyama moved his much-loved Japanese cafe to a new home on Nerang Street. The definition of unassuming, Chanoyu is proof that it’s not always the flashiest fit-out that keeps people coming back for more. Sometimes it’s iced-matcha lattes.

The Bread Social, Currumbin: In a massive boon for the Gold Coast, this year The Bread Social announced it was moving production from Byron Bay to an enormous new home in Currumbin Waters. We got our first taste of the ambitious new project in June, when Tom Scott, Sammy Saulwick and Paul Giddings rolled up the doors to a new nook slinging coffee and a selection of baked goods. The crew have big plans for their new home, including a fully fledged cafe and state-of-the-art industrial bakery. This is just the beginning, and we’re excited.

Banksy Bar & Kitchen, Broadbeach: Last but definitely not least, in July, we welcomed Banksy Bar & Kitchen, which is the third venue for Paul Rosenkranz and Alex Mears, who also own Burleigh Heads’ much-loved Quest Coffee Roastery and Cafe. Nestled beneath The Spot building in Broadbeach, Banksy is named after their adorable Hungarian Vizsla and is dedicated to breakfast, brunch and lunch with a special focus on salads.

2023 has been massive on the cafe front, meaning we cannot possibly list all of the amazing places we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing this year. If you’re still on the hunt for some top-notch spots check out Nan’s Coffee in Broadbeach, Ferg’s Cafe & Bar in Miami, Kinship Cafe in Currumbin and Golden Times at Tugun, which is dishing up old-school village vibes. Burleigh Waters welcomed Pancake Diner to its mix, while brunch lovers have flocked to The Winey Cow in Main Beach. If you’re heading out for an adventure on Mount Tamborine, do yourself a favour and make a pit-stop at Franquette. Pop over to our round-up of 2023’s best bars and best restaurants.

The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.


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