Pavement Whispers: Sydney chef ventures north, bowls for Burleigh and new gin makers

Pavement Whispers: Sydney chef ventures north, bowls for Burleigh and new gin makers

From whispers of new openings from top Sydney chefs to cheeky poke-bowl bars, The Weekend Edition Gold Coast is always on the search for the latest news on the Gold Coast, dedicated to ensuring its readers are in the know. When we put our ears to the pavement this week, this is what we found out …

Restaurant Labart
Coveted Sydney chef Alex Munoz Labart, who most recently oversaw the esteemed kitchens at Monopole and Cirrus Dining, has announced he is venturing north to the Gold Coast to open his first restaurant right here in Burleigh Heads. Alex and wife Karla (a Gold Coast native) are currently underway with Restaurant Labart – a 60-seat dining space, which has taken over the premises formerly occupied by the longstanding Burleigh Chinese Restaurant on West Street, at the top of James Street. We’re told Restaurant Labart will shine the light on sustainability and seasonality, with a simplistic offering of snacks, small plates and larger share dishes, to be accompanied by a six-course set menu. Smaller Australian producers and international names will drive the wine offering, which will give a nod to biodynamic and natural varieties. Alex, who has worked under the mentorship of Sydney’s culinary elite including Mark Best, Brent Savage, Pasi Petanen and Karl Firla, is expected to open the doors to his flagship restaurant in mid-July. Sydney’s loss is a very big gain for the Gold Coast dining scene – safe to say we’re pretty excited to see this one come to life. We’ll have all of the details for you next month.

Lord Byron Distillery
A new distillery is due to open in Byron Bay in the coming weeks, with the finishing touches being put on Lord Byron Distillery on Banksia Drive. The innovative new distillery is the brainchild of Brian and Helen Restall, who set out to craft artisanal spirits for discerning sippers from ingredients sourced from their own family farm in Byron Bay and other local growers. The team at Lord Byron Distillery will be releasing a limited first drop of silver rhum (a taste of their double-distilled barrel-strength rum before it gets matured in oak barrels), plus a batch of triple-distilled and double-filtered vodka and limoncello. Once the doors are open, the distillery will be holding cocktail courses as well as make-your-own-gin sessions. Lord Byron Distillery is due to open to the public in the coming weeks – we’ll keep you posted.

Finn Poké
This weekend American hospitality identity Jem Jacinto is opening his second Finn Poké venue at Pacific Fair (read about it here), pretty much a year to the day that the doors to the flagship Byron Bay space opened. That was just the first step in Finn Poké’s Queensland foray, with another Gold Coast venue is due to open in July. Jem and sister Joelle Boehnert, have secured a site along Burleigh’s James Street as the home for the third Finn venue. Southern folk can expect the same authentic poke bowl offering at the new Burleigh digs, serving a menu of traditional Hawaiian poke bowls with hints of Japanese influence, using fresh ingredients and high-end sustainably caught local seafood. Finn Poké Burleigh is due to open in late July – we’ll have all of the tasty details then.

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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