Bring your appetite for adventure – Suzy is bringing a little taste of Seoul to Burleigh Heads
Korean barbecue is a unique culinary experience. For those who have not yet had the pleasure, it looks a little something like this – your nearest and dearest seated around a sizzling barbecue, laughing loudly, jovially arguing over who should hold the tongs. The beauty of the experience is that instead of just sitting back and waiting for your food to come to you, it’s interactive and communal. Everyone shares the responsibility of creating and enjoying the meal. Up until now, the Gold Coast’s Korean barbecue joints have been fairly traditional in terms of their offering. Enter Suzy. Suzy is Korean barbecue, but not as you know it …
The first thing you need to know about Suzy is that she wants you to forget everything you think you know about Korean barbecue. While some venues follow tradition closely, Suzy is here for a damn good time. Transforming the Gold Coast Highway-fronting space (formerly occupied by Wonderbird), next door to Mr Hizola’s, Suzy is an eccentric new Korean-inspired eatery that officially opens on Saturday, April 30. With only 42 seats, Suzy may not be the biggest restaurant in town, but what she lacks in size she more than makes up for in personality. The venue is the handiwork of four mates, who between them own a pretty impressive array of eateries. Tim O’Sullivan, the instigator, has spent the last few years (pre-Covid) skipping between Australia and Seoul with his side hustle Bae Juice, and fell head over heels in love with the social aspect of Korean barbecue. When he made the move to the Gold Coast, he regularly found himself driving to Southport to satisfy his Korean barbecue craving all the while wishing there was one a little closer to his home. When he pitched the idea to some of his hospitality pals, which just so happened to be Stevie Filipovic (Light Years) as well as Madeleine Norton and Lachlan Cuskelly, who together have breathed new life into Panchos Mexican restaurant in Mudgeeraba, they all jumped at the idea. The crew collectively decided that Burleigh Heads was the ideal backdrop to bring their vision to life.
Fast-forward a month of late nights and Suzy is ready to open. A couple of DIY milk-crate tables and red Coca-Cola chairs line the front footpath while vintage Korean advertisements draw your attention inwards through the servery-style windows. Inside a row of nine high tables – each complete with its own charcoal barbecue – fill the small space with a scattering of regular settings for those who wish to dine a la carte. When it comes to the menu, Suzy is all about the experience. It’s interactive, in every sense of the word. Inspired by the streets of Seoul, with an Australian twist, the menu meanders from sides such as fried Korean-pear chips to corn cheese, which is exactly as it sounds – sweetcorn kernels doused in a sizzling creamy mozzarella. The kimchi dumplings are set to be a crowd favourite alongside the Korean fried chicken, which is available as original with Kewpie or sweet and spicy. The bibimbap (Korean rice bowl) is also a must-try. For those with an appetite for adventure, the barbecue plates are the star. Here you’ll find everything from pork collar to ox tongue and everything in between. The meat is brought to your table, and the rest, well, that’s up to you. You needn’t be a Michelin-starred chef, in fact, Suzy encourages a kind of culinary hedonism. Like your meat well done and then some? That’s totally fine. The crew is on hand to give you some tips and tricks, but mostly regale tales of adventures after one too many Soju bombs.
Speaking of, another thing you need to know about Suzy is that Korean booze is strong. There’s a scattering of beer, plum wine, rice wine and, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, give the aforementioned Soju bomb a whirl (that’s a shot of Soju dropped into a beer, in case you were wondering). There’s also a clutch of curious cocktails such as the Kimmys Margarita, which is a kimchi-infused spicy marg to sip while you sizzle. From 9:30 pm, the lights will dim and the music will crank. Suzy is unlike anything the Gold Coast has experienced before.
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