Alex Munoz Labart, owner, Restaurant Labart
Our sole purpose is to make people happy ...
Gold Coast, meet Alex Munoz Labart. Those not entirely familiar with the name should expect to see it thrown around a lot from now on. The Sydney chef recently made the move north, choosing to establish a career-long ambition – his namesake dining space Restaurant Labart – right here on the Gold Coast. Alex’s highly anticipated Burleigh Heads restaurant has proven a breath of fresh air for the city’s dining scene, creating a refined-yet-convivial atmosphere that takes a refreshing step away from fine-dining formality. Alex took five to chat to us about what to expect from his first restaurant and where it all began.
Let’s start at the beginning – where did your love for food first stem from?
I grew up as part of a big family and weekends were spent cooking and getting together for traditional Asado (Chilean barbecue). Food and cooking at home was a big part of my childhood.
Tell us a little more about your vision for Restaurant Labart and what diners (who are yet to experience it) can expect?
I wanted to open a restaurant that champions sustainability, seasonality and simplicity. Our sole purpose is to make people happy, so there’s a large focus on the hospitality and service side of things. Labart is the kind of place you can visit multiple times a week and discover new dishes and interesting wines each time.
What was the reasoning for choosing the Gold Coast, over say Brisbane or even northern New South Wales, for the location of your first restaurant?
My wife Karla grew up on the Coast so we’ve been visiting Burleigh Heads for years. We saw a gap in the market for a restaurant with food and service of this level but in a relaxed, casual setting. That, and the idea of calling the Gold Coast home, became too much to resist!
Throw back to the early days – what do you remember about your first time in a commercial kitchen?
The franticness of a busy service – it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before!
Where do you draw inspiration for your dishes?
Family recipes, countries I’ve travelled to and produce that’s in season
What are your favourite ingredients to work with in the kitchen right now?
Artichokes, fresh peas and pears because they’re all in season at the moment
What’s your go-to dish for impressing dinner party guests?
I like to change it up but my fall-back is roast chicken, peas and mashed potato. Always a crowd pleaser.
If you were not a chef, you’d be a …
A DJ, because I love music!
Finally, what words of wisdom do you live by?
Always be a leader, never a follower.
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
Perk up: Borough Barista, Burleigh Heads
Relax: My balcony overlooking Burleigh Beach
Dine: Lupo in Mermaid Beach
Indulge: Bam Bam Bakehouse for the Kaarage chicken burger.