If there’s ever a place to shake up our perception of Surfers Paradise as the Glitter Strip, it’s Bobs, AKA Best of Beers.
A family-run business, Bobs was opened by Melbourne cousins Karambir Khanijou and Dhi Vig together with their friend, experienced brewer Ryan Fullerton (ex-Victoria’s Red Duck, Bad Shepherd and Clifton Hill breweries). It’s Surfers’ first brewery, a cosmopolitan bar and restaurant aimed at an adult audience; so adult, in fact, that their aim is to become the first hatted brewery in Australia.
Beautifully styled with beer growler light fixtures, swank booths as well as table seating, Bobs is to beer what Louis Vuitton, the former occupier of the three-storey site, was to fashion.
In a showcase venue aimed to display the ‘best of beers’, the bar boasts 16 taps, Bobs Beers flowing from eight with the remaining taps featuring some of the best independent Australian and New Zealand guest beers.
Behind the glass-backed bar we can see the craft brewery’s 12 and 24-hectolitre fermenters that produce the brewhouse’s four core beers, including their flagship Elkhorn Lager and Surfers XPA. Seasonal and limited releases are regular additions to the drinks menu, all dedicated to the Gold Coast, a selection of four available as a tasting paddle.
While it could be argued that beer is the central focus here, there’s no overlooking either the food or the service.
From a family of restaurateurs and hoteliers, Dhi Vig takes a hands-on approach to restaurant management, greeting guests at their tables and making everyone feel welcome, managing staff and checking orders as they leave the kitchen.
“Our aim is to provide some really good quality food and service that Surfers is missing,” he tells us, and that’s exactly what we find.
With Head Chef Norbert Szlama in charge of the kitchen (ex-his own hatted restaurant, The Lane, Coffs Harbour), there’s a menu of smaller and larger dish innovative internationally inspired food.
Szlama’s Hungarian-Czech heritage shows through in the ‘Halaszle’ Hungarian chowder or Ragout with dumplings, but he’s just as adept at making house sourdough (one of the most delicious we’ve tasted) from a 95-year-old culture, Middle Eastern-influenced Salmon ras el hanout chermoula or a vegan ‘Foie gras’ from lentils, beetroot, nuts and cognac served with a pickled fig and handmade chia cracker.
There’s a blackboard menu of specials and a premium selection of steaks, the provenance noted for each one, beautifully presented with an artistic accompaniment of roast potatoes and vegetables.
This is food to delight in, to savour and share with friends, remarking on the flavours, or even to embark on solo as a main (if you must).
With pure delight, we anticipate the arrival of each dish for its touch of intrigue. Each one is a handmade work of art, enthralling us with its own take on international cuisine. Signature Craquelin choux pastry gains a savoury twist with a filling of ricotta and King Island mousse, while fresh King Prawns, their richness offset by a crisp-textured cloak of kataifi pastry, are laid down on a bed of tarator and hazelnuts.
Even sides get the ‘Szlama’ treatment, snow peas served with samphire, almonds and garlic oil, Jerusalem artichoke crisp fried with smoked salt and aioli, and purple Congo potatoes crushed with basil and parsley butter.
We accompany our meal with a delicious Mollydooker ‘Two Left Feet’ shiraz cabernet sauvignon, just one of the possible choices on a well-selected wine list.
Not only for beer aficionados, if you enjoy a delightful dining experience that leads you gently down a different path, then Best of Beers is for you. With seating for over a hundred diners inside and al fresco, Bobs Beers is one classy outfit.
Unique in so many ways, Bobs Beer is a culinary destination unlike any other. For beer, food, wine and service, it deserves our highest recommendation.
Bobs Beer, 10/2 Elkhorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise, Open 7 days 12pm-12am, Ph: 1800 262 723.