There are few suburbs on the Gold Coast built to encourage a sense of community well-being, however Emerald Lakes is one of them. Oozing the charm of a modern European-inspired village, its centre is surrounded by a village, an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, along with 13 kilometres of walking and bike tracks around a lake.
Longevity studies point to ‘community’ as a common factor in those who live longest: “People who are more socially connected to family, friends, and community are happier, healthier, and live longer than people who are less well connected,” says Harvard-affiliated psychiatrist Dr. Robert Waldinger.
Emerald Lakes, with its geographical central hub boasting cafés and restaurants, is set up to foster community, as Cabukee’s owners, Chef Fin Tully and his wife Risa are well aware.
A New Zealander by birth, Fin trained and worked on the Gold Coast, extending his culinary experience in Brisbane, Melbourne and Japan at such places as the Sheraton, Stamford Plaza and more recently as Head Chef at the French-influenced Pompidou, Bulimba, before taking ownership of this central Emerald Lakes café.
There has been little change to the look of Cabukee since it opened. The semi-industrial fitout of timber and brick draws you away from the lake to a cooler, relaxing space. With the choice of indoor or alfresco dining, open from 7am, the community hub of Cabukee is a top spot for locals to stop on their morning walk to have a coffee and meet up with friends.
Talking coffee, Cabukee serves sustainably-sourced Paradox Roastery’s coffee, including their chocolatey fruit-based Picasso Baby for black coffee and the popular Penny Lane for white, its mix of toffee, sweet lime and chocolate notes perfect to accompany lunch of salads, bowls, burgers and mains as you bask in the sunshine!
With a menu changing several times a year, Fin injects new life and a touch of class into favourite dishes. With everything made in house, including sauces, the breakfast and lunch dishes are cooked to order.
Breakfast dishes range from Eggs Bene with homemade hollandaise to the delicious Breaky Pizza, from the continentally inspired Croque Madam or the French Quarter Breakfast Set to the best Homemade Hash Browns with crispy bacon rashers, two poached eggs, half an avocado and tomato relish.
Fin’s classical training and the influence of Asian cultures is evidenced in his meal preparation and in the attention to detail on Cabukee’s lunch menu: Bowls including Karaage chicken with Asian slaw and Japanese mayonnaise, Chilled soba noodles with a julienned vegetable salad and sesame dressing, 6-hour slow-cooked Brisket Burger with slaw, Swiss cheese, bacon and pickles.
Lunches lean towards healthy and diverse, including a vegan Buddha Bowl and a Garden Burger with its own beetroot, quinoa and carrot patty topped with cashew cream and chilli jam. Well priced and clearly marked for food preferences, there’s something for everyone boosted by lots of add-in options.
Whether you dine at lunch with a late brekkie and cold-pressed juice, a burger and beer or sharing a crispy salmon salad, bowl of fries and a glass of wine, this is a great place to catch up with friends with minimal effort required. After all, it’s the people we meet on the journey that count!
We leave with a little jealousy in our hearts. How fortunate is the Emerald Lakes community to have scored an excellent chef and well-chosen team! This is just the meeting place that Emerald Lakes needs!
Shop 5, 3029 The Boulevard, Emerald Lakes; Ph: 5594 2860 Open: Mon – Sun 7am – 2pm (until 2.30pm for coffee).
Cabukee also caters for events on and off site. Cabukee is a licensed venue.
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Cabukee.