Sometimes a new owner can bring a breath of fresh air into a place. That’s the feeling we get with Griffith Street Larder.
Early in 2016, Kylie and Dennis Bastos settled on the Gold Coast leaving Melbourne’s cold winters behind. Their purchase of the already successful Larder, formerly owned by the crew from Blackboard Coffee, has brought a renewed sense of enthusiasm to the casual sidewalk café located on the ground floor of The Strand, Coolangatta.
Having successfully operated a suburban café in trendy Collingwood for ten years, the couple have brought with them tried and true recipes for success: a ‘hands-on’ approach to running a café and a willingness to meet the market in menu items and price and, most of all, a warm welcome to everyone who enters the café.
Kylie recounts the lessons she learned working for Jacques Reymond years ago: “He taught me to pay attention to every detail. That’s why he’s been so successful.” It’s a principle she carries to this day: insisting on quality local produce, making as much as possible in house, and maintaining a sunny disposition.
“It’s much friendlier here than Melbourne,” Kylie says, beaming as she talks. “It’s more relaxed, with less stress – more ‘real’.”
Retaining the café’s hallmark Blackboard Coffee Roasters brew has kept the locals happy. So have the seven-day-a-week opening hours as well as the practice of giving complimentary still or sparkling water. Larder is also a licensed premises.
Bringing Chef Greg O’Leary on board (ex-Lester & Earl and Little Beans), the team has made some important changes to the menu, especially in the ‘All-Day Breakfast’ section, broadening it and adding new items. While the Smashed Avo and Hash Bene are still there, locals appreciate the increased range of mainstream breakfasts, from Bircher Meusli to the Hearty Breakfast Bowl.
The much-loved combination of pork and apple sauce gets a modern twist in the Apple Pie French Toast, and Green Eggs on Toast (scrambled eggs with fresh kale) is served with salmon or crispy bacon (not ham)! Of course many menu items and coffee are available to take away.
‘Lunch Anytime’ features Larder bowls (my fave), rolls or burgers with a side of chips. The Southern Fried Chicken Burger comes on a light (perhaps too soft?) brioche bun with crunchy house cut chips on the side; a great meal to take away as well.
I decide on a Smoked Salmon Bowl served with peas, avocado and kale pesto offset by the crunchy richness of fried capers. It’s a complete mouthful – everything you’d want in a lunch. Similar, in fact, to my favourite dish, the Crispy Zucchini Bowl with feta, peas, chilli, mint and garlic yoghurt, which Kylie has hung onto even though it’s one of the least popular dishes! (She’s got taste! It’s a ‘must try’ dish.)
“Queenslanders are embracing fresh, clean and healthy food. They’re also looking for and enjoying new concepts in food, which is great. But besides being healthy, people want to mix up what they eat,” Kylie tells us. “A lot of goodness and some naughty treats as well.”
Some things don’t change, though! By far the most popular items on the menu (still) are the cronuts and syringe donuts, their centres oozing rich warm caramel. Look beyond them, Gold Coast, as they’re not the only sweet treats worth considering!
Pastry Chef Julieta Orrego whips up a mean Sticky Date cake with butterscotch sauce; a rich buttery treat which is heaven by the forkful – perfect for a winter treat. In the cabinet are more sweets, some gluten-free, all made by Julieta in house.
With surprisingly few mainstream café-style venues in Coolangatta, it’s great to see Larder thriving, going full steam ahead with new vigour. The energy’s summed up nicely by a customer who thanks Kylie as she pays for her meal:
“Thank you so much! It’s so lovely to come into a place where people are so cheerful.”
We couldn’t have said it better!
85 Griffith St, Coolangatta Ph: 07 5536 4107
Open: Mon – Sun 6am – 3pm
NOTE: This article has also been published on Blank GC.