It’s fair to say that the Gold Coast’s culinary talent is not evenly spread around its suburbs. So, it’s exciting when another little café creeps across to the Dark Side of town, especially when it’s as brilliant as Ida’s Kitchen.
Opened in May 2019, this fresh, bright little gem sits between two gyms on Olsen Avenue, opposite Sharks and handy to Griffith Uni and the hospitals.
Decked out in a modern chic understated style, the handmade blackbutt tables are nicely set off against white walls, lines broken by bursts of greenery, the perfect unobtrusive backdrop for the meal to follow.
Walk past the servery and sweets cabinet and the venue expands out into a comfortable rear dining room suitable for a small group gathering, its mix of high and low seating in different areas accommodating different demographics and group numbers.
“The café is named after our grandmother Ida, a chef who owned a succession of restaurants, each one named ‘Ida’s Kitchen’,” says Jonathan Freeman, who co-owns the café with his brother Nick.
“We spent our childhood in her kitchens, and it was from Ida that we gained our love of good food.”
What they also gained, says Jonathan, was their work ethic and love of what they do, their grandmother still working at 75 years of age!
The café is the first for the pair who’re owners of allied business ventures in fitness and coffee roasting. It’s Nick’s Maloney St. coffee that we’re drinking, a mid-road blend that’s easy on the palate. Of course, there are freshly squeezed juices and shakes on offer as well.
But for us, it’s the short but inventive menu from Head Chef Kym Steward that sparkles. Using fresh and locally sourced ingredients, we’re ecstatic to be surprised by the flavour combinations on every dish, prepared on the day we visit by Chef Dan Thomson (ex-Blackboard, Griffith St Larder).
Smaller dishes, such as chia, acai bowls and sandwiches on The Bread Social’s bread provide light meals to eat in or go, with about a dozen larger cooked dishes, salads and burgers spanning breakfast and lunch.
‘Shroom fritters are a dense dark umami hit, their rich combination of truffled mushrooms, aged Parmesan and sage is very filling, even if doesn’t look large! The two patties topped with a poached egg, are served on a bed of cauliflower purée with sautéed greens.
Next comes the Kimchi and cabbage waffle topped with a spicy Asian watercress and toasted peanut salad. Jonathan recommends we add a side of karaage chicken, which is deliciously moist and moreish.
We try two salads as well (yes, we do a takeaway), my favourite Japanese Green tea noodles, slivered beans and snow peas, edamame, avocado, wakame and pickled ginger with a ginger miso dressing, enjoyed with a side of salt and pepper tofu.
We also sample the Spiced cauliflower and pomegranate salad made with freekeh, almond miso hummus, fresh herbs and tahini dressing. The perfect lunch!
Leave room for dessert, though, for you’d be remiss to walk away without trying the pastries. Head Pastry Chef Elsa Holland bakes cakes, slices and scones daily at Ida’s Kitchen, several also available gluten-free.
French by birth, Elsa trained at the Hyatt Sanctuary Cove before working for three years with Head Chef Kym at Paddock and Bam Bam. The pinnacle of desserts in a few mouthfuls, the Lemon meringue tart is outstanding, its short choc-almond crust filled with lemon curd and Italian meringue; the perfect balance of sweet and sour, a case all too rare on the coast.
Ida’s Kitchen is brimming with culinary talent. The investment has been made by the Freeman brothers, the hand of trust extended, the meals prepared with love… Now it’s up to Northside customers to give Ida’s their full support!
250 Olsen Ave, Parkwood, Open: 6am – 3pm daily
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Ida’s Kitchen.