Have you ever started a journey and ended up in a completely different destination to the one you intended? You may have enjoyed parts of the journey, or even the surprise destination, but eventually there’s the need to regroup, rethink, and start again.
If the 3-way split personality of Kiva Han, K Bar & Meze and Nord was confusing to us, it wasn’t an intentional part of the road trip. In fact, we were about to get something even better, more integrated when the construction boards were removed from K Bar and Little Mermaid emerged. It’s a little haven for the ‘coastal community with a village feel’ – Mermaid Beach.
“This venue has been created with one clear vision,” Little Mermaid’s website states, “to foster friendships, generate memories and offer diversity in both food and beverage whilst maintaining a casual and relaxed setting.”
“The idea was to get some sort of integration in a single venue,” co-owner Toby Diamandopoulos tells us. It’s a goal they’ve achieved really well, including the transformation of bar at the front of the space into a new day/night venue.
Designed by the guys at Studio Workshop and fitted out by Village Design, Little Mermaid is sunny, cheerful and interesting. There’s the outdoorsy feel of a beach house tucked in behind the sand dunes; a carefully curated one, where plants are well tended and travel trophies are mounted on the walls.
Gone are the hints of Kiva Han’s Turkish heritage and K Bar’s Southern Mediterranean meze come spit roast. Cleverly, hung ceilings and room dividers give a feeling of intimacy, lots of nooks to accommodate groups or couples in their own private space. And at every turn there are points of interest: fish traps suspended above tables, bric-à-brac in cane baskets, books nestled on shelves, and plants. Plants everywhere, even as a divider of air fern, offsetting the colours of sea, sky and sand. It’s just the sort of place you’d wander into off the beach to sip a coffee and check your email, or the place to catch up with friends for a casual lunch or dinner.
The menu too reflects that simplicity. It’s a short list of about a dozen choices for lunch and dinner covering burgers, fish and chips, skewers, salads and share plates, none breaking the $20 mark, with cheaper snack food to share, the whole menu well-priced to make dining an everyday choice. Vegetarian and gluten-free choices are clearly marked.
This is comfort food for the beach generation, making it easy to settle easily on some yummy dishes for brunch: Toasted banana bread drizzled with Mt Tamborine honey and decadently topped with crème fraiche and toasted almonds (9.5), Egg brioche roll for the vegetarian with aioli, caramelized onion and mushrooms (11) and a delicious Hot house-smoked Salmon served with a coconut dill-whipped avocado in its shell and a poached egg on sourdough.
On another visit we sample Salmon with Asian salad, a chunky baton of salmon laid over a roughly cut cabbage and fennel salad with fennel seeds and sprouts, dressed with olive oil- hardly Asian as described, but a satisfactory accompaniment to the salmon.
No stress about the coffee, though. It’s Kiva Han, roasted in house and made to order, a favourite of many, which alone is a reason to visit. There’s self-serve water with a pile of trendy paper cups left on the table, a move to limit congestion in the tiny servery, and of course you must leave room for dessert, especially the Strawberry and Nutella donut balls with their own chocolate dippy sticks.
While summer evenings lend themselves to balmy soirées out the front of Little Mermaid with tap beers, $16 cocktails or jugs of margarita to accompany snack food, in winter we’ll be heading inside for heavier fare, such as the Stone & Wood Beer battered fish and chips wrapped in paper or Grilled garlic prawns. The bi-fold windows will close to keep in the heat and we’ll indulge in sips of spiced rum or red wine. Little Mermaid will put on her outer layer as the season demands, enveloping us, making sure we are well fed and watered rather than being washed up on the sand.
2557 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach Ph: 07 5679 8355
Open: Tues – Sun 7.30am – late
NOTE: This post has also been published on More Gold Coast.