James Street Burleigh is hotly contested space, the T-section of a dining hub that provides a range of casual dining choices.
But choice also means competition, closures and change of ownership, the case with Finders Keepers.
In a quick turnaround, new owners Kieran Jensen (former manager of The Fish House) and Emerson Brown have transformed the venue, opening up the front to the street, letting in the light and filling the front dining area and bar with greenery. A new paint job, some chic furniture and the addition of table linen have all added to the venue’s calming surroundings.
“I wanted the venue to reflect a sense of elegance and sophistication, more like a restaurant than a cocktail bar,” Kieran tells us, “a place to enjoy exceptional food and wine.”
There are four distinct seating areas. High tables populate the light-filled front of the restaurant where you can sit in casual beach attire and ‘people watch’ the top end of James Street. Chesterfield lounges provide an intimate setting to enjoy a quiet chat over drinks. A more formal table seating area replete with linen accommodates more traditional dining, and singles or duos can be entertained at the bar watching their cocktails being made as they chat to the barman.
With a menu divided into Light Beginnings, from ‘the sea’, ‘the garden’ or ‘the land’, Chef Curtis Brent (ex-Social & Co, Canberra) has produced a range of modern Australian dishes suitable to share.
Sydney rock oysters ($4 each), a cheese board or charcuterie plate ($24 – $26) would provide great grazing territory to share with drinks before moving on to more complex share plates such as house made gin-cured salmon and 12-hour smoked lamb belly with lentil and pine-nut cassoulet.
Particularly noteworthy are the charred king prawns served with blackened corn salsa and chimmi churri ($24), tender kangaroo loin with braised golden beetroot, black radish, Davidson plum & rosemary jus ($16), and twice-cooked chilli quail with cucumber kimchi & kaffir lime salt ($15).
Fine tuning of seasonings and acid balance is better attained on some dishes more than others, but there’s no criticism of the drinks list, where a range of 35 cocktails shines, augmenting some admirable wine choices.
A light and breezy venue by day, with candles lit, Ragdoll turns into date night territory at night, live music adding even more ambience to the dining experience.
It’s fabulous to see this venue up and running again. With attentive service and some excellent food, it’s a great addition to Burleigh’s burgeoning dining scene.
49 James St, Burleigh Heads Ph: 07 3184 8891
Open: Mon – Thurs 5pm – late; Fri – Sun 12noon – late.
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Ragdoll.