Everything old is new again!
It’s fantastic to see an old loved venue rejuvenated, especially by people who know what they’re doing. So when we saw that the old Plantation House in West Burleigh has been given a huge makeover by the Richards family (Lola’s, Continental Shelf Deli and Vanilla Bean) we were really excited! And so are the locals.
The charm of the old building has been restored with a modern but rustic twist by Nathan Richards, influenced by the area (two minutes from the open fields of Tallebudgera Valley), venues he saw while working overseas, and the family’s fond memories of the Plantation House of their Gold Coast childhood.
In keeping with the heritage of the old motel and restaurant, featured in photos on the wall of the new cafe, the refurb makes a bold statement about the venue’s purpose. It’s an authentic country grocery café, with local farm produce such as free range eggs, fruit and vegetables, and some of the restaurant’s own preserves for sale, as well as meals and drinks. Taking pride of place in the restaurant is the pantry: open shelving housed behind iron mesh, filled with kitchen stock, providing an ever changing dynamic yet useful feature wall. To get the right feel, there’s the added nostalgia of plaited plantation chairs, jam jar light fittings made to order and tables hand made from packing boxes, the logo on each one individually stencilled.
The menu displays the same earthiness as the fit out, featuring down-to-earth produce with farm-fresh goodness, unfussy and unpretentious, grounded in its delivery of food from farm to table. It looks wholesome. Burgers are brought to the table on wooden boards, while salads arrive in generous serves on platters. With the most expensive lunch item priced at $11.90, it’s wholesome fare at a great price!
“We’ve made a long term investment in The Plantation House,” says Nathan, “which means that we want to push everything up to the next level in quality, to make it unique; you won’t see our produce elsewhere. So, all food is made on the premises, including the beetroot relish, tomato relish and chilli jam, cakes and slices, coconut ice and rumballs. Many of them are family recipes, such as the banana bread, which is my Grandmother’s recipe. It’s so good that we’ve used it in every restaurant we’ve had, and many of the sweets are made from family recipes as well. We’ve also worked with the roasters who blend our coffee, to make it to the quality and style our patrons like – strong and sweet.” (Adoré coffee made on a La Marzocca Linea.)
As we chat, I notice the stream of clients who walk in, a mix of tradesmen coming in to buy lunch, families with young children and couples drifting into the restaurant to find a table. Trade starts at 6am, I’m told, with tradies picking up their Egg and bacon rolls and coffee or food from the display cabinet, but there are also plans to extend to restaurant hours to include night functions with tapas or a set menu. There will also be a choice between licensed or BYO menus for functions.
The Plantation House Café may only have reopened in July 2012, but it’s got a strong heritage of both place and experience behind it. Serving authentic homemade food, it’s as close as you’ll get to eating on the farm itself.
Update 2016: The Richards family have since sold Plantation House.
1/43 Tallebudgera Creek Rd., West Burleigh Ph: 07 5520 0583 Open: Mon – Sat 6.30am – 2.30pm; Sun 7am – 2pm