UPDATE 2016: The Pocket has new owners. Well appreciated by vegan, paleo and gluten-free patrons, The Pocket’s menu has extended to provide many more choices. This is fresh, delicious food: smoky babaganoush (eggplant dip), creamy hummus and labaneh, soft toasted pockets, and still the best falafel in town – the real thing! Dine for brekkie and enjoy a pocket “schnitzel sandwich’, or sit on the sidewalk in late afternoon with a drink to accompany your meal. Yes, The Pocket is now licensed!
The Pocket in Burleigh demonstrates that you should do what you know, even if it’s a specialty.
When David and Michelle Dvash decided to set up a restaurant with partners Marco and Annique Goldenberg, it made perfect sense to draw on their knowledge gained from running Brisbane food van ‘Eat a pocket’. Michelle had spent her life in the food industry and David is a farmer who grows only spray and pesticide free crops. The Goldenbergs brought their complementary artistic skills, Marco doing the fit out of the restaurant, while Annique provided the artwork fronting the seven metre long counter, giving the place an urban feel with a funky youthful vibe.
The Pocket’s food is Mediterranean influenced, with an emphasis on ‘Good food, simply delicious’, free range and locally grown produce, with as much as possible coming from the Dvash’s own farm. With a resurgence of healthy eating on the Southern end of the Coast, it’s no surprise that Burleigh was their chosen spot to open the restaurant.
It’s a small bright summery restaurant, comfortably placed as both a ‘take out’ and ‘dine in’. A colourful fresco-fronted counter separates the preparation space from the café, essential as so much of the food is made to order. There’s not a huge dining space out front, but alfresco on the pavement is perfect to watch the lunchtime passersby. More tables down the back provide a quiet secluded area, especially in the cooler months.
The all day menu is divided into two main sections: on your plate, and in your pocket, the pocket referring to fresh pita bread made especially for the restaurant by the famous Sol Bakery. Food is keenly priced, especially considering it’s made to order. You can eat well for $10 – $13, and enjoy a feast for $16!
Deservedly taking pride of place on the menu are the falafel balls, their crunchy outer crust yielding to a soft inner core. These parcels of joy bear little resemblance to the dry discs commonly displayed in kebab shop windows, waiting for the unwary vegetarian to come strolling by. Not only The Pocket’s salads are made on site, the falafel balls pop out of the machine ready to be fried off as we order. Served with a rich tahina and parsley dipping sauce, they’re a real treat, the best on the Gold Coast, nudging out the memory of Acland Street Melbourne as our falafel epiphany.
Our ‘small’ mezze plate is huge; an ideal platter to share, with tastes of most of the common menu elements: falafel, hummus, salad, freshly roast capsicum, marinated eggplant, tabouleh, tomato salsa and baba ganoush, all gluten-free apart from the accompanying fresh pita bread. The ‘large’ would serve three of four for $33.
A sparkling glass of fresh lemonade exudes the delicate perfume of rosewater and the tang of fresh mint. Not overly sweet, it’s the perfect refresher on a hot summer day, and could prove to be addictive. We forego dessert, but take away a gluten free brownie as a treat for a friend.
Byron Bay organic coffee tops off the bounty. It’s La Savoir, by Nat Byron, a gold medal Golden Bean winner. We can’t argue with that!
In your pocket or on your plate, The Pocket offers the best of cheap eats, great fresh fare – a simple rustic taste of the Mediterranean and by far the best falafel in town!
13 Connor Street, Burleigh Heads Ph: 07 5520 7770
Open: Mon – Fri: 10 am to 8.30 pm; Weekends: 7 am to 8.30 pm