On my recent trip to Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, I knew I’d find highrise buildings, miles of golden sand and cute lifesavers in budgie smugglers.
One thing I did not expect was great coffee. Jaded by disappointing experiences in the past, my expectations were low, to say the least. But how wrong I was. If Elk Espresso is anything to go by, Gold Coast coffee culture has come ahead in leaps and bounds in recent years.
Heeding the recommendation of a waitress in another restaurant, we found Elk in an unassuming building on a quiet street corner an easy 15 minute walk north of the main Broadbeach drag. Combining sunny, beachy optimism with a funky inner-city vibe and serious attitude to coffee and food, Elk effortlessly challenged my prejudices about Gold Coast coffee.
The first sign that we had arrived somewhere special was the line out the door at 10 on a winter Saturday morning. Clearly, Elk is a popular haunt with locals and not just holiday makers. Owners Andrew and Jodie Whiting came to Elk after several years owning and running Vintage Espresso at Mermaid Beach, and their experience shows.
Courteously, manager Renny offered us coffee while we sunned ourselves on a park bench waiting for a table. And what exceptional coffee it was. Elk buys its coffee from Single Origin Roasters in Sydney’s Surry Hills and prepares it with skill and passion.
Breakfast choices include avocado and feta mash on sourdough with double-smoked bacon, pistachio dukkah and poached eggs ($17); house-made granola with vanilla bean stewed rhubarb, apple and strawberry ($15) and brioche French toast with salted caramel, banana, vanilla bean marscapone and chocolate soil ($16.50).
Hungry from our lazy walk up the beach (or perhaps just greedy), we both selected the Elk Feast ($20), which came as two poached eggs, a substantial wedge of grilled chorizo, a crisp, spherical, house-made hash brown, a barely cooked Roma tomato half, double-smoked bacon and two slim slices of grilled sourdough. On the side was a serve of smoky tomato relish perfect for dunking the hash brown.
Renny told me that the sourdough is sourced from Panya Artisan Bakery in Broadbeach Waters and the chorizo and bacon come from Bangalow just over the border in NSW.
Elk’s short and cheerful winter lunch menu offers several ‘brekkie at lunch’ selections, burgers, salads and a goat curry. We would love to return for the cauliflower croquettes with tetsuya smoked trout, herbed creme fraiche, radish and cucumber salad ($18) and the shredded pork belly burger with apple and fennel slaw and fries ($16.50).
For dinner (only available on Fridays), you can opt for the a la carte menu or choose a banquet at two price points ($45pp/$55pp). Dinner bookings are recommended.
With its perfect weather, glorious beaches and now, superb coffee, the Gold Coast really does have it all.
18 Chelsea Ave, Broadbeach (opposite soccer field), QLD
Open for breakfast and lunch 7 days, 6am-4pm; dinner on Friday only (bookings recommended)
P: (07) 5592 2888