Willow Dining Room Burleigh Heads – There are some Gold Coast restaurants that stand the test of time. It’s often when exceptional menus, exceptional service and simple community good elements combine to create something that keeps people coming back time and time again.
One such place is Burleigh Heads’ Willow Dining Room, an Asian fusion and Spanish tapas-inspired venue owned by Ian Jul Banghal, who also serves as head chef.
Willow Dining Room Burleigh Heads
Originally opened on the Lower Gold Coast Hwy in Burleigh Heads in 2016, Willow has quickly become a firm local favorite thanks to its cozy, welcoming interior and impeccable, flavoursome food.
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After moving from the Philippines (where he was an architect), Banghal creates dishes that are not only pleasing to the eye, and often intricately arranged in a sort of tower formation, they are all extremely delicious.
Back to the location for a moment, the newcomer is located right next to the Beleza Restaurant on the lake shore of the Gold Coast Hwy.
It’s an eclectic space, with mismatched tables, chairs and lamps, lots of greenery, a wall of logs that Banghal made himself (over many months) and a whimsical painting that occupies a side wall, evoking a vintage vibe .
It’s perfect like the welcoming, homely feel you’ve come to expect from Willow, but with so much more room to spread out.
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The menu remains the same and there are a few options that we would like to introduce to you.
The winner in our books, perfectly tender and delicious and a dish we could (and would) eat every day, was the sweet potato with garlic and soy dressing along with the sweet potato with garlic and soy dressing.
Seeded scallops in a ginger, chili and mustard seed sauce and topped with pickled sweet potato was also a delight, as was Jerk Chicken with zucchini and haloumi over saffron rice with a hickory smoked apple wood reduction. Yes.
For dessert, there’s a life-changing salted caramel and dark chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and mango puree and a Passionfruit Crème Brule to sample.
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Of course there are also Asian cocktails that go perfectly with every dish on the menu, so why not treat yourself to that too?
In the original venue, Willow often booked well in advance and while that will certainly happen, a bigger venue means more opportunity to party.
So get there early, they really do serve an absolute gem in the food department. In addition, they are very nice people and the service is second to none.
Hours: Monday to Thursday from 5:30 PM to 11:00 PM, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM and from 5:30 PM to 11:00 AM
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Burleigh Heads has certainly come alive in recent years with epic restaurants and beach bars popping up everywhere.
The locals love it, everyone is talking about it and we are 100% on track
If there was one thing missing from an area full of great atmosphere and even better people, it was a restaurant that revolves around a sense of community and here we discuss the team of locals who now own the place.
Burleigh Co-op opened its doors today (Monday, March 4) and the sweet little town already has a huge following, which doesn’t surprise anyone in the least.
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The newcomer is the work of a group of people whose names you certainly know, including the team at Hotel Miami, the legends of Granddad Jacks, the guys at Lost Boys Barbers, food extraordinaires Fingers and Bones Catering and Elki Blue Jewelery.
They took over the space that once housed the beloved Burleigh Social after quickly noticing the hole its absence left for hungry residents.
The bones of the building remain the same, but the apartment is all shiny and new, with a whitewashed industrial feel perfectly at home among the greenery, mixed plants and a small column cabinet nestled among the vines.
Inside, glossy white tiles line the back wall where you can watch the chefs at work and you can sit inside to watch them do it or outside on the prettiest patios.
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The menu is also one of the best around with many breakfast items you’ve never seen (or tasted) before.
Zucchini waffles are a taste sensation with a sunny side up egg (the best name for anything food-related), mixed vegetables, chili pickles and Parmesan snow (also epic). It’s a great old-fashioned meal that will keep you full for a long time.
Brick Lane Bombay is baked potatoes, spinach, fried egg, coriander, spring onion and lime. You don’t want to eat it until you’ve read that you’re not. One of the best brunch dishes in the world. Good conversation, no lie.
There are also a ton of bowls full of fresh edible treats and while we will definitely taste them all, we recommend the Green Papaya Salad first because of its fresh hot smoked tofu, rice noodles, lots of spices, peanuts, sour. chili and lime dressing. All flavors.
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Oh, let’s also talk about the Falafel with pickled red cabbage and caraway seeds, cauliflower hummus, corn tabbouleh and a pickle. Yes.
The coffee is from the local favorites Social Espresso, so you know there’s a sweet and delicious brew on the menu and all the products on offer are local, because Burleigh Co-op wants to showcase our beautiful city.
From the owners to the food, everything about the place is part of the community, the collaborative spirit that Burleigh knows and loves.
So after all these things, it’s clear that all you need to do is come to Hibiscus Haven and join the good.
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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Japanese food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So when a new, full-service restaurant bringing the traditional flavors of Japan opens in Burleigh Heads, it’s clear we’re all about it.
Recently Oi Izakaya can be found in the small alley on James Street, where Hail Mary lives.
It’s the work of local lads Troy Olsen and Stephen Thompson, who, along with famed Gold Coast design talent OJ Thompson (of Ally Chow and Etsu fame), have created something the Gold Coast will absolutely love.
The newcomer is a dimly lit, airy space adjacent to an alleyway, with Tokyo-style Izakayas with all wood-fired panels, intimate dark corners and an open kitchen so you can watch the magic unfold.
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The bar is tucked neatly in a corner and is stocked with an impressive selection of whiskey (love you), sake and Japanese beers. Little samurai fight for attention on one wall, while a golden orb (very magical indeed) shines out of another.
Menu-wise, the dishes are pure and authentic, with amazing flavors in dishes you’ll never want to stop eating.
For starters, sashimi, always. For your freshest taste of tuna and salmon. But also the Edamame Cheese Chips, something we have never tasted before but will now order at every opportunity. Don’t ask, just order.
Crushed cucumber is not only one of the great names for food, it is also very tasty. It’s basically cucumber in onion sauce, but the flavors defy too simple a description. to eat
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Oi Izakaya also has a Sushi Burger on the menu and yes, it really is like your breaded burger but made with sushi. Genius and very tasty.
The pièce de résistance of the menus is, of course, Okonomiyaki, the dish that made Troy and Stephen fall in love with Japanese food and the reason we now spend all our time in Oi Izakaya.
If you haven’t tried it yet, Okonomiyaki is made up of many ingredients, including eggs, cabbage, flour, Japanese spices, and your favorite meat. The food we had was Hiroshima style (with noodles) and it was the best variety we have ever tasted.
We ate the whole thing and you have to order it and then be impressed by how good our food is.
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For drinking we suggest you partake in one of the MANY Japanese whiskeys on offer, but if pure isn’t your thing, the Stone Rice is as good as it gets.
All in all, Oi Izakaya is delicious and a perfect addition to the Burleigh food scene and we recommend going there at the earliest opportunity and giving the boys some love.
And if you need someone to guide you through the art of whiskey drinking, you know where to find us.
How good is it to make new friends while pretending to work but actually just watching animal shows in a nice and cozy place? Very good, gang.
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In an (un)surprising twist, you can now do all those things at the fun suburban coast coworking and event destination that might just be our new favorite: Miami.
This is the essence. Lemana Lane is kind of an urban kid’s paradise, it’s nice that once there were only mechanics and warehouses, who knows.