Guest chef

The fine-din­ing ap­peal of Queens­land’s Burleigh Heads con­tin­ues apace, with Syd­ney ace Alex Munoz Labart open­ing up shop. At Restau­rant Labart, it’s all about ap­pre­ci­at­ing sea­sonal pro­duce and pre­sent­ing new ways to cel­e­brate big flavours.


Alex Munoz Labart serves recipes from his new Gold Coast restau­rant.

FOR­GET ABOUT METER MAIDS and leer­ing sky­scrapers, the Gold Coast is shak­ing off its rep­u­ta­tion for the tacky, and prov­ing it­self as adept at food as it is at surf breaks.

Restau­rant Labart is the lat­est resident of Burleigh Heads, and comes cour­tesy of revered Syd­ney chef Alex Munoz Labart. With a ré­sumé boast­ing stints at fine din­ers est., Mar­que and Cir­rus Din­ing, Labart has ar­rived in the Sun­shine State armed with a hefty rep­u­ta­tion. While Munoz Labart’s wife, Karla, is a Gold Coast lo­cal, it wasn’t fam­ily that in­spired the move, but a de­sire for a bet­ter work/life bal­ance. “I love Syd­ney, I’m a Syd­ney boy,” Munoz Labart ex­plains. “But chefs [there] are over­worked, and restau­rants open and close within two years. I just didn’t want that to be me.”

While Burleigh is no stranger to great restau­rants (it’s home to Rick Shores and The Fish House), Restau­rant Labart has al­ready made waves in the lo­cal food scene. “We are try­ing to re­main ex­tremely sea­sonal with our menu,” says Munoz Labart. “There’s lots of veg, lots of seafood, noth­ing too ‘out there’.” The same goes for his col­lec­tion of recipes in this is­sue. “This menu is more home-style. It may be vis­ually sim­ple, but the flavours will blow you away.”

Heat oil, fen­nel and co­rian­der seeds, gar­lic and onion in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 6 min­utes or un­til onion is soft­ened. Add 2.5L wa­ter, le­mon halves and 1 tbs salt flakes. Bring to a sim­mer. Add oc­to­pus, re­duce to a slow sim­mer, cover and slowly sim­mer for 1 hour 45 min­utes or un­til oc­to­pus is ten­der.

Mean­while, for the cap­sicum and gar­lic paste, com­bine oil and gar­lic in a small saucepan over low heat. When hot, gently cook, with­out sim­mer­ing, for 30 min­utes or un­til gar­lic is ten­der. Trans­fer to a heat­proof bowl and stand un­til com­pletely cooled.

Place cap­sicum, al­monds, bread­crumbs, smoked pa­prika, cayenne pep­per, vine­gar, le­mon juice and cooked gar­lic (re­serve oil to serve) in a blender and whiz un­til well com­bined. With the mo­tor run­ning, add cooled gar­lic oil in a steady stream un­til com­pletely com­bined and smooth.

When oc­to­pus is cooked, drain and slice into in­di­vid­ual ten­ta­cles. Heat a char­grill pan or bar­be­cue to high heat. Grill oc­to­pus for 2-3 min­utes each side or un­til grill marks ap­pear.

Spread cap­sicum and gar­lic paste over serv­ing plates and top with oc­to­pus. Scat­ter with pars­ley and serve with ex­tra le­mon cheeks.

Bar­be­cued flank, egg yolk, charred onion broth

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