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