The Courier-Mail - QWeekend

Mum knows best – mostly

It’s a bit of a journey to get there but a tucked-away laneway restaurant is a family affair with a homely menu

- Review ANOOSKA TUCKER-EVANS

As you walk down the deteriorat­ing bitumen alleyway – which threatens to snap a stiletto heel with every step – past overflowin­g skip bins and graffiti-tagged Besser block walls, a glamorous Mediterran­ean-style facade stands out like an unplucked hair on your grandmothe­r’s chin.

Akin to something in the backstreet­s of Santorini, Greece sits a white, rendered, curved entryway. Plants throw their tendrils over the edge of the flat roof, while a distressed timber double gate brings a sense of mystery to what lies behind.

Welcome to Maman Bar & Kitchen, hidden among the shabby Laneway at Burleigh Heads.

Maman – pronounced Ma-Mo – is the French word for mum and is the work of Queensland sisters Liz and Karen Fines.

The pair set about creating a restaurant to showcase their favourite Mediterran­ean and Middle Eastern eats and opened Maman in Port Douglas in July last year. They then teamed up with Karen’s son Oli Frost and Oli’s friend, ironman Matt Poole, to open a second venue on the Gold Coast, in October.

Despite having to disconcert­ingly pass by the toilets and back of the noisy kitchen to enter the Burleigh restaurant, before leaning over the clean cutlery to scan the COVID-safe QR code, the eatery itself is an inviting one.

Grecian-inspired, arched walls frame heaving shelves of spirits on one side and striking blue and white murals by local artist Jai Vasicek on the other. A line of terracotta-hued booths runs almost the length of the restaurant, meeting a scattering of white, bar-height timber tables and chairs. There’s also a private dining space that sits along James St, flanked by breezy curtains, designed for an intimate lunch or dinner.

Echoing the brightness of the skylight-lit dining room is the menu. Designed to share and representi­ng home-style cooking like your mum would make, the offerings run from breads and dips and simple starters like burrata, olives or chicken liver parfait to small plates such as tuna tartare and gazpacho, and large plates, including

Stay ●

The giant new water park at Oaks Sunshine Coast Oasis Resort, Caloundra; (below) the Reflection­s restaurant next to the lotus lake and the resort’s pools.

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