Afternoon delights at Agave Rosa

We can think of nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon than hanging out with friends sipping a chilli margarita and grazing on fresh food. And we know the perfect spot to visit.

Agave Rosa is the place where all the sensory pleasures of sight, smell and taste come together.

Hokkaido scallop ceviche

Situated on the ground floor of the Iconic tower opposite Kirra Beach, Agave Rosa follows owner Franz Zdesar’s simple formula used to great effect in his former establishment, Project Tokyo: Use great ingredients. Make it fresh. Give each dish a twist. Make fabulous cocktails. Have fun.

Farm chicken chimichangas, Crispy pork belly

“I fell in love with the fresh flavours and healthiness of Mexican food on several holidays I spent in Mexico,” Franz tells us. “So, I have always wanted to open a Mexican restaurant.”

Basing the pink colour palate on Luis Barragan’s paintings and stylized cactus flowers of the Agave Rosa plant, the restaurant’s owner-designed décor also provides a tongue-in-cheek reference to modern culture. The mural of two amigos, their dialogue ‘Let them eat tacos’ is not the classical cake quip I’d first imagined, but a twist on Pulp Fiction.

At first sight, Agave Rosa is fun and casual, feminine and sexy, a subtle recognition of the part women play in driving the dining market, with the abundance of beer and spirits on the drinks menu providing plenty of encouragement for all genders.

Hibachi grilled octopus

If anything, the playful fit out gives us an introduction to non-traditional, modern Mexican-inspired fare, its simple flavours given a twist of Japanese and Portuguese inspiration. It’s a menu of differing sized plates that can just as easily be shared as eaten solo.

Tuna sashimi tostadas

Ceviche features Hokkaido scallops as its central ingredient when we visit, Sashimi tostadas use fresh market fish, and Hibachi-grilled wagyu is served with chimichurri, grilled sweet corn and yuzu miso butter. Croquettes are made on bacalao, the Basque-style salted cod that is also found in Mexico, or shiitake mushrooms, another Japanese twist.

Crispy pork belly and Chimichangas

But Agave Rosa doesn’t stray too far from Mexican food’s fresh intentions. Chillies are sourced from Mexico, roast on the char grill and blitzed to form their house recado negro spice mix. Together with chipotle, we get aromatic Mexican cuisine rather than fiery flavours.  Beef up the fire level if you wish with bottled sauces which, taking a back foot to flavour, can be found on the bar.

Tacos come in six flavours

Using fresh local produce, street corn, cooked to order, is topped with delicious house made spices and authentic quesa fresco. The tacos we try (one of six different fillings) are filled with freshly prepared achiote-marinated chicken. Sodas are the Mexican favourite, Jarritos.  

Crispy pork belly

Agave Rosa is as notable for what we don’t see: refried beans and melted cheese piled high on mountains of corn chips. We don’t miss them at all!

From the agave comes tequila, and we’re here for a good time. With Happy Hour and a limited menu available from 3pm – 5pm daily, there’s a great incentive to spend Sunday afternoon chatting over drinks while we snack on the tapas menu leading into dinner.

“People come and they don’t want to leave,” says Franz, and we’re not surprised. We could very easily while away a sunny afternoon on one of the beach-facing breeze block stools.

After all, it comes down to this: ‘Viva la Vida’. The title of one of Coldplay’s most famous songs above the bar proclaims, ‘Long Live Life’. It’s way too short. Let’s enjoy every minute. 

Agave Rosa, 2/74 Musgrave St, Coolangatta QLD 4225 Ph: 07 5603 5657

Open: Dinner Wed – Sun 5pm – 9pm; Fri – Sun 12noon – 3pm, Happy hour 3 – 5pm

NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Agave Rosa.

Open: Dinner Wed – Sun 5pm – 9pm; Fri – Sun 12noon – 3pm, Happy hour 3 – 5pm
      
2/74 Musgrave St, Coolangatta QLD 4225, Australia