Bar Espana. It’s a simple name filling a huge gap in our dining market, the Spanish bar opening in Broadbeach late in 2019.
Spain. No other country we’ve visited has stirred our souls quite like Spain did. From watching a human tower building competition at the Santa Tecla Festival to the wonder of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, from street demonstrations to signs of ‘Go home tourist!’ there’s no denying that Spain has spirit!
It was the spirit that Steve Arnold and Louise Thoms experienced when they spent twenty years in Spain and Portugal before moving to Australia, a spirit they wanted to replicate on the Gold Coast, their favoured holiday playground.
Already owners of a couple of restaurants in Noosa, they realised the gap in the market and took the opportunity of securing a central location in the Oasis dining precinct, surrounded by strong performing restaurants, their point of difference being their Spanish cuisine.
Transforming the former burger venue with colourful pink tiles, strings of chillies and Spanish beer on tap, this is the venue for great Mediterranean food.
From tapas to share plates, it’s comfort food to feed the soul, food light enough to snack on with a glass of sangria, hearty enough to quell the gnawing appetite of a day at the beach, to share with family and friends or to party on.
Tapas are even fresher than most we tried in Spain; white Spanish anchovies on ciabatta with aioli, delicious goats’ cheese croquettes with a sweet beetroot relish and honey saffron glaze, grilled local king prawns doused with chilli, garlic and lemon butter, or a platter of jamon serrano with rockmelon or peaches, goat’s cheese and basil. It’s perfect summer fare.
Paella is the signature dish, Steve tells us, and it’s a beauty, brimming with fresh fish, clams, mussels and local king prawns still in their shells, peppers and peas, the rice coloured by saffron to freshen up an authentic brown-looking dish for a new audience. There’s more than a hint of heat and depth to the paella we try on our first visit, boasting of housemade stock and a chef with a palate for flavour. Usually served for a minimum of two people, paella specials on Wednesdays offer a single serve for $30 including a glass of sangria and a serve of churros.
It’s just one of the specials on offer at Bar Espana. Others include Tapas Tuesday when all tapas are half price, Happy Hour from 3pm – 5pm daily, when Estrella Damm beer on tap, house wine and sangria are $5 per glass, and cocktails $12, and Sundays when children eat free with paying adults.
“Everything Spanish – Sangria, Sherry, Jamon, Paella…..” Bar Espana’s Facebook page tells us.
Excited after our first visit, we return, this time eager to try more of their food at lunch – a plate of jamon perhaps, or some empanadas.
Instead, it’s disappointing to find a new daytime menu featuring Australian café-style dishes, with only a few plates featuring a Spanish touch.
Breakfast dishes include smashed avo with beetroot hummus and dukkah, bacon and eggs your way, breakfast greens, berry bowl with Byron Bay macadamia granola and tropical fruit, with Spanish options of baked Spanish eggs, a mushroom omelette with Manchego cheese and truffle oil, or churros for a typical Spanish-style brekkie.
Lunch, the main meal of the day in Spain, usually comprises several courses, such as a 3-course set menu including a soup or appetiser, a simple main course such as meat, fish or tortilla and a sweet.
Instead, Bar Espana’s lunch menu offers all day breakfast dishes together with an interesting lunch salad (to which you can add your protein of choice at extra cost), a wagyu burger, tempura calamari (with chips an extra), and an open grilled chicken sandwich, the only Spanish option being a tapas platter for two at $49.50.
Follow Spanish tradition and have a late lunch at 3pm when the Spanish menu commences. There’s a lot of love in the dishes prepared by Brazilian chef Carolina, and a comprehensive bar menu of well-priced Spanish wines, beer and cocktails to accompany your feast. Bar Espana also allows BYO for $5 per person.
Bar Espana, The Oasis, Surf Parade, Broadbeach Ph: 07 5538 1406
Note: On one occasion, Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Bar Espana.