There are few suburbs on the Gold Coast built to encourage a sense of community well-being, however Emerald Lakes is one of them. Oozing the charm of a modern European-inspired village, its centre is surrounded by a village, an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, along with 13 kilometres of walking and bike tracks around a lake.
Longevity studies point to ‘community’ as a common factor in those who live longest: “People who are more socially connected to family, friends, and community are happier, healthier, and live longer than people who are less well connected,” says Harvard-affiliated psychiatrist Dr. Robert Waldinger.
Emerald Lakes, with its geographical central hub boasting cafés and restaurants and a thriving Thursday night market, is set up to foster community, as Cabukee’s owner, Rahul Virwani is well aware.
Cabukee is located right in the centre of the greenery-boasting hub. Beside it you’ll find the most photogenic staircase on the Gold Coast. Cabukee’s umbrella-shaded patio leads out to the main paved dais area, opposite the signature arches of Porto Bella.
Born in Mumbai, Rahul came to Australia to study business, a degree he completed at Central Queensland University. Meanwhile, he gained hospitality experience working in restaurants owned by his extended family, now welcoming diners to his own restaurant.
“I love this area so much that I have decided to live in Emerald Lakes,” Rahul tells us enthusiastically.
His first cafe, Rahul has maintained as much continuity as possible from former owner Fin Tully, with Keith Mascurine (ex-Queensland Cricketers’ Club and Groove Train manager) remaining as Head Chef.
There has been little change to the look of Cabukee since it opened. The semi-industrial fitout of timber and brick draws us away from the lake to a cooler, relaxing space. With the choice of indoor or alfresco dining, open from 7am, the community hub of Cabukee is a top spot for locals to stop on their morning walk to have a coffee.
Talking coffee, Cabukee serves sustainably-sourced Paradox Roastery’s coffee, including their chocolatey fruit-based Picasso Baby for black coffee and the popular Penny Lane for white, its mix of toffee, sweet lime and chocolate notes perfect to accompany lunch of salads, bowls, burgers and mains as you bask in the sunshine!
With a menu changing several times a year, Keith injects new life and a touch of class into favourite dishes. With everything made in house, the breakfast and lunch dishes are cooked to order. Dishes are beautifully presented with detailing of house-made sauces, herb oils, dressings and balsamic pearls adding a finer touch not often seen in cafes.
Breakfast dishes range from Eggs Bene on charcoal brioche with homemade hollandaise to the delicious Breakfast Bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes, Danish feta and balsamic pearls on Wildbreads sourdough; from Banoffee pancakes to the best Homemade Hash Browns with crispy bacon rashers, two poached eggs, half an avocado and tomato relish.
Cabukee’s lunch menu comprises salads, burgers, bowls and a couple of more substantial dishes.
The influence of Asian cultures and attention to detail remains: Bowls including Karaage chicken with Asian slaw and Japanese mayonnaise, 5-hour slow-cooked Brisket Burger with slaw, Swiss cheese, bacon and pickles, and the most tender Szechuan pepper calamari with crispy chips, salad and kimchi kewpie.
Fillet steak is used in the Steak sandwich, cooked perfectly to medium-rare, the lightly dusted calamari is the most tender we have tried, and chicken breast in the Sous Vide chicken and avocado salad melts in your mouth due to its method of cooking. Moreover, every dish we try is on point.
Lunches lean towards healthy, bowl food including a Vegan Bowl enhanced by cashew cream on brown rice, as well as the all-day options of Avocado on multigrain toast with herbs and beetroot crisps or the ever-popular Acai bowl with seasonal fruit. Well priced and clearly marked for food preferences, there’s something for everyone boosted by lots of add-in options.
Whether you dine at lunch with a late brekkie and cold-pressed juice, a burger and beer or sharing a smoked salmon salad, bowl of fries and a glass of wine, this is a great place to catch up with friends with minimal effort required.
We leave with a little jealousy in our hearts. How fortunate is the Emerald Lakes community to enjoy such excellent food in one of our most picturesque locations. This is just the meeting place that Emerald Lakes needs!
Cabukee, Shop 5, 3029 The Boulevard, Emerald Lakes; Ph: 5594 2860 Open: Mon – Sun 7am – 2.30pm. Cabukee is licensed.
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Cabukee.