“Where have all the good chefs gone? Gone to cafés every one…”
If we’re seeing an emerging theme in Gold Coast dining, it’s the rise and rise of café culture, particularly small out of the way places with strong flexible menus building a core of local support.
One Café is a local secret, tucked away in a laneway off Bundall Road. Owned by Helen Paximadas, it houses a resident top draw chef, Andrew Chapman. You’ll find restaurant-class meals, amazing salads, baked goods and ‘lifestyle’ juices made to order in this tiny café.
If you’re wondering where experienced finer dining chefs go when businesses close or morph into bistros, Andrew is one example. With experience to burn, he’s applying it to a new situation, much to the delight of One Café’s clientele.
After travelling in the UK for seven years, including two years in a Michelin star restaurant in Scotland, Andrew settled back on the Gold Coast, where he cooked at Surfers Rowers (in the day), Chill on Tedder and The Wine Barrel.
“Working double shifts, 14-hour days…you realise that you’re not seeing your children grow up,” Andrew tells us.
It’s just one of the reasons that motivates chefs to make lifestyle decisions about their work. They love to cook, to create, and for many that’s happening in smaller kitchens where they have both autonomy and interaction with diners.
When we visit, a kettle of oxtail soup sits on the counter and daily specials of four dishes include Jamaican goat curry and Porchetta roast served with low GI accompaniments such as riced cauli and sweet potato. Andrew pops out of the kitchen when he can to collect plates and have a chat to regulars.
There are lots of menu concessions for the gym crowd, we notice (I’m looking for the bone broth here), Campos coffee to go, as well as Vitamin C-Bomb juice, Vegan turmeric latte and Raw honey and ginger tea that also feature on the day’s drinks menu. Service is all about friendly smiles and chats, with ‘take out’ for regulars sometimes meaning just that – if you can’t pick up your meal to go, there’s foot service to the immediate area.
There are at least three salads on offer ($12 – $14 for a large bowl), all inventive and exciting, one choice when we visited was Almond poached chicken with broad beans, almonds and pepitas.
I settle for a small but tasty rich beef cheek pie $8, or $13 including a side of Fish salad with green mango, Vietnamese mint, Thai basil, coconut and salted plum sauce. So delicious! Salad king, that Andrew!
And due to the quality of his food, when I spy the fridge full of take home meals I grab a couple on my way out the door. With a full cabinet and quality meals to go, One Café’s star is rising. Thanks chef!
3/106 Bundall Rd, Bundall Ph: 07 5679 1295
Open: Mon – Fri 6am – 3pm; Sat 7am – 2pm.