Australia Fair Shopping Centre, Marine Parade, Southport Ph: 07 5564 0770
When it comes to the criteria of what makes a great café, Tap & Grind Café ticks all the boxes. What’s more, it’s a gem in the heart of Australia Fair.
Great Belaroma coffee from Seven Miles Coffee Roasters is the café’s heartbeat, its malty milk chocolate palate balanced with just the right level of acidity. Weekday trade begins at 7.30am with local workers grabbing coffee and ‘food to go’ from the display cabinet. Muffins, brownies and small cakes are made daily by Laura. Excellent Portuguese tarts, pastries and doughnuts are brought in daily from The Pastry Emporium at Sorrento.
We’re served by a young vibrant staff, and simply blown away by the food, with some of the most beautiful plating we’ve seen on the Gold Coast. It’s spot on!
Tap & Grind is owned by Vanessa Rubini, who started the café seven years ago as a 20-year-old with her dad as business partner. When Vanessa’s dad moved back interstate, Vanessa bought him out and is now sole owner.
This year, Brazilian chef Laura Lima Cruz has come on board. With Vanessa, Laura has created an all-day menu of 10 dishes to suit the diverse demographic who frequent the centre. Many are regulars, the clientele who kept buying their daily coffee throughout lockdown to keep the café afloat, and others who shop at the centre less frequently.
While shopping centres are not always a place where you’d expect to see ‘destination dining’, with Laura’s artistic flair and attention to detail, Tap & Grind’s food stands out. Laura’s food, from açai bowls to eggs bene, and chilli eggs to beef and bacon burger is drawing a younger clientele of Southport workers. People even travel here to dine on the weekend because of the calibre of each dish.
“My grandfather once told me to do everything with love to feel fulfilled and that’s how I feel every day working here,” Laura says.
Laura’s favourite dish is the ‘Avo Good Day’, her version of the perennial favourite Smashed avocado on toast, where she’s played with both the flavours and colours adding Danish feta, dukkah, cherry tomatoes and beetroot purée to bring us a dish that’s all her own.
The menu is supplemented by a specials board. There are also daily special deals, such Muffin Monday, Toastie Tuesday, Thursday açai bowl and smoothie etc. which have their own appeal.
With their drive for excellence and a commitment to buying local produce, Vanessa, Laura and the team bring us a classy café. It’s a place where you can dine at both ends of the spectrum, from a humble toastie to a work of art on a plate, a cup of organic tea or coffee to a super green smoothie. That’s the range of choice Tap & Grind provides.
Follow Marj @foodgoldcoast