Food review: BBQ BAZAAR

18 Junction Rd., Burleigh Open: Fri 5 – 10pm, Sat 4 – 10pm, Sundays for special events

Friday night. Done with the working week, it’s time to kick up our heels and get down and dirty!

There’s no better place to do that than BBQ Bazaar.

It’s everything we love together in one place: great food, a relaxed casual atmosphere, a live band playing to set the mood, and drinks that won’t break the bank.

A permanent night market housed in Burleigh’s warehouse area, BBQ Bazaar takes the iconic Aussie barbeque to a new level. We’re talking huge charcoal grills and smokers, giant rotisseries and hotplates…all in a marketplace with plenty of room to move. There’s seating for 250 under cover near the bar plus more outdoors (totalling around 500 seats), as well as space for 500 to groove to the band.

I’m needing some ‘help to forget Friday’ when we rock in to BBQ Bazaar early on a Friday night. The chefs are already at work and the band is setting up when I find BBQ Bazaar’s owner Michael Salay prepping a side of ribs.

Despite his solid background in food manufacturing, opening BBQ Bazaar proved a challenge, he says, pushing through 18 months of red tape and council regulations.

But the results are spectacular: a permanent music venue come food market specialising in grilled, charcoaled, barbecued and smoked food; a venue unique in its variety of ‘barbeque’ styles from round the world.

In the laneway of street food, we discover a whole bunch of new vendors we haven’t seen before:

Burgers by No. 74 with all sorts of meat in buns.

Yummo Bratwurst, whose crusty French rolls are stuffed with smoked bratwurst, cheese kransky and knackwurst sausages made from sweet Bangalow pork.

Rosticceria, a charcoal grill specialising in the South American cut picanha, or rump cap cooked the parilla grill, as well as pork belly, charcoal chicken, lamb and souvlaki.

Fire & Smoke, who cook a 6-hour Cape Byron Bay short rib, pork belly burnt ends and chicken wings, all smoked on site.

K & D Pizza, their wood-fired oven turning out crispy thin crust pizzas with yummy toppings.

Billy from Billy’s Mighty Feast shows us his commercial size spit roaster that can take a whole pig on the spit or 24 chickens on a rotisserie. This is his sanity job, he tells us, a private passion that drove him to build the huge spit roast himself, extending his cooking from family to friends and then to the general public. When we visit, he’s roasting a pork shoulder, leg and loin to be served with his potato bake.

Gold Coast Meat Buns not only bake their meat-filled milk buns on site, they also make delicious bao and Reuben spring rolls (not to be missed!) If you’re starving, try their Hunger Abductor.

I Love Pedro’s gives us a taste of Colombian cuisine, such as roast corn on the cob, picada (meat and sausage), chozopan and mazorkada, a chicken and corn dish, washed down with South American soft drinks.

Chef Ryan Kane, from Stix + Stone Street Grill has moved from being a restaurant chef to his own catering and market business with a street grill and charcoal BBQ cooking ribs, chicken and beef. Not sure what to order? They why not order the whole menu plus all the sides! Love those sweet potato fries!

While there’s a whole lot of meat going down, vegetarians are catered for with a vego option offered on most stalls, such as pizza, bao and charcoal corn… and of course there’s dessert!

Beside the laneway, BBQ Bazaar features a huge undercover warehouse-styled bar area, serving craft beer and cider both on tap and bottled, wine and cocktails beside the deliciously enticing sweet vendors: La Cannoleria serving authentic Sicilian cannoli, a French crêpèrie, Meli Mou’s Greek doughnuts, Don Churros’ delights dipped in chocolate or Brazilian caramel, or there’s a sneaky slice of home-baked cake from Fourt4. Out back there’s a fenced kids’ zone with play equipment and toys to keep the young ones entertained.

“What this venue brings is authentic barbeque, more real than a barbeque restaurant,” says Michael’s mother, Esther, as we chat over a drink. “Woodfired, charcoal and big smoker cooked, there’s real theatre out there.”

She’s right, of course. The action, smell and smoke all add up to atmosphere. With live music every night and free entry, BBQ Bazaar kicks off from 5pm until 10pm on Fridays, and 4pm until 10pm on Saturdays. Keep a lookout for summer Sunday sessions and special ticketed band events. They’re not to be missed!

Read more of Marj’s reviews on foodgoldcoast.com.au

NOTE: Blank dined as guests of BBQ Bazaar.

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