REVIEW: Harvest Moon

Central Arcade, 30 James St., Burleigh Heads

Known as ‘The Other James Street’, James Street Burleigh is an area of burgeoning talent hot enough to lure Brisbane foodies out for the day! It’s well worth taking a wander off the main street and down the arcades to find hidden treasure!

In the laneway behind Globe Coffee, Harvest Moon stretches out where From Earth and Water used to be. Owner Jon Holden has extended and revamped the space to make a two-roomed, dual personality venue bound together by arcade space.

By day, Harvest is a café with a country cottage façade, a feel good earthy spot with welcoming staff and a whole food menu. For our late weekend breakfast, there’s a plethora of all-day choices: burgers (the house favourite featuring a grass-fed free-range beef patty with options of a GF or bunless version), sandwiches or autumn salads ($8 – $14). The ‘Celebrate Freedom’ option throughout the menu carries added extras, the chance to make each dish your own.

We settle on the Big Breakfast, house-smoked bacon and beans, free-range Tuscan pork sausages and cage-free barn-laid eggs for him, the Huevos Rancheros (house black beans, capsicum and onion with chorizo and a baked egg, served with a side of chipotle sauce and organic multigrain bread) for me. They’re generous serves of rustic food, our late brekkie easily covering two meals!

The coffee’s one of our favourites, the Daily Grind from Byron boutique roasters Marvell St; lightly roasted, smooth, nutty and sweet. Just to round off the goodness, I order a Green Dream cold-pressed juice chaser, full of anti-oxidant cleanser in a jar. At $5, it’s a cute, freshly-made, vibrant and tangy steal – one of the best value juices on the coast! No wonder they’re racing out the door!

Come sunset, fairy lights twinkle in the arcade as the Moon Bar opens. Chameleon-like, Moon is the dusky sister of Harvest, cosy tapas come cocktail bar, a secretive nook to get away for a quiet tête-à-tête. Based on traditional bars near Bath, Jon’s hometown, there’s a classic feel to the Moon Bar which is in sharp contrast to the cottage feel of Harvest where the food is prepared.

Completing a lot of the reno with friends, Jon has used recycled wood from the Burleigh Bowling Alley and country salvage yards to make tables and benches, the space flowing out into the arcade through sliding timber doors.

Warm in winter and cool in summer, there’s comfortable seating on couches inside, high and low seating in the alley and plenty of nooks and crannies for couples and groups to find their own space. It’s elegant and sultry date territory with candlelight and flowers, the music’s bluesy tones echoing I lose myself in you. Time for a cocktail!

Moon’s drink menu is themed to the phases of the moon, an indication of how the night could progress: Crescent – crisp aperitifs, sangria and champagne cocktails; 1st Quarter – sharper sweet and sour citrus-driven drinks (Tom Collins, Daiquiris and Margaritas); Gibbous Moon fruit-driven Mojitos, Mules and Brambles (Cosmopolitans); and the Waning Moon – short, bold, stirred and savoured phase for the late night warriors; premium spirits over ice.

Of course there are coffee-infused cocktails for the all-nighters as well, a Marvell St Manhattan, Espresso Martini or Don Facundo iced coffee, named after the founder of Bacardi. I cast my eyes over the well-chosen boutique wine list (Australian and international), sparkling wines and champagne, a good choice of Japanese and UK ciders and English boutique beer. With Kolsh and Pale Ale on tap, the Main Squeeze is set up.

I go straight to second base with a Daisy de Santiago, a cocktail about which renowned cocktail writer Charles H. Baker Jr. notes in The Gentleman’s Companion “…along with the immortal Daiquiri, this is the best Bacardi drink on record.” With its origins in the prohibition era, it’s a mighty fine drink, probably at least as fine as the woman after which it was named!

Feelin’ Good is playing, so I lean on barman Jake for a second. It’s a Spiced Gin and Aperol Sour, the slightly bitter herbal Aperol infused with chilli and mellowed with a topper of creamy eggwhite. Just delicious! Who needs food?

But we’ve ordered anyway, a Poco tasting plank of cheeses, cold meats, homemade terrine and labna ($15) and a trio of tapas: Albondigas (meatballs), Salmon Rillette and Coquetas ($18). With a Basque chef in tow, the tapas and house-made extras are a real treat. Packed with the flavours of the French countryside, they’re moreish and excellent value.

There’s a ton to commend in Harvest Moon: its wholefood organic concept, the elegant secluded cocktail/tapas bar by night, the mystique of candle glow denoting the promise of love… Somehow, though, we feel that this is just the beginning for this venue; that it will evolve even further as its clientele builds. It’s certainly a space to watch!

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Read more of Marj’s reviews on Good Food Gold Coast


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