Stunning Views from the Skypoint Observation Deck @ Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

Q1 Observation Deck, Surfers Paradise Q1 Observation Deck, Surfers Paradise

Here are some great shots from the Skypoint Observation Deck on top of the Q1, taken when my good friends Jeanette and Chen came over for a visit back in November ’15. I loved having visitors to look after! James and I had a blast taking them to our favourite spots, though this was my very first (and probably last) time to the top of the Q1. The view was spectacular that day, made all the better thanks to the passing rain clouds in the distance giving the whole landscape a very surreal, magical appearance. Continue reading “Stunning Views from the Skypoint Observation Deck @ Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast”

Boom Boom Burgers @ Burra Street, Chevron Island

Boom Boom Burgers Chevron Island Boom Boom Burgers Chevron Island

If you’re looking for a nice, cosy place to get a filling lunch on the Gold Coast, I highly recommend the newly opened Boom Boom Burgers. I received a very generous email invitation from them a couple of weeks ago and decided to give the place a try this weekend. Of course, I did some research beforehand, looking up their website and taking note of their amazing menu before rocking up with James. Continue reading “Boom Boom Burgers @ Burra Street, Chevron Island”

Weekends with Angie & James | Part III: The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

My older brother and a few relatives from dad’s side of the family have come to visit this week! As a result, my parents have been housing five extra people over the past few days. This is the first time in a very long time that any of my aunts or uncles have decided to drop by. I can only recall a single instance about 5 years ago where something like this has happened. As you can imagine, this visit is quite new and special to us. Anyway, before the week got all hectic and draining, James and I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon in Surfers Paradise. We enjoyed a lovely beachside lunch at Elston and it was nice to just sit there and observe people walking along the esplanade while sipping on our iced coffees and digging into our lunch. Continue reading “Weekends with Angie & James | Part III: The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise”

Hazel Tea Shop @ RSL Centre, Surfers Paradise

Hazel Tea Shop

The Hazel Tea Shop is a Taiwanese dessert café franchise known for their extensive bubble tea menu and sweet desserts. We deem this particular Hazel outlet far better than the others on the Gold Coast as it is able to offer hot food options like noodle bowls and rice dishes (other outlets serve only drinks). Following the closure of the Hazel at Chevron Renaissance, the existing Hazel Tea Shop at the RSL Centre remains one of our favourite places to get bubble tea and have a quick meal in Surfers Paradise.

Hazel Tea Shop Hazel Tea Shop

Our Top 5 Bubble Tea Flavours:

  1. Honey Black Tea Refreshing. Sweetened with honey (doesn’t have that “sugary” taste like the other teas). Great with tapioca pearls!
  2. Blueberry Green Tea Fruity and a little tart; not overly sweet. A good summer tea to beat the heat. Lovely with some of the fruit jellies.
  3. Sesame Milk Tea Unique flavour. Very smooth and easy to drink. A very filling tea, so keep that in mind when also ordering food!
  4. Taro Milk Tea Gorgeous pastel purple drink. Sweet, creamy and very satisfying. Great as a hot drink option, but just as good cold.
  5. Lemon Yoghurt Tangy and sweet, like a sorbet. The zesty lemon flavour never gets old. Definitely cleanses the palate after a meal.

They offer the following toppings: tapioca pearls, aloe jelly, konjac jelly, strawberry & lychee jelly, mango & lychee jelly, green apple & lychee jelly, grape & lychee jelly, coffee jelly, chocolate pudding, egg pudding.

Hazel Tea Shop Hazel Tea Shop

Their desserts are also quite divine, my favourite being the “Grass Jelly Icey” with brown sugar base (pictured above). For just $5.50, you get a huge bowl of shaved ice smothered in syrup, topped with a generous amount of chewy tapioca pearls, grass jelly, sweetened taro pulp, red beans, taro mochi and sweet potato mochi.

Hazel Tea Shop Hazel Tea Shop Hazel Tea Shop

Our Top 5 Hot Food Dishes:

  1. Braised Beef Noodles ($12.50) Best eaten during winter. Tender pieces of beef, crunchy Chinese broccoli and a large serving of noodles in a lovely broth. Perfect comfort food.
  2. 3-Cup Chicken Noodles ($12.50) A popular Taiwanese recipe. Chicken on the bone braised with garlic and ginger in a thick sweet and savoury sauce. Served on a bed of noodles.
  3. Chicken Teppanyaki Set ($12.50) Pieces of chicken, an egg and some chopped vegetables are neatly arranged on a sizzling hot plate and served with steamed white rice.
  4. Mapo Tofu with Rice ($10) A mildly spicy amalgamation of tofu pieces, minced meat, chilli and black bean sauce, served with a side of steamed white rice.
  5. Popcorn Chicken ($6.50) Small morsels of chicken, deep fried and lightly seasoned. You can choose to have yours seasoned slightly spicier than normal. A great snack food.

The food at Hazel can be fairly greasy, so we do limit our visits. Most of the time, we just go there to get our bubble tea fix, and that’s good enough for us.

Hazel Tea Shop Hazel Tea Shop Hazel Tea Shop Hazel Tea Shop

The restaurant itself is brightly lit, charmingly decorated and pleasantly air-conditioned, which makes for a lovely place to hang out in summer. Their friendly and attentive staff make ordering food a breeze. It should be noted that this Hazel Tea Shop won the award for Best Asian Restaurant on the Gold Coast in 2012.

Hazel Tea Shop

Shop 9, RSL Centre
9 Beach Road, Surfers Paradise
Gold Coast, Queensland 4217
Opening hours: 11:00am – 9:00pm daily

Hazel Tea Shop on Urbanspoon

How We Began Our October + Labour Day Weekend Snapshots

Late post, I know. Interesting things happened over the long Labour Day weekend (almost 20 days ago). On Friday night, we rescued a wild baby koala. We found it trying to, in some strange fit of curiosity, cross a dark street near a dangerous roundabout. Good thing there weren’t many cars going past at the time (it was late). The little guy moved excruciatingly slow and kept stopping halfway as it made its way across the road. James had to get out of the car to coax it forward and to ensure cars coming around the bend would see it!

This happened just five minutes away from my house and in all my nine years of living in the area, it was my very first time encountering a wild koala. Kangaroos, sure. Plenty of kangaroos. But that koala was a rare sight indeed.

We had perfect weather on Saturday, so we went to the beach for a bit of a tanning session. It is now the middle of spring and it already feels much like summer. Surfers Paradise was swamped with people who wanted to get some sun. After that, we headed back to James’ house to have a bit of a swim in the pool. It was a wet and salty Saturday.

Sunday was a bit of a bore. Shops were closed because of the Labour Day public holiday. I wanted to buy fruit at 8:30pm, though. The only place we knew that had a chance of being open was the 24/7 fruit barn at Harbour Town. We rocked up, but they didn’t seem to have any good fruit for sale, so I bought some almonds and macadamia nuts instead. James bought a packet of jam drops. Then we drove home. Except no, we decided to drive around and explore some side streets in Coombabah. We were driving around a deserted neighbourhood. No cars around. Very quiet. Then, we came across a car just stopped in the middle of a narrow street with their headlights on. Right in front of the car was an extremely distressed girl hunched over a guy who was laying semi-unconscious on the ground. There was blood everywhere – on the road, all over the girl’s hands and clothes, streaming from the guy’s head… and there was nobody else around.

It very quickly dawned on us that we’d just stumbled upon the site of a recent accident. I won’t elaborate but the whole incident freaked me out. Turns out the guy had been car surfing and his girlfriend had accelerated too quickly and stopped the car too abruptly, throwing him what seemed like headfirst onto the road. Anyway, we helped as much as we could to calm the girl down and to wait on the paramedics. It really didn’t help that the street was pitch dark and the nearest street lamps were feet away from the scene. That really added to the surreal awfulness of the scene. That girl was terrified and I know that if I were put in her position, I’d be terrified too.

The incident was reported on the news the following day and from what I heard, I believe the guy is alright.

So that was the gist of that intense weekend for you. We didn’t bake, but I made a batch of truffle oil + sea salt + honey roasted almonds & macadamia nuts, the recipe of which I might share with you guys soon! Thanks for reading! I’ll just leave you with some additional random pictures from the following weekend… commencing sexy hair shot in 3, 2, 1…

Hakataya Ramen @ Centre Arcade, Surfers Paradise

Hakataya Ramen

Everybody has their comfort food. That one dish that nothing else compares to; that no matter what, makes you feel all warm inside, like nothing else matters. For some people, it might be a nice hot bowl of homemade lasagne bolognese with a rich creamy béchamel sauce. For others, it might be a hearty serving of apple and rhubarb crumble covered with a sweet crème anglaise.

Hakataya Ramen Hakataya Ramen Menu

For me, it’s a huge serving of ramen. Rich, creamy, flavoursome soup; thin slices of succulent melt-in-your-mouth pork; perfectly springy and slightly chewy noodles. Glorious. Mouth-watering. Ramen. There’s just something about a huge bowl of ramen that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. There’s nothing better than slurping up as many noodles as you can whilst being careful not to burn yourself because you just can’t wait for it all to cool down. Oh, and gyoza. You’ve gotta have a plate of gyoza on the side, or else it’s just not right.

Hakataya Ramen Hakataya Ramen

The place may not seem like much, what with it being a small (often crowded!) noodle shop crammed tight with tables and chairs, but Hakataya Ramen is our go-to place whenever we’re craving a big bowl of the good stuff. Unlike many other ramen places on the Gold Coast that offer a large selection of different ramen bowls, Hakataya only has four types to choose from. And thank goodness for that, because you know they’re all going to be good. By specialising in just four flavours, they’ve had time to make them just right. And let me tell you, they are. Hakataya’s specialty is tonkotsu ramen, a cloudy white-coloured broth made by simmering pork bones for 39 hours.

Nagahama Ramen Nagahama Ramen

Nagahama Ramen ($10.00)

The first bowl on the menu is the Nagahama Ramen. This is their standard tonkotsu broth, topped with tender melt-in-your-mouth char siu pork slices and chopped scallions. The broth is by far the best tonkotsu broth I’ve tried on the Gold Coast. Milky and thick, with the perfect amount of fat. Each order comes with a side of spicy Takana (pickled mustard leaf), which cuts through the richness of the broth nicely.

Takana Pickles

Tanaka Pickles (free with every ramen bowl)

My personal favourite, the Char Siu-men ($13.00), is pretty much a bowl of the aforementioned Nagahama Ramen, just topped with a lot of extra char siu! Because, well, you can never get enough of that soft, fatty meat! I should now quickly mention that each table has a small sesame dispenser which you can use to grind up sesame seeds to add to your soup. Together with the pickles, the addition of these condiments significantly enhances the flavour of the steamy broth.

Miso Spicy-men Miso Spicy-men Miso Spicy-men

Miso Spicy-men ($12.00)

Angie’s favourite is the Miso Spicy-men, a miso-based broth with added chilli, topped with char siu, chopped scallions and a nice amount of shredded seaweed. Whilst a bit too spicy for my liking, the chilli really complements the miso in this one. Neither flavour is particularly overpowering, allowing you to taste both the spiciness of the chilli and the earthy undertones of the miso, along with the lovely tonkotsu base.


Karaka-mem ($11.50)

Despite coming here more times than I can remember, only recently have I tried the Karaka-men. The karaka-men has quite a different flavour to the other dishes. Equally as spicy as the miso spicy-men, but a bit less creamy and rich compared to the Nagahama ramen. I think that the chilli cuts through some of the richness of the tonkotsu broth, allowing some of the other flavours, like the garlic, to come through. Spicy, but oddly refreshing.


Gyoza – Japanese pan-fried dumplings ($7 for six)

And of course, you can’t have any of these without a plate of Gyoza on the side. Out of all the times I’ve gone to Hakataya, I’ve never had a bad plate of gyoza. Slightly chewy skin on the top, nice and crispy on the bottom. And the filling, oh my, the filling. Juicy, meaty, tender, and bursting with flavour. I could happily eat a few plates of these (dunked in the ramen broth, of course!).


Overall, I’d definitely recommend Hakataya to any existing ramen lovers visiting Surfers Paradise, or anyone looking for a new comfort food to add to their list. Each bowl is packed full of flavour, with amazingly rich and fatty broth and perfectly springy noodles. My one criticism would be a slight lack of toppings. A simple half boiled egg or some pickled bamboo shoots would nicely finish off the bowl. However, with the amount of flavour in the broth alone, I’d happily finish off a bowl or two – toppings or not.

Shop 26, Centre Arcade
3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard
Gold Coast, QLD 4217
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 9:00pm

Hakataya Ramen on Urbanspoon

Degustation at Absynthe, Surfers Paradise

“Meyjitte Boughenout earned two Michelin Stars as executive chef at Restaurant Scholteshos Restaurant in Belgium before moving to Australia. The menu of contemporary French-Australian cuisine is available a la carte or degustation style. The wine list features more than 1000 internationally recognised wines from all over the world.” – On Absynthe,

It was my birthday a month ago and my mother’s in April. It was quite nice of my older brother (who lives in Singapore) to send us two Groupon vouchers worth $280 each for a lovely degustation dinner at the French restaurant, Absynthe, located in Surfers Paradise. Now, despite its fairly tarnished reputation on review sites such as Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor, I found myself quite pleasantly surprised on the night. True, it was a meal that I didn’t have to pay for, so of course I’d think a free meal such as that to be pretty awesome, but I also felt that Absynthe really didn’t deserve the harsh criticism it’s been getting online. Alright, so for the alleged $560 six-course meal we had, I’d say it was a pretty steep price. And $7 for a coffee? $8.50 for a glass of Coke? They’re quite good at inflating the prices here. But all fine dining restaurants do that anyway, so why should anyone expect anything different?

Each Groupon voucher was valid for two people, so mum took dad, and I took James. It was a long night, with dinner going for an hour and a half. But I enjoyed dressing up for the occasion and celebrating my birthday belatedly with my parents and my boyfriend!

Getting Ready For The Night Out

The Menu – A Journey Into Taste

The Six Courses

Tomato press, Chilli Cream & Dry Prosciutto
Cured King Salmon, Olive Bubbles & Candied Turnip
Beetroot Risotto, Caramelised Walnuts & Blue Cheese Foam

Panfried S.A. Angus Beef, Roquette & Potato Puree
Chilled Strawberry Soup, Yoghurt Ice Cream
Chocolate & Hazelnut Tart, Mandarine Sorbet

With the panfried Angus beef dish, I liked that the potato puree was accompanied by a couple of apple sticks. It gave the fairly one-note potato mash some character. As a whole, the dish was a nice play of sweet and savoury, which was accented by the strong peppery taste of the roquette leaves.

As for my favourite dish, I quite enjoyed the beetroot risotto. Although the caramelised walnuts were rather few, I liked the way the risotto and blue cheese foam complemented each other and formed a warm, rich saltiness in your mouth, thick with flavour.

Dessert was, as the menu succinctly put it: ‘heavenly sweet’. The chilled strawberry soup and yoghurt ice cream came with a small portion of transluscent jelly, which added a different texture to the mix and because it was pretty flavourless, took away some of the intense sweetness of the strawberry soup. As for the final course, I’d like to add that the mandarine sorbet was delicious, much lighter than the yoghurt ice cream, and was the perfect thing to finish off the dinner.

Other than the food, the staff were adequately friendly and efficient enough. Too efficient, in fact, that they seemed a bit brisk and almost too much in a rush to make us feel comfortable around them. They did their job well enough, so I didn’t mind. Absynthe really isn’t as lacking a restaurant as a lot of people on the internet say it is, and if you have the money to fork out for their dishes, you will find the food to be quite pleasant and satisfactory.

Q1 Tower
Cnr of Surfers Paradise Blvd & Hamilton Ave
Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217

Absynthe on Urbanspoon