You’ll find Elk Espresso if you take a detour off the beaten tourist tracks of Broadbeach. It certainly has the makings of a local secret spot, the little brick and concrete building it’s housed in almost camoflauged amidst the older-style units around it, perched on one side of a sports field like it might be at best a clubhouse. Food? Here? I don’t know what you’re talking about.. The clusters of people wandering in and out are a bit of a giveaway though.
Look for the understated sign that sits between the awnings extending out the front of the building. “Elk”, and in much smaller words “espresso”, and a print of antlers above it.
It was packed with customers when we turned up, but as we soon caught a staff member’s eye as we hovered near the entrance, and they found us seats inside.
The decor is rather unique, charmingly rustic. The interior has polished concrete floors, and a black-painted ceiling. That makes it a bit dark overall on the inside, but it has lighter walls to offset that a touch. One of the walls has the namesake elk stickered on it, and there is the whimsical addition of leafless branches suspended from the ceiling, between the pendant lights. I’m not sure what purpose the branches are meant to serve, as there aren’t enough of them to create the effect of being under foliage, they don’t add colour or brightness, and there is nothing else hung from them. Just because they can, perhaps? Along one of the other walls wind copper pipes that again seem more ornamental than functional (whatever they are carrying is taking the long way around otherwise), and glass test tubes with dried flowers are attached to the wall between their track. Bottles with sprigs of greenery and flowers sit at every table.
There is an assortment of seating options, from long communal tables to smaller ones that comfortably fit two or three. The tables all have wooden tops, in keeping with the rustic feel, and there are metal chairs or seats to go with them, in white, turquoise, or grey. There was music playing in the background, at a barely audible level, and it was probably folk/atmospheric at a best guess.
The menu changes seasonally, and has breakfast items which are available all day, and lunch items that are available from midday. Come lunch, there are more burger and salad options, although there is already a breakfast burger available before midday. There is also a separate drink menu with teas and coffees, and a column of their speciality drinks, many of which are tempting and indulgent thick shakes that may well qualify as a small meal themselves. (Oreo, creme brulee, or caramello koala thick shakes, anyone?)
The flat white was pretty good.
The chai latte was also appropriately spiced.
I had the Kickarse thickshake. There’s no explanation on the menu, but it’s coffee, caramel, and ice cream. No milk, just the good stuff. It’s not much to look at in the cup, but it is rich, sweet without being sickly sweet, and caffeinated.
Between us, we had the Ham hock croquettes, Bang bang korean chicken burger, and the Very green salad.
The Very Green Salad was actually more colourful than just green. It had sauteed kale, silverbeet, peas, asparagus, broccolini, roast pumpkin, beetroot labneh, toasted hazelnuts, and free range poached eggs. Grilled chicken was added to make it a bit more filling, as well as a side of seeded sourdough. The components were all cooked well, with the hazelnuts adding crunch and the beetroot labneh adding creaminess. It was listed in the all day section, but if you were counting on it to fuel you for the day, it probably wouldn’t happen without adding on extras.
The Ham Hock Croquettes came with black pudding, pea puree, wilted kale, and a fried egg. The croquettes were crunchy on the outside, and soft, gooey, and cheesy on the inside. The black pudding was a bit gristly compared to what we had had elsewhere though. The fried egg had crispy edges, and a yolk that was still runny. The pea puree added a bit of sweetness to the dish. There were also non-pureed peas with it.
The Bang Bang Korean Chicken Burger with sticky chilli relish, greens, pickled ginger, and a side of fries was definitely a tasty dish. The chicken was juicy, and the batter layer on the outside was light and crunchy. The sauce with it was salty, sweet, a bit spicy, and rather messy. The japanese-style pickled vegetables gave it crunch and tartness. Although not mentioned, there was a swipe of mayo there as well. There was a generous serve of shoestring fries accompanying it, which were alright, but my least favourite fry format.
The staff were friendly and funny, and never seemed flustered despite it being busy (I suspect they are used to it).
Elk Espresso is a lovely local spot on the Gold Coast that has some good food and drink options. I definitely recommend the thickshakes for a treat. There are also great cakes in the cabinet that we have had on other visits. Worth the detour.
Address: 16 Chelsea Ave, Broadbeach
(Edit: they have recently moved into the Oasis Shopping Centre not far away, on the ground floor, near the other eateries that have opened in that redeveloped section. Shop G044, 2 Charles Avenue, Broadbeach.)
Phone: 07 5592 2888
Website: Elk Espresso