In an arcade off the eating and shopping strip of James Street in Burleigh Heads is Harvest Moon. Its name is on a sign at the entrance to the alleyway, but you can’t quite see it looking down the lane. On the evening we wandered past in search of food, however, there were the strains of music and voices also coming down the alley, piquing our interest. Our original dinner plans had been scuppered, so we were wandering the area without any intended destination, and only appetites and curiosity to guide us.
On making our way down the arcade, there was actually a new burger place that had opened next to Harvest Moon, and there were quite a few people there. We considered eating there, but the menu at Harvest Moon looked more interesting.
Harvest Moon is in an undercover but open area. It was nice on a cool night. A downside to it though, is that cigarette smoke frequently drifts down the alley and in to where you’re eating, which is unpleasant. There are sliding doors that can be closed in less temperate climates, and the fan or air-conditioning run.
There was a function going on in the rear section when we were there. There were lots of people, making it a lively atmosphere, veering towards rowdy at times. It was possibly more a reflection of the people at that event than what the place is necessarily like on a typical day/evening though.
We were greeted and shown to seats soon after we wandered in, and menus and water were soon brought to the table.
The menu had sections of share plates, salads, large plates, and desserts, with food of european and middle eastern flavours. Out of the different sections, we picked a mix of one small plate and two large plates to share.
First to arrive was one of the large plates, the lime salted rare eye fillet, roasted mushroom and fennel, and salsa verde. The lime salted rare beef was indeed rare, just seared on the edges. It was missing and lime zing though. Th mushrooms still had texture, and the fennel added crunch. The salsa verde did impart some herbiness, but it was missing the flavour punch we had anticipated.
Next was the small plate, burnt butter and orange glazed prawns, dry roasted thyme tomatoes, and chilli labneh. The prawns were nicely cooked, but once again didn’t have the promised orange or burnt butter flavours. The labneh was more accurately labneh with chilli pieces than chilli labneh. The tomatoes had a softened texture from the roasting. It was alright, but less tasty than hoped.
Last to come out was the other large plate of slow braised chilli caramel pork ribs with pickled cabbage and apple slaw. It was the best dish we had there. The meat was tender, and had a bit of char on the outside. It was a good balance of sweetness and heat, spicy enough that you were well aware of the chilli being there, but not to the point that it masked the other flavours. The slaw with it was slightly pickly without being overpowering, and added some freshness for contrast.
The waitstaff were friendly. It was occasionally hard to catch their attention as it was busy, but there weren’t any major issues. We also appreciated them trying to get our food orders in before a table of nine so that we wouldn’t have to wait forever for our meals.
All in all though, Harvest Moon was a bit disappointing. Although the dishes read well on the menu, only one out of the three actually delivered on the flavours promised. Mid-range restaurant prices were charged for so-so food in effectively a pub atmosphere (and not an upmarket gastropub). Perhaps it might have been different on a different day, but I can only call it on what it was like when we were there.
Setting 0.5/2 (brought down by the frequent gusts of cigarette smoke and rowdy crowd plus live music that at times was competing with more live music further down the lane)
Price point: Small plates $8 to $15. Salads $15. Larger plates $17 to $26 (that was the lime salted eye fillet). Desserts $10 to $12.
Value: Not convincing.
Address: 30 James Street,Burleigh Heads
Phone: 07 5520 0998
Website: Harvest Moon