The Duck’s Nuts (Gold Coast, QLD)

Shop 23, Sorrento Shopping Village
40 Bundall Road
Bundall QLD 4217
+61 7 5538 6572

The first meal I had on my week-long holiday in Gold Coast was a home-cooked meal lovingly prepared by my awesome boyfriend, Marty. Now earlier that week, I had originally booked a table at Bazaar so we can have dinner on my first evening in town. Unfortunately, I was so tired from having to work that day as well as having to fly up. Combine that with having to deal with a nagging mother who kept shoving stuff in my bag – paracetamol, fish oil tablets, vitamins etc – “just in case” and a 50 minute delay at Melbourne Airport (thanks, Jetstar) – can you blame me for not being in the mood to pretty myself up for a nice dinner in town that night? Instead, Marty ended up making me a delicious Jamaican jerk chicken with mango salsa dinner which I enjoyed before retiring to bed for some pay-TV viewing like the party animals we are. Snort. This, of course, meant that we were awake at a reasonable hour the next morning – just in time to grab some breakfast.

In Melbourne, cafés are crazy-busy on weekends… but usually only after 10am. Thus, if you rock up at say, 8am on a Saturday morning all bleary-eyed and hungover, chances are that you’ll get a table. In Gold Coast? Rock up to The Duck’s Nuts in Bundall at 8am, however, and you’ll discover no empty tables, a queue for take-away coffee this long and tables full of hardcore cross-fitters who had just finished a Saturday morning dawn session at the beach. Fark me. Thankfully, the people at ‘Duckies’ have a fantastic partnership with Horner’s bakery next door (they supply their bread to the café) so we were able to use their tables and chairs that morning. Seriously, who would have thought that you can get one of Gold Coast’s finest breakfasts at a random shopping arcade in not-exactly-foodie-territory Bundall, of all places?!

I ordered a latte ($3), my first one for the year. Duck’s Nuts uses Merlo coffee beans which, I guess, is the Queensland equivalent of Victoria’s DiMattina’s. Coffee in Gold Coast is usually overpriced and of poor quality so I was surprised to see that it was cheap – and actually tasted alright. Okay, so it was a little bit weak and could have done with a bit more volume and taste but eh, you pay more at other places around town for crap coffee so I’ll take it. Meanwhile, Marty went caffeine-free with a bottle of Phoenix organic apple and pear juice ($3.80).

On Marty’s recommendation, I ordered the corned beef hash breakfast ($15.50). A CD-sized shredded potato disc was fried to a crisp, with the inside of the disc remaining soft. Bits of corned beef created a nice textural balance and prevented the whole thing from being boring (there IS such thing as too much potato, in my opinion!). I’m not sure why there was a random wedge of tomato there (probably to keep things healthy, I guess) but I quickly ate it before moving onto the two fried free-range eggs, cooked sunny-side-up. At this point, I had not touched the slices of baguette (I’m a bit of a bread snob in that I generally don’t eat white bread unless it comes in Vietnamese pork roll form) but I was starting to get full. Damn, this was THE breakfast of champions – I can certainly see why the cross-fitters love it so much! Eventually, curiosity got the better of me so I decided to take one bite of the bread. One bite then became two bites and in the end, I ate both slices. Oops. I couldn’t help it though – it was so friggin’ good. I’m not sure whether it was because of all the butter on top or whether this was just awesome white bread, or both. Either way, I think I’ll be making a trip to Horner’s bakery next time I’m up…

Marty ordered the smoked salmon with free-range poached eggs and Hollandaise ($14.90). To be honest, I wasn’t wowed by the presentation of this dish. The whole thing just looked like something that you’d get at one of those dime-a-dozen sub-standard cafeterias that you can find in Melbourne and again, a random piece of tomato appeared on the plate. The eggs, however, were fantastic – they were perfectly poached and the Hollandaise sauce was beautifully creamy and rich. I didn’t eat any of the salmon but I did pinch a bit of spinach to boost my vegetable intake.

All things considering, Duck’s Nuts do a decent breakfast for a town that isn’t renowned for its café culture. Obviously, it’s not the best breakfast I’ve ever had but if I was a Gold Coast local, I can see myself coming here every now and then after a morning surf (well, if I ever take up surfing and get over my fear of large pools of water). The service may have been as slow as a Gold Coast motorist driving down the Robina Parkway but the waitresses made up for it with a level of friendliness that is rarely seen in Melbourne cafés and restaurants. This was my first breakfast at Duckies and it certainly won’t be the last. Of course, this wasn’t the first time I had been here…

Locals will know that Duckies also serve lunches as well as do catering services. In the fridge right by the counter, there are tidy rows of ready-to-heat pasta sauces, curries and soups – all which look pretty damn good. Duckies are also famous for their salads. To avoid the daytime crowd, Marty likes to rock up in the middle of the night on a regular basis to pick up a take-away salad for lunch the next day as well as beg Steve, one of the owners, for salad recipes. No, this place isn’t open all around the clock but late at night, you can see Steve hard at work preparing salads and whatnot for the next day and if a random customer happens to walk by, Steve is usually happy to sell them whatever’s ready. Recently, I’ve made a tradition where I’ve made Marty stop by Duck’s Nuts en-route the airport where I’d order a large (or extra-large, if I’m feeling especially greedy) box of salad to take home to Melbourne.

Before my flight home, I ordered a large box of half a chicken salad and half a Thai beef salad to bring on the plane with me (normally $11.80, but because of the effking public holiday surcharge, I paid $14.20). There are other salads available such as lamb and pine nut, tuna Niçoise and chicken pasta but I usually just stick to the above two. All the salads are always ridiculously fresh, light yet filling at the same time. There is also a choice of dressings available. I normally get the basil dressing but this time, I chose a lemon dressing as well as a honey mustard one. The honey mustard dressing was amazing – it was smooth, creamy with the perfect amount of sweetness to bring out the sherry that the beef skirt steak strips had been marinated in. The dressing also tasted fantastic with the tender pieces of chicken thigh strips. Unfortunately, I didn’t really like the lemon dressing – it was too sour, and would have probably worked better as a dipping sauce for fried Asian nibbles or something. But that honey mustard dressing… Oh man, it is THE duck’s nuts.

Actually, this whole place is.

I eat too much.

4 Comments

  1. DL
    January 30, 2012

    Nice name for a cafe!!!

    Reply
  2. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    January 30, 2012

    Wow I didn’t know queenlanders were such early risers hehe you have to get there at 8am and still no table gosh! But the food looks great so I guess the wait was worth it ~

    Reply
    1. libishski
      January 30, 2012

      Haha I think it’s more of a Gold Coast thing. For instance, I went to the gym during my stay and was amazed to find that they actually had their first group exercise classes for the day start at 5:30am! (in Melbourne, the first class would start at 6:30am and even then, most people would find that hardcore) Not sure if Brisbanites are early risers but hey, if you live in the sunshine state, why not?

      Reply
  3. Hannah
    January 30, 2012

    So lovely that you’ve found an unequivocally happy food place! I’ve been saddened by all your tales of mediocrity lately. Hurrah for the nuts of birds!

    Reply

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