One of the best ways to test the timbre of a place is to visit during a lull in service. The wait staff are cooling their heels, the chef's gone out back for a smoke and the frantic vibe that the place generates when it's busy has given way to peace, quiet, calm ... and perhaps even complacency.
It was much like this when I ventured into K-Bar & Meze at Mermaid Beach for the first time. With the midday rush long since over and dinner service still an indistinct spot on the horizon, there were only a handful of diners present. Some like me, were looking for a late lunch, others were refuelling with coffee as they tapped at their laptops and still others had stopped in for a refreshing drink after hitting the beach. Yet despite the soporific air that often pervades beachside restaurants in general, and this timeslot in particular, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter efficient and yet relaxed, good-natured service.
Pull up a seat at the bar. Image courtesy K-Bar & Meze.
I settled in to peruse the menu over a latte. Mediterranean-style meze dishes, designed to be shared, are a key feature, though the vibe is relaxed enough to accommodate solo diners too. Lunch and dinner items range from small plates (including seared scallops served with fennel and herb salad, fresh grapes and verjuice vinaigrette; or sweet potato and mint rosti with pickled vegetables on a lime & basil mayonnaise spread) to large plates (such as marinated lamb cutlets served with pumpkin and mint risotto, stuffed tomato and crushed almonds on a lime and chickpea hummus; or tea-infused Atlantic salmon fillet served with crispy enoki mushrooms, coriander and radish salad with a Moroccan dressing).
Mediterranean-inspired zucchini and ricotta rollard. Author image.
I opted for the grilled zucchini and ricotta rollard with asparagus, mint, lime, toasted macadamia nuts and marsala glaze. Admittedly, as my photo reveals, this dish is respectable-looking but unlikely to make the front page of a gourmet magazine. However, it was an option which was light and yet nourishing and nutritious, with a sweet, sticky moreish glaze.
If you're up with the birds, it's good to know that K-Bar & Meze also opens for breakfast, with options such as the crunchy granola bowl, the breakfast salad (featuring honey-roasted pumpkin, asparagus,toasted walnuts, tomato and spinach salad served with a poached egg and finished with balsamic glaze) and Croque Madam.
Another tasty little nugget of information is that K-Bar hosts Meze Taste Journeys on the last Wednesday night of every month, celebrating five of the restaurant's meze dishes paired with five accompanying beverages. In the past, this has included a selection from local legend the Burleigh Brewery, which just goes to show K-Bar & Meze is all about sharing the love.