Critique is an art form that requires a light touch, with a splash of irony and good humour to soften the blows.
Published June 18th 2016
Fresh and fragrant, soups and stir fries
Lucky Buddha's modern Thai cuisine is fragrant with lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal. The sweet, sour, hot and spicy is a balancing act of chili, fish sauce and sugar.
delicious stir fried crispy pork with spicy prik kring sauce, $12.90 lunchtime special
Away from the glitter strip Lucky Buddha is a tiny café tucked away in the middle of a strip of local shops on the highway at Mermaid Beach. Nothing catches the eye from the outside, but once you walk through the big glass doors you enter a place of peace and tranquility.
The Buddha images and quotes that adorn the walls add a touch of whimsy. The décor is fresh and contemporary, as is the food.
Lunch time specials Savvy bargain hunters will love the special lunch-time menus for price, value and convenience. These lunch options are available for dine-in or takeaway. All items on the full menu are also available at lunch time, but not discounted.
The 63-item full menu offers an extensive and tantalising range of dishes, with most items priced below $20.
You can choose from entrees, soups, salads, curries, stir-fries, fried rice, fried noodles, specialty dishes, side dishes, and desserts. All curries, stir-fries and specialty dishes are served with Jasmine Rice included in the price.
Specialty dishes include Steamed Salmon with Tom Yum Sauce ($21.90), Spicy Pad Cha Seafood ($18.90), Soft Shell Crab Pad Phong Karee ($21.90), BBQ Crispy Duck ($21.90), or Buddha Pad Thai with prawn, duck ($18.90) or tofu ($16.90).
image courtesy of Little Buddha facebook page
Keeping the locals happy The Gold Coast highway is littered with Thai restaurants that serve up mediocre food and charge exorbitant prices. They all seem to have the same names, and they rely on the steady influx of new unsuspecting tourists to fill their restaurants.
Lucky Buddha is an exception. Located away from the main tourist strip, this little café services the local community and relies on return clientele. They have to be good to stay in business, and they've been operating here since April 2014.
Owner and chef
The restaurant is operated by Angkhana Khamnueng (Ang) & Suthep Rutthakit (Ken). Ken worked for 10 years as a chef in one of the most renowned Thai restaurants on the Gold Coast, and in 2014 he took a leap of faith. Lucky Buddha is the dream that is finally coming to fruition.
They operate with very few staff to keep the costs down, so in busy times you may need to be a little patient. I prefer to go there before midday for an early lunch, as I often have the place to myself.
ADVERTISED OPERATING HOURS Lunch: Wed-Mon from 10.30am-3pm (not open for lunch on Tuesdays) Dinner: 7 days from 4.30pm-10pm
dine-in or takeaway (10% discount for takeaway)
Little Buddha is located smack bang in the middle of a tiny local shopping centre, which has lots of off-street parking. Entry is via Alfred St or Tamborine Sts at Mermaid Beach.
Neighbouring shops include Subway, Nite Owl, Mermaid Fruit Market, Noodle Box. If approaching from the south, the Mandarin Court Chinese Restaurant is just across the highway and serves as an excellent landmark.
The south-bound bus stop is right out front of the shops. The north-bound bus stop is the one before Markeri Street.