Photos by Hayley Williamson Photography
With a stunning cafe menu and beautiful coffee, The Oak is a neighbourhood cafe setting new standards for quality in the Gold Coast town of Mudgeeraba. Located right on the edge of the Gold Coast hinterland, an area populated by a changing mix of young professionals, families and older folk.
Since taking over the cafe in January 2018, owners Hardi and Paul have completely transformed the space. Featuring raw timber, industrial finishes and plenty of greenery, they also added extra windows to bring in more natural light. It all adds up to a welcoming space that locals have embraced. As Paul puts it, “since we’ve opened, the locals have been telling us: ‘Mudgeeraba has needed this for a long time’… I think that’s a pretty good compliment”.
The last few months has seen the business grow at a remarkable rate. According to Hardi, this success comes down to a simple ethos: “We’re aiming to have 3 things 1) An inviting atmosphere, 2) the best coffee 3) the best food, without being pretentious.” It’s a plan that’s paying off, and really demonstrates the importance of getting the fundamentals right.
While this is their first business venture together, Hardi and Paul are certainly not new to hospitality. Since he got his first part-time job at age 14, Paul has worked in high-end hotels and cafes and as a cooking instructor. Hardi, who has owned a number of businesses before The Oak, saw the opportunity to combine forces with Paul after meeting him at a friends wedding. “He (Paul) catered his own wedding, I was impressed with the food and just started chatting with him”`explains Hardi.
After some convincing, Hardi eventually persuaded Paul that this was the time to make their own mark on the Gold Coast cafe scene together – and the journey of The Oak began.
The menu avoids the old fashioned cliches like eggs benedict and scones “We found they actually don’t want that, they’ve just been served it up for so long” says Paul. Instead, the menu is a well considered twist on the classics.
An example is the “The Oak eggs (not) bene”: homemade salty olive bread, sweet maple bacon and slightly sour preserved lemon hollandaise – “it ticks all the boxes, sweet, salty, sour” explains Paul.
The menu also packs in plenty of delicious, vegetarian and gluten-free options, like the ‘House-Made Potato Gnocchi’ or the ‘Pan Fried Mushrooms with Beetroot Hummus and Kale Pesto’.
For something sweet, look no further than the indulgent ‘Soaked Hazelnut Pancake’ with house-made maple ice cream, banana and praline.
When it comes to coffee, the team at The Oak are certainly aiming high. “Our mindset is to aim for the best coffee in Australia, not just on the Gold Coast” says Hardi.
Using our Brisbane-roasted Cat’s Pyjamas blend through a custom white La Marzocco Strada AV-ABR and matching Mythos grinder, baristas Big ‘G’ and Mel work their magic day in, day out to achieve that goal.
Ultimately, for the team at The Oak, while the coffee, the food and the atmosphere are all vital to their success – the thing that makes it all worthwhile is the people. Paul sums it up like this “It’s a people business, it’s not even about the food or coffee” “what I love about this business is the people, first and foremost”.
The Oak Cafe
Cnr Robert and Railway St,
Mon 6:30am – 12pm
Tue-Fri 6:30am – 3pm
Sat 6:30am – 2:30pm
Sun 7am – 1pm
If you’re also planning a new cafe business, check out our step-by-step guide to opening a cafe