I checked out Lester and Earl the other night, a popular American BBQ style eatery at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.
The entrance is hard to find if you don’t know it’s there, with an unmarked doorway leading you upstairs to a large restaurant and bar with veranda seating (four units were purchased to create the venue).
I loved the décor, lots of dark wood gives a saloon-like feeling, upcycled crystal decanters hang above the bar, and old wine barrels remind you to try a tipple at the bar. And a colourful floor to ceiling mural of the Marlboro Man provides an eye-catching feature.
Set just back from the beach, behind the surf club, there are ocean views if you pick the right seats.
Bar Manager Darren takes pride in his bar, and warmly welcomes us with a run-down on their impressive range of local craft beers on tap. But I’d read about their bacon bourbon and Mexican coke and wanted to try those (Coke-Cola in Mexico is said to taste better because it’s reportedly still produced using cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup). Alas, no bacon bourbon available, so I ordered a shot of bacon vodka instead.
We perched on the balcony and focused on the ocean view as the sun went down.
We ordered buttermilk fried chicken to nibble as a starter, and were pleasantly surprised with the serving size. We loved the spiciness of the chicken, it was very more-ish (the bf said it went well with his beer).
The focus of the menu is American style smoked meats. An on-site smoker is fired up early each morning and top quality beef (grass-fed Cape Grim from Tasmania), brisket and pork are slowly dry smoked over the course of the day (not the sticky, messy glaze you often associate with American BBQ).
We wanted to order Bubba Gump’s Shrimp (prawns sautéed in a spicy Creole sauce, with chorizo, bacon and Cajun spices on creamy, cheese filled polenta) and beef ribs to share, but I had a feeling the ribs were going to be enough, so we (luckily) held off on the prawns.
A huge piece of blackend beef (cows have big ribs!!) was served on a big platter with waffle fries, corn bread, and tangy (not goopy) coleslaw. We struggled to get through it, and took a doggy bag home as the meat was just too good to leave on the plate. The ribs are smoked for 8 hours using mesquite (a wood used for smoking meat), it pulled apart beautifully and had a wonderful flavour.
Surprisingly I thought my bacon vodka and Mexican coke was a good accompaniment to the ribs, with the vodka adding a smokiness to my coke (no thumbs up from the bf on this one though!).
I had absolutely no room left after dinner, but wanted to squeeze in some bacon ice cream. Sadly the waitress told me the ice cream fridge had had a meltdown so ice cream was off the menu. So I tried the salted caramel apple pie instead…my boyfriend isn’t really a dessert fan, but said it was one of the best desserts he has ever had. I found it a bit too sweet, but still very yummy.
We ended our evening with a coffee cocktail courtesy of our friendly barman Darren, and left feeling very pleased with our latest discovery. I’m already planning my next visit because Bubba Gump’s Shrimp is calling…
Lester & Earl,1097 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach, thoroughly enjoyed their food, great music and drinks
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