Beachside hole-in-the-wall focused on convenience, service, and beautiful views.
At the Café Connoisseur, we review cafés (any eatery that serves coffee during daylight hours with a relatively casual ambience). But how can you reasonably compare the experience at, say, the Cardamom Pod Brickworks, to a hole-in-the-wall joint like Nectar Espresso?
Well, to paraphrase film critic Roger Ebert, it’s not what a café does – it’s how it does it. Places like Nectar aren’t looking to deliver a fancy table-to-table service experience. They’re about those moments at the counter, the brief sparks of personalised conversation that turn a standard transaction into something special. The experience is different, but it’s still great – and that’s what we review.
So, now that we’ve hashed out the editorial details, let’s talk about all the things that this beachfront Burleigh eatery does well (and not so well).
North Burleigh Surf Life Saving Club, 293 The Esplanade, Miami QLD 4220
Monday–Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. | Saturday & Sunday, 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Best For …
When you’re hanging out at North Burleigh beach and you need a quick something to eat. Ideal for casual catchups and beach days with mates.
Surprise, surprise, Nectar Espresso’s location is a big plus. It’s attached to the North Burleigh Surf Club, on the beach side of the Esplanade. That means sweeping ocean views unobscured by she-oaks and pandanus palms – on a clear day, it’s seriously lovely.
The obvious downside is that parking is horrific. If you visit Nectar on the weekend (especially if it’s sunny), you’ll have to fight half the Gold Coast for a spot along the Esplanade. There are a handful of carparks near the Surf Club, but you’d probably be better off buying a lotto ticket than trying to find an empty space.
- Go earlier in the day. From 9 a.m. onwards, the traffic is frightening, and Nectar closes at 2 p.m. on the weekends.
- Park a little way out. You might have better luck parking in the streets between the Esplanade and the Gold Coast Highway.
- If those both fail, park at the south end of Burleigh and walk up. It’s a k or two, but you’ll feel like you’ve earned your brunch.
Nectar Espresso itself is pretty standard – it’s a literal hole-in-the-wall where you order at a counter on the right then pick up your chow from a counter on the left. There’s a scattering of umbrella-shaded tables, although they’re popular enough that we weren’t able to snag one.
Luckily, the beach is literally thirty seconds away. Why sit at a wooden table when you could park yourself under the palms and watch the surf roll in?
I’ll be honest: Nectar Espresso’s excellent service transformed what could have been a subpar experience into something memorable.
The man who took our order exemplified good care. Seriously – he was friendly without being overwhelming, and balanced a bit of banter about my name with efficient order fulfilment. Nailing five-star service in a fast-paced environment isn’t easy, but this gentleman managed to do it. I’d say it was probably one of the best waitstaff interactions I’ve ever experienced.
Of course, there’s usually bad to go with the good, and Nectar was no different. The wait time ended up being about 15 to 20 minutes, which, while not unusual for a café, isn’t ideal when you’ve got customers standing around in the hot sun. It’s worth noting that they were really busy, though, so this probably isn’t the norm.
What’s On the Menu
Nectar Espresso’s menu is pretty much what you’d expect: a low item count to keep inventory to a minimum, combining Burleigh faves like açaí with classic crowd-pleasers like fish and chips and toasties.
Drinks-wise, there’s a range of bottled options (soft drinks, Gatorade, juice, and so on), a decent range of house-made smoothies, plus your standard coffee line-up made on Allpress Espresso (a speciality Kiwi coffee brand).
What I Ate
Yes, I ordered an açaí bowl. A hot spring day in Burleigh – how could I not? Unlike açaí stalwarts like Helen’s, Nectar offers just one bowl for $15, and the simplicity is kind of refreshing.
So, the good first. The bowl looks great. Sliced Granny Smith apple, kiwi fruit, banana, and strawberries cup the toasted museli and blueberries, and the whole thing is finished off with a dusting of desiccated coconut. It’s bright, tropical, and overflowing with visual appeal.
Dig past that first layer, though, and things get messy. My açaí was still partially frozen – not ideal. The whole thing had a kind of weird, Slushie-like texture, although the açaí at the top and around the edges was delish.
The granola – crunchy, spiced with cinnamon, and available as a GF option – redeemed things slightly, but, as a whole, the bowl wasn’t great.
What I Drank
I ordered an iced long black with an extra shot. Honestly, there’s not much to report here. Allpresso is a good brand, and the barista did a decent job of making it. The flavour was pleasant, but not particularly strong – overall, it was a serviceable coffee that delivered a nice caffeine hit and not much else.
Nectar Espresso has the makings of a great hole-in-the-wall, but my experience was spoiled by half-frozen açaí.
Iced Long Black, Extra Shot
|Summary||Nectar Espresso has the makings of a great hole-in-the-wall, but my experience was spoiled by half-frozen açaí.|
|Rating||3.5 out of 5|