First look: Bam Bam Bakehouse, Mermaid Beach

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Bam Bam Bakehouse, Mermaid Beach.

So the name says it's a bakehouse and there's a glassed-in pastry kitchen, but there's more than buttery croissants, cream-filled choux bombs and Breton tarts crossing the marble-topped counters here. Bam Bam is a double-threat - a clever mix of bistro-café with an in-house pâtisserie. It's a fitting follow-up to Paddock Bakery, Ursula and Ben Watts' first outing, a hip café-bakery hybrid in Miami and supplier of Bam Bam's excellent breads. The feel is different here, the fit-out nicely detailed with raw brick, handsome oversized beaten copper light shades, pressed-metal features, polished concrete and an abundance of flowers. The entire dining area opens onto Mermaid Park and there's a clutch of candy-striped deckchairs out front for takeaways. A recycled timber table on the shaded terrace is a sweet post-beach spot to delve into the likes of the beef dip, a classic brioche roll stuffed full of smoky brisket, melted provolone and caramelised onion with a pot of jus for dipping. Or maybe a crusty roll, spread with cultured butter and filled with local prawns, lettuce and thousand-island dressing. Things kick off early at Bam Bam, so if you manage a sunrise surf over the holidays, pop in and grab a two-egg nasi goreng with a punchy chilli sambal and maybe some chicken sate on the side; or perhaps a chicken parm and chips - all served from 6.30am.

Bam Bam Bakehouse, 2519 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach, Qld (no phone). Open daily 6.30am-3pm.

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