Restaurant Reviews

Review: Queensland's Labart is a world-class dining experience

With a focus on top-quality produce, the sum is greater than its parts at this Burleigh gem.

By Tory Shepherd
It can be hard to know what to expect when a restaurant simply declares itself as "Australian". Quandongs and finger limes? Surf 'n' turf? Restaurant Labart, which sits amid the hurly of Burleigh, has a simple answer. Find and serve the best Australian produce.
And because they know what that is, they offer (ever-changing) set menus. It's $125 per person for dinner menu. You can also have that at lunch, or there's a shorter one for $90.
The interior whisks you away to Paris, with its long banquettes, flickering candles and mossy green walls. It should be noisy, thanks to a long open kitchen, low ceiling and terrazzo floor. But subtle ceiling and wall panels seem to work here to create a quiet, calm space.
Karla Munoz Labart (co-owner) and Alex Munoz Labart (co-owner and head chef) of Labart. Photo: Supplied
The day's menu is explained with a minimum of fuss by friendly staff who turn out to know quite a lot but don't feel they have to tell you every detail unless you ask.
Take the butter. It's extraordinary. Light and nutty with just a tang of salt. It's so good I ask for all the details and I'm told it's a beurre noisette, cooled then whipped to the consistency of chocolate mousse. It's a good indicator of what's to come. Everything starts with simple but quality ingredients, prepared so that the sum transcends its parts.
A starter of sweet melon comes with a touch of sour cream and thyme, next to a sliver of fig with maple, hazelnut and cheddar. Sweet, savoury, salty flavours all perfectly balanced. A salad of strawberry and cucumber in a vivid basil oil is elevated by burrata slowly spreading through the tart base. The meal progresses at a (thankfully) leisurely pace as the heavier dishes come; a roasted tomato risotto topped with a fillet of barbecued bonito, followed by wagyu beef with peppers and mushrooms and a rich onion sauce.

Wine pairing is available for $95, but you can trust the staff for recommendations if you don't trust yourself. The range is superb, and reflects Labart's dedication to showcasing the best of Australia
with a strong European influence. Tasmanian pinot noirs, shiraz from South Australia, German rieslings and French chablis. There's a sad but to-be-expected lack of Queensland offerings, although a delightful staff member brings me a glass of Brookie's Macadamia and Wattleseed Liqueur, from just over the border in NSW.
Restaurant Labart is Australian, and it's world class.