Taste main story
Taste main story

How new vegan cafe pays ‘ridiculously’ low rent

It's got ocean views and a perfect location for pedestrian traffic - and yet this southern Gold Coast cafe is paying much less in overheads than its neighbours. Find out why.

While it remains a pipedream for most, Burleigh Heads' new semipermanent eatery Absorbed Co is just that - the fruition of two friends' vision.

"One day (my friend and I) were just walking in Melbourne, he said let's start a food truck," Absorbed Co co-owner Emily Meredith says.

"I didn't take them seriously. But he was pushing it, saying 'we've got do this, look for a van, we're going to do this'.

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Absorbed Co’s seafood pasta dish with all plant-based seafruits. Picture: Jerad Williams
Absorbed Co’s seafood pasta dish with all plant-based seafruits. Picture: Jerad Williams

"I like cooking, I'm a really good cook. He wanted to change industry, he's in the plumbing industry and wanted a change of scenery.

"So we went through the process of finding a van. We wanted a cafe vibe where it's good food, but you have to wait a little bit longer."

The two friends started in Brisbane but found there wasn't much of a market for healthy, made to order vegan dishes.

Emily says she also liked the concept of setting up shop somewhere more permanent instead of moving to a different market every day.

"We had previously had seen a few different food trailers around Japan, they're more permanent, they don't move around," Emily says.

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Chef and owner Emily Meredith holding a seafood pasta dish at Absorbed Co. Picture: Jerad Williams
Chef and owner Emily Meredith holding a seafood pasta dish at Absorbed Co. Picture: Jerad Williams

Emily also had a vision of a deck for customers to relax on, and came across one in Burleigh, attached to a service station.

"I really wanted a deck, so we just searched and we found this dingy deck," Emily says.

"It had previously been built buy a guy who was hiring surfboards for charity, then he left it.

"So we rented it off the Caltex, we cleaned it up and put in railings."

On the menu is a mix of international cuisines with an Asian influence. Emily says the offerings are quite extensive for how small of a space it's prepared in.

"I haven't actually counted how many items we have, but it's probably over 20," she says.

"I'm vegan, so there was no way it wouldn't be vegan.

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Absorbed Co is a new food truck in Burleigh Heads. Sushi Rice Dome. Picture: Jerad Williams
Absorbed Co is a new food truck in Burleigh Heads. Sushi Rice Dome. Picture: Jerad Williams

"As we're very limited with our space, we do the majority of our cooking with woks.

"I've created this wok-tossed stir fried nachos - you just think it's nachos when you look at it on the plate, but the kitchen is very open and you can see it's tossed in the wok.

"We've got quite a few different Asian ones, like yakitori sticks, my sister in law's Korean and she came up with Korean pancakes, they're savoury pancakes with kimchi and a smoked teriyaki sauce on top.

"We've also got smoothie bowls and burgers and pastas, and avocado on toast."

The green, clean eating machine will hang around until Christmas, and Emily says she would love to open a permanent cafe one day - but for now, she's happy keeping the cost of meals low with cheaper overheads.

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Absorbed Co is a new food truck in Burleigh Heads. Picture: Jerad Williams
Absorbed Co is a new food truck in Burleigh Heads. Picture: Jerad Williams

 

"It's really about cost. Our overheads are ridiculously lower than anyone else in the area, we're able to make our meals for a lot cheaper," Emily says.

"At the moment it's our little van, we like being able to give people decent prices.

"The locals in Burleigh are absolutely amazing. They're all so supportive that we've done the area up. Everyone's so lovely here."

Absorbed Co is open 7am to 3pm Wednesday to Sunday at 1827 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads.