SGC Profile - Christina Sarunic, co-owner – Obala Café

Posted on Monday, November 06, 2017

Obala is bringing a taste of the Mediterranean to Kirra. Located under Nirvana by the Sea, the new restaurant and bar has only been open for several weeks, but is already settling into the scene as a new favourite for locals and visitors.

Offering casual, restaurant-quality fare in a relaxed seaside setting, Obala is the brainchild of mother-daughter duo Anna and Christina Sarunic.

Inspired by her Croatian heritage, Christina developed the menu and concept of Obala to reflect the unique similarities of the coastal locations. 

Q: What is the concept behind Obala?
A: It's a philosophy, it's a culture, it's a paradise. From the Croatian word for seaside or coast, we thought it was fitting to situate ourselves on the beautiful Kirra Beach. I come from a family of Australia-Croatian fisherman, therefore seafood has been a large part of my life and the major inspiration for the menu. Our European culture is very passionate about food, drinking and good times and that is the idea we wish to share. It is simple food, done well, with reasonable prices and generous portions. The share plate idea is very much bringing in the feeling that you are eating at home with your family with all the food in the centre.

Q: Is this your first venture on the Southern Gold Coast?
A: Yes. I have lived on the Gold Coast for nearly 2 years, but originally come from South Australia. Born and bred in a small fishing town called Port Lincoln, it was always my desire to open my own cafe locally in Port Lincoln. However, I outgrew the country life and chose the Gold Coast as it holds wonderful memories for our family as we spent every September school holidays here when I was growing up. The warmer weather also attracted me to the location, not to mention the amazing coastline and relaxed and friendly vibe that the locals portray.

Q: What has the response been so far from both locals and visitors to Kirra?
A: We have had a fantastic response from both locals and tourists. We had repeat customers within the first week, and many locals have said Kirra was missing and craving a concept like ours. Tourists also have made repeat visits before leaving, many commenting not only on the well-priced and good tasting food, but the welcoming environment created by the staff.

Q: What can people expect when they dine with you?
A: Customers can expect a very relaxed, casual vibe in our restaurant. We want a fun experience, which is applicable to any age group, including families. The concept is based around family, culture and values and we want this to be reflected in our restaurant.

Q: Is there a must-try dish or drink on the menu?
A: The seafood board most certainly attracts plenty of attention! As do the Arancini balls and zucchini and feta fritters. We have also created a signature cocktail which includes my favourite Croatian liqueurs. It’s a blend of Kruškovac (pear liqueur), Cherry Liqueur and Limoncello. This is a must try as the refreshing fruit flavours are perfect to quench your thirst on the a warm summer day.

The team are focusing on casual afternoon and evening service, with live music on Friday afternoons from 5.30pm and plans to introduce a Sunday Session, launching over summer, as well as breakfast in the coming months.

Obala is open from 2pm – 8pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 1pm – 10pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday, located under Nirvana by the Sea in Douglas St, Kirra. 

Follow them on Instagram or Facebook to keep up with the latest news. 

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