I’d like you close your eyes and imagine the perfect chip. Are your eyes closed? They’d be crunchy crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside and every single chip on the plate would be like that. No soggy ones lurking about at the bottom – all of them crispy, crunchy and golden delicious.

Welcome to Saltwater, Mooloolaba’s latest fish and chippery and home of, we think, the best fish and chips in Mooloolaba – and I say that with absolute apologies to The Deck (whose calamari is still my fave, and nothing beats eating a kilo of prawns up there), and that one in the Landmark building whose name I can never remember but that does fabulous fish.

Located on The Wharf – which, incidentally, is gloriously coming back to life as we speak – at Mooloolaba, this Hamptons style fish and chippery is a salty sister to Rice Boi and from the same family as Junk and Hello Harry (in Maroochydore).

And the food?

These guys do a chip butty. Yes, I’m serious. Those fabulous chips in two slices of buttered white bread for just $3…I had one late-ish the other Friday night…and washed it down with a glass of prosecco…as you do. But, I digress. The food. Like Rice Boi, there’s nothing on this menu that’s over $20. It’s takeaway but served at a table with a fabulous view…although you could take it away if you wanted to – but seriously, with views like this, why would you?

Hubby had the fish and chips ($10), Miss 19 had the salmon cakes ($4 each) and I had a prawn roll – essentially a Mooloolaba prawn cocktail in a brioche bun…yummo…also $10.

If you want something a tad more luxe, you can. There’s the full prawn cocktail version of the prawn roll I had, plus a good range of burgers ($10), including an oyster po’boy ($15). There’s also spaghettini, risotto, and swordfish skewers. I could go on, but duck over to the Facebook page for a pic of the menu and whatever other info you need.

Where?

On The Wharf at Mooloolaba, Parkyn Parade

When?

From 11.30 – late 7 days a week

How much? $

Nothing over $20 – unless you go for market-priced fish…

Licenced?

Yep

Vegetarian options?

Not really – the chip butty maybe?

Every culture has one- a dish that makes you feel so good inside, it can’t possibly be wrong. A dish that tastes like it should be good for you, that it should be able to beat anything that ails you into submission. Folk food, family food, street food.

Pho, (pronounced “fuh” for the uninitiated) is one such dish.

It sounds simple enough – flat rice noodles, thinly sliced raw beef, a few herbs and spring onions, with an aromatic boiling broth poured over the lot to cook the meat. Too easy? No…the fact is, all pho is not created equal.

Good pho has hidden depths of flavour, enhanced by the chilli, lemon, basil and whatever you add to it. It’s the noodle soup of the Gods, and just by eating it you’re treating your body as a temple. It’s very different from your average food court of franchise pho – the ones where the broth is thin and watery, the beef clumpy, the texture fatty and shallow. Those ones might trick you into thinking you’ve satisfied the craving, but essentially it’s pho without a soul.

Anyways, it’s this (and Hainanese chicken – but that’s another story) that I crave when I’m feeling like I’m fighting off a head cold…or a hangover…or just because I’m craving it. And, up until now, there’s been nowhere on the Sunshine Coast to indulge that craving.

Nguyen Brothers have another two restaurants – in Marrickville and Alexandria in Sydney – and these guys know their pho. The broth is deep in flavour, yet also light with citrusy top-notes. Before I start sounding like I’m describing wine, I’ll also tell you the best thing – they don’t just do one type of beef pho.

Hue style pho

Also on the menu is five spice pho – a super spicy, dark broth of fabulousness for when you need that extra kick – and Hue style pho, a richer, thicker beef soup that my husband has decided is his personal favourite. And, for something lighter, there’s also a chicken pho.

vermicelli salad with crispy chicken

Don’t worry, if you’re not into slurping noodles, there’s still plenty to keep you happy. There’s crunchy spring rolls to startAlso on the lunch menu is Bun (or vermicelli salads), Goi (salad), Bahn Mi (baguettes), Bahn cuon (steamed rice rolls) – which is next on my list of dishes to try – and Com (rice dishes).

crispy skin chicken and rice

At night the menu expands to include crispy pancakes to start, followed by share dishes such as claypot fish, caramelised pork, lemongrass chicken and…I won’t go on.

Where?

Nguyen Brothers is located in the Kin-Tiki Building at 55 Plaza Parade, Maroochydore.

When?

7 days

Lunch 11am – 3pm

Dinner – from 5.30pm

How much? $

There’s nothing on the lunch menu over $15

Dinner mains start at $16

Vegetarian options?

Yes

Licensed?

No…BYO

More information?

Check out their Facebook page here

 

 

 

 

Rice Boi

Let me say this first: I’m in dumpling heaven.

The dumplings

Now that I’ve got that out of the way…actually no, I need to say it again – the dumplings really are that good. In fact, Rice Boi really is that good. This is the street food style eatery that Mooloolaba has been needing. It’s the street food style eatery that I’ve been needing, with the handmade dumplings I’ve been craving.

With a grungey industrial style fit-out that wouldn’t be out of place in Melbourne, fabulous food, a price point that’s affordable for everyone – there’s nothing over $20 on the menu – and that incredible view over Mooloolaba’s canals there’s so much to like about Rice Boi.

The menu at Rice Boi (from their Facebook page)

So, what did we have, aside from the dumplings, of course? here’s another view of them.

Dumplings

The food comes out street food style – as it’s ready – and is designed to share. We nibbled on some lotus chips to start. I first had these in the owner, Tony Kelly’s other restaurant Junk at Maroochydore. As an aside, he also created Hello Harry’s burger restaurant at Maroochydore and Caloundra, and the newly opened Saltwater Fish and Chippery also at Mooloolaba Wharf. This guy really knows his food and his market.

Lotus Chips

Anyways, the lotus chips. If there was ever a snack designed to be eaten with beer, this is it.

We also shared the kung pao calamari and the salt and pepper chicken wings. We’ll be back next week to sample the bao and curries…and the ramen, which looks prettier than any ramen has the right to look. With a couple of drinks each (wine for me, beer for him), we had a great night out for not much more than $60. Next time, though, I’m trying the cocktails.

Where

You’ll find Rice Boi on the Wharf at Mooloolaba, Parkyn Parade.

When

From 11.30am – late 7 days a week

Licensed?

Yes

How much? $

There’s nothing on the menu over $20

Vegetarian options?

Yes

If you want more info, check out their Facebook page.

Update…

Since I wrote this we’ve been back to Rice Boi a few times and sampled so much more. Spoiler alert – the bao are a-freaking-mazing.

 

 

 

 

I didn’t take this photo – it’s from the website…

I knew I loved this place before I met it. No, bear with me a minute. It wasn’t just the name (which I love), or the graphic daisy logo (which I also love). It wasn’t even that it’s in Eumundi (which I love) and has a John Lennon inspired heart All You Need Is Love on the side of the wall (which I also love).

It was all of this. Then we stepped inside and I fell in love a little bit more with the mismatched tables, the art, the random whatevers, the beer garden. Finally I fell in love with the food.

What did we eat? It was Sunday lunch and due to pre-exam stresses, it also ended up being a date lunch. Anyways, I opted for the mussels in Thai broth (very yum indeed) and the hubster went with the fish cakes and a side of exceptional fries and aioli.

The verdict? We’ll be back – possibly for dinner next time…

Where: 69 Memorial Dr, Eumundi

When: Bohemian Bungalow is open from breakfast and lunch Wednesday – Sunday 8.30am – 3pm and for dinner Wednesday – Saturday 5.30pm – late.

More info? Read more on their website, or keep up to date via their Facebook page.

another professional photographer pic from their website…

 

 

Spirit House Restaurant

We’ve been fans of The Spirit House for what seems like forever. I hate to think how many times I’ve posted about it on the old and anyways site. They absolutely deserve the accolades they’ve received – speaking of which, they retained their hat status in the recent Good Food Awards…I digress.

Anyways, just when you thought they had done it all – great restaurant, fabulous cookbooks, seriously hard to get into cooking classes – now they have a bar. It’s completely separate to the restaurant, but has that same could be in Bali feel about it – albeit a much sleeker could be in Bali feel than the restaurant does.

The mural at Hong Sa

Set in the lush gardens of Spirit House, Hong Sa’s bar is dark and moodily lit, with the centrepiece the mural of the golden swan – a symbol of kindness, gentleness, richness and happiness. According to the menu, it’s a traditional Thai tattoo down as Pa Ya Hong Tong. It also happens to be very striking.

The deck, however, is the place to be – especially on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Barrel-aged cocktails seem to be quite the thing at the moment and Hong Sa had 2 on offer – a negroni and a manhattan. I opted for the negroni, but other than that the signature cocktail range is an interesting one.

As for the food? Song Ha’s list of bar snacks changes regularly. We were after a really light lunch so went with the coffin bay oysters with a tangy red nahm jim, massaman lamb pies with homemade tomato sauce, Mooloolaba prawn roll with tom yum mayonnaise, and Hiramassa kingfish skewers with green nahm jim.

It all had the same full of flavour Thai with a twist creativity that we’ve come to expect from Spirit House – and is just a tad easier to get into these days!

Where: Spirit House is at 20 Ninderry Rd, Yandina

More info: Their Facebook page is here.

Bucket of beers. Do three words ever sound as good as these do? Especially on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon on the Coast.

What if I throw in another few words? Words like tacos, and corn, and chicken wings. Dude food Mexican style. Yeah. Those words sound pretty good too.

At La Canteena on Ocean Street, Maroochydore’s foodie street, there’s all this – plus a mural wall that would not be at all out of place in a Melbourne laneway. In fact, if we want to take it further, La Canteena would not be at all out of place in a Melbourne laneway – although I suspect there wouldn’t be quite as much need for shade. Just saying…and by now you should know how much I do love Melbourne.

Of course, it’s not all about beer. With a name like La Canteena, you’d also suspect there would be sangria and tequila and other cool cocktails – and there is.

On the menu ipad you’re given you’ll find pizzas and lots of Mexican street food in share plate style – although I never knew that Brussels Sprouts were traditional Mexican street food…who’d have thunk it. Having said that, these are not like the Brussels your Mum used to force feed you. Oh no – these are very yummy. These ones are pan fried with crispy bacon and drizzled liberally with chipotle mayo.

For me, though, it’s all about the tacos. We’ve sampled the soft shelled crab, the fish, the pulled pork, and the pork belly, but still have a few more left to try.

And the devilled chicken wings. You have to try the chicken wings. And the street corn – buttery with parmesan, lime and herbs.

El Diablo wings

Where: 

19 ¾ Ocean St Maroochydore

When:

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 5pm – 10pm

Saturday, Sunday 12pm – 10pm

More info: 

Find out more at their website or on Facebook

 

It’s a funny thing, but one of things I remember distinctly about holidays to the Sunshine Coast was the sugar cane. I remember that on the road to Nambour there was lots of sugar cane. I even remember that sometimes you had to stop for the train that took the cane up to the mill.

I don’t know when we stopped noticing the cane, or the little train and the mill. Apparently the train and the mill closed in 2003 – the cane probably making way for development. I hadn’t even really thought about it until I took the back road – down through Bli Bli – to the airport the other day.

Where am I going with this? I’m not really sure, except to say that I thought of it again as we drove through cane-fields in Rosemount to Guru Life.

Where’s Rosemount, I hear you ask? No, I had no idea either. Anyways, it’s sort of west of Maroochydore, but not quite as far as Nambour – and surprisingly not really very far from anywhere.

I’d heard a lot about this place – about how the coffee was fabulous, about the quirky furniture, and about how it’s a great weekend hang-out for the sort of restorative all-day breakfast after the night before. Perhaps the pineapple wallpaper on the counter expedites the healing process…

We visited at lunch time on a steamy Friday to find the carpark – and the courtyard – relatively full.

And the food? Hubby was concerned that with a name like Guru Life he was going to be confronted with a completely vegan menu full of acai bowls and quinoa and kombucha. A quick trip to the website and the phrase “extra bacon” soon put his mind at rest.

I chose the Indian spiced corn fritters with potato kofta, hummus, yoghurt dressing, avocado, a salsa, and bacon. Phew.

Miss 19 had the same, but with smoked salmon.

Hubby had the fish and chips – and exceptional fish and chips they were.

Guru Life is also a roastery and I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that they’d been voted by something or other as having the best coffee on the coast, but don’t quote me on that. Given that it was a Friday and my head hurt from work and some other stuff that you don’t need to know about, I went straight for a glass of wine. Don’t look at me like that – it was medicinal.

Speaking of which, aside from being a great spot for breakfast or a mid-week lunch, this is the perfect place for a Sunday session. A spot outside, a cold ale or three, maybe some tunes, and the world is a very special place. With a duck pond. What more could you ask for?

Where: 522 Petrie Creek Road, Rosemount, QLD

Open: Like the sign says – 6am – 3pm…but later (for dinner) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check out their website or Facebook for more info.

There’s something about Woombye. It feels a lot like Bangalow (in the Byron hinterland) did before it was Bangalow and got all quirky hipster fashionable. (As an aside, I still love Bangalow). Anyways, Woombye, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, feels a little like that – full of potential and possibility. As if it’s yet to be discovered.

As we’re sitting down eating our breakfast on a Saturday morning, a couple of horses (with riders) go clomping up the main street. It’s all part of the charm of this town.

Speaking of charm, Winnie has it in spades. Operating out of a simply white-washed shopfront, fabulous breakfasts are somehow produced from what looks to be the smallest kitchen in history. I’m exaggerating, of course, about the kitchen size, not the fabulousness of the breakfasts.

I was torn between the avo smash, the Japanese style cabbage pancake, and the black rice porridge with ginger syrup, grilled bananas and hung yoghurt. Waiting at the counter to order the avo smash I saw a plate of the black rice go out – and changed my mind on the spot.

Hubby stuck with the sourdough and home-made jam (which he declared was excellent), but we’ll be back to try more. Update January 2018 – yep, back again…this time had the avo with radish, feta, micro herbs on sourdough. Just how pretty does it look?

Oh, and the name? Winnie is named after the owner’s son, Winston. They also have Little Boat at Marcoola (on my list to try) – which is named after her other son, Otus, or Oatey Boatie. Too cute…as are the straw umbrellas – which I’m now coveting.

Where:

13a Blackall St, Woombye

When:

Weds – Fri 6.30-2.30 /Sat & Sun 6.30-1.30

How much? $

All dishes are below $20. The smashed avo is $15.

Licensed?

No

 

The birds and the sun are waking earlier and the days are getting longer. In a couple of weeks the rest of Australia will be winding their clocks forward for the start of daylight saving and those of us here in Queensland who work remotely back to Sydney each day will be cursing the time difference.

For those of you reading this on the other side of the world, Queensland (where I live) and Western Australia don’t do daylight saving – even though the rest of Australia does. It’s something to do with how the curtains will fade, the chooks will go off the lay, and the cow’s milk will dry up. Of course I’m being facetious, but you get the idea.

Anyways, it’s Spring – and it’s pretty close to perfect. The weather is fabulous, the ocean is bluer than blue and you can still get a carpark at the beach. Once summer hits, and brings with it heat, high humidity and summer holidays, it can be bedlam here.

To make sure I don’t miss one glorious minute, here’s what’s planned:

  1. Continue to walk the beach most weekday mornings.
  2. A road trip – we’re heading up to have a look at Bundaberg and Bargara. Bundy rum anyone?
  3. A romantic foodie weekend in Melbourne. Yes, I know, we’re leaving the sunny coast for a few days, but Melbourne is always a good idea.
  4. Hit the beach. Enough said.
  5. Fish and chips on the beach at sunset.
  6. Buy loads of mangoes and make yummy things with them – or buy loads of mangoes and eat them.
  7. Continue to buy, cook, and eat local produce. We’re spoilt for choice up here.
  8. Try the farmer’s market at Timari Village and Noosa.
  9. Plant a vegetable garden. I’m missing having herbs at the back door, so I’ll plant some. I also want to have a go at growing some more tropical plants – such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, galangal or lemongrass. As an aside, there’s a papaya tree growing on our verge.
  10. Chill out on a Friday night at one of the street food markets – Marcoola, Ocean St or Timari Village Market.
  11. Continue our search for the ultimate beer garden. The research is a bugger.
  12. Speaking of which, check out Copperhead Brewery at Cooroy and Rick’s Garage at Palmwoods.
  13. Add to my list of fabulous places for breakfast on the Sunshine Coast.
  14. Drop 8 kgs – see how I just snuck that one in? I need to lose about 30 kgs, so 8 will be a start.
  15. Do some of the walks in Noosa National Park before the heat and the summer people hit.
  16. Do more of the Point Cartwright to Caloundra walk – again before the heat hits.
  17. Fire up the barbecue (grill) and pizza oven and eat outside lots more.
  18. Get a good start on Christmas shopping at the arty markets around the coast eg Peregian Beach, Sunshine Coast Collective, Eumundi, Cotton Tree, or Caloundra Street Fair.
  19. Get an early morning photo of the boathouses along the Maroochy River.
  20. Make like a tourist (man, we are sooooo local these days) and do a Maroochy River or Noosa Everglades cruise.

 

I’m a bit of a fan of the scrub turkey.  They’re a clumsy looking bird that you either tend to love or hate – I’m in the love category. To me, they’re part of the coast. Anyone whose had their lunch stolen or their camp site ransacked by one would, however, probably wouldn’t agree with me.

There’s one scrub turkey, though, that I think everyone can love – the cafe on Nicklin Way at Wurtulla.

The coffee is seriously good and the menu is small, but based around organic and sustainable produce. There’s a good range of the usual breakfast suspects (I had the smashed avo with feta and a side of crispy back), a few good burgers – than can also be served naked i.e. without the bun – and some daily specials.

There are long benches that are perfect for working – as I was supposed to be doing – and the shelves are full of all sorts of sustainable products.

Sure, it’s located on Nicklin Way, but enough off the road to minimise the noise – and there’s plenty of parking.