So anyways, we’re smack in the middle of the strawberry season. But isn’t it just the start of spring? Ah yes, but here on the Sunshine Coast our season runs from May through to October. The first strawberries begin appearing around Mother’s Day and come Melbourne Cup Day they’re gone.
Fun fact 1: Queensland supplies the winter production of strawberries for the rest of the country and most of them (about 85%) are grown here on the Sunshine Coast – although Bundaberg is now also growing strawberries and there are some producers even further up north on the Atherton Tablelands.
We’re lucky – the strawberries that we buy at our weekly farmer’s market haven’t been anywhere near cold storage. They’re low on food miles and taste the way that strawberries are meant to taste. The way they never seem to taste in the city.
Fun fact 2: Strawberries have to be picked when they’re ripe. They won’t ripen any more once they’ve been picked.
Picking your own…
There’s something about picking your own fruit though – and luckily, we have places where you can do that. What’s not to love? Some Vitamin D, the smell of warm strawberries all around, the promise of the freshest tastiest fruit and a strawberry icecream at the end of it.
Fun Fact 3: Technically the strawberry is not a berry, but a member of the rose family. Don’t say you don’t learn anything here!
I wouldn’t blame you if you haven’t heard of Eudlo; I hadn’t until a fellow guest at Jimmy’s Catering pumpkin night – I don’t think I’ve told you about their single ingredient dinners yet, have I? – mentioned that Sweethearts at Eudlo was a great place for a weekend brekky.
Eudlo? I’d seen the signs – there’s a turn-off on Tanawha Forest Drive just past the Maroochy Botanic Gardens. You can also get there from Palmwoods – and I’d seen it from the Brisbane train (which I usually catch from Palmwoods). Surely there couldn’t be a cafe there worth driving for? But she was adamant. Absolutely it’s worth the drive, she said.
I still laugh when someone says that: worth the drive. It wasn’t that long ago that getting to the shopping centre just 5kms away in Sydney took almost 10 mins – if there was no traffic. Now we talk about whether a destination in the hinterland just 20 mins away is worth the drive.
There’s a great brekky menu plus some pretty special cakes.
I was there to do some writing but was totally distracted by all the little bits in the garden. Speaking of distractables – it’s great for kids and dogs…
While you’re in Eudlo…
While you’re there, check out the General Store – it’s an absolute treasure trove of unexpected things…even a community library bookshelf of sorts.
One cuisine the Sunshine Coast does really well is Mexican – and not just the all in together sort of slop that Mexican food used to be (remember those office parties?). We’re talking new Mexican, tasty Mexican, amazing burrito bowls and soft shell tacos with fillings that haven’t seen the inside of an El Paso packet. Food that goes incredibly well with blue skies, bright colours, vibey vibes, and beer and tequila in an Instagram worthy setting.
Juan Fifty at 150 (get it?) Alexandra Parade – right across the road from the Alex Surf Club – is that sort of Mexican.
The decor has even more colour than the beach across the road, and the drinks menu has enough beers, tequilas and cocktails to make it worth making a night of – or whiling away a Sunday afternoon…not that I’d ever advocate a lack of moderation…no siree…drink responsibly people. There are even a few local faves on the craft beer list – like Your Mate’s Larry (a pale ale) and Donnie ( a dark ale) brewed right here on the Sunshine Coast.
And the food? We shared:
Chickpea Battered Brocollini ($8)
Battered cod fingers with a harissa bell pepper sauce ($9)
Pulled pork tacos with blackened Pineapple & Jalapeno Salsa Coriander, Cucumber, Slaw, Housemade Rainbow Corn Tortillas (2 for $16) and
Build your own burrito bowl with pulled pork and street corn and black bean salsa ($18)
The verdict? I think we might have found a new Mexican fave…
There’s something about a coffee shop that’s just about the coffee. As if it’s popped up somewhere, thrown in a super-smart, sleek and totally gorgeous coffee machine, sourced the best beans and then gone, ‘man, we better get something for people to sit on?’ That’s The Birds and The Beans.
Located at the top of Buderim Village in the old Vandy’s Garage – dating back to 1918, it was the first garage in Buderim – this cafe is a retro lovers paradise. Nothing matches, the old garage has been left largely intact – you can even have your latte out by the old petrol bowsers. And your coffee even comes with souvenir teaspoons – I knew I shouldn’t have donated all those old spoons when we moved.
Speaking of seats, you can chill out on one of the old couches and read a mag or catch up with friends, or settle in at one of the tables and get some work happening.
And for eating? This place is all about the coffee. You can buy a couple of toast-your-own slices of raisin toast for $2 a serve. They also usually have some crumpets and bagels on offer – if you’re early enough. The toaster is in the corner. Other than that there’s usually a few different slices or some cookies to choose from, sometimes some pastries. But really, you’re here for the coffee – or the retro vibe – but mainly the coffee
If pressed for a favourite, this would come out near the top. The black rice porridge with ginger syrup really should be tasted to be believed, and the avo smash is lifted with micro herbs, feta and radish. Just fabulous. I wrote about it here.
Winnie is named after the owner’s son, Winston. They also have Little Boat at Marcoola – which is named after her other son, Otus, or Oatey Boatie. Too cute. Speaking of which…
Little Boat Espresso, Marcoola
I haven’t blogged this place yet – I’ll need to go back to get some better photos. Now, there’s a good excuse if ever there was one.
Little Boat is open from 6.30 – 2.30 every day at 3 Lorraine Ave, Marcoola. They also open on Friday nights – but for drinks only. You bring your own food from the Marcoola Markets…such a cool idea.
Another place without an ocean view, your outlook here is green and serene. Coffee is taken so seriously they have their own blend, and the food is…well, just look at it. And there’s plenty to choose from if you’re vegetarian.
I nearly wasn’t going to include this place on my list given that they only open for breakfast from Thursday – Sunday. Even then they don’t open until 7am – relatively late on the Mooloolaba strip. That aside, I had to give them a spot even if it’s just for their baked eggs. They are really that good. Naturally, there are other things on the menu – other good and very yummy things – but I do love the baked eggs…and the view. On a sunny day watching the world stroll by and the surf across the road, there’s not many better places to be than on Mooloolaba’s Esplanade.
Update June 2018 – this cafe is now closed
Two Point Oh, Maroochydore
Somewhere else I haven’t blogged yet is this relatively new vegetarian cafe in the Kontiki Building in Maroochydore. Again, it’s because I want to go back and take more photos. Yes, really. Have you seen their Instagram page?
The only way I can describe the food is to say it’s innovative…or maybe progressive? Whatever word you use to describe it, it’s the type of vegetarian place that the non-vego can walk in and not notice that the bacon is missing.
The smoothie bowls have been lifted to a different dimension from the acai that you see on every street corner here on the coast, and the avo smash is turned upside down with smoked beetroot hummus, smashed peas, feta, rocket and avo.
Oh, and the decor is stunningly simple and beautiful.
Open for brunch Monday – Wednesday 7:30 – 4pm and Sunday 8 – 3pm and Dinner Thursday – Saturday 5pm-10pm
I’m here working so often you’d think I was their resident writer.
Again, I haven’t blogged it and I really need to. Anyways, Chances was the first of the major tenants in The Wharf redevelopment – I’ve told you about that when we talked about Rice Boi and Saltwater. Yes, it’s a bar and it’s open late and it has a fabulous vibe and food for that sort of thing, but for now, we’re talking about breakfast.
They have all the usuals, plenty of muffins, a DIY breakfast, a breakfast stack that defies gravity (that’s it in the pic below), and a smashed avo that I swear I must have every time I’m in. And you must try the savoury mince jaffles.
You’ll find Chances on Mooloolaba Wharf, opposite Sea-Life, Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba. It’s open most days from 7am, but check out their Facebook page for more info.
Mooloolaba Surf Club
Many of the surf clubs do a good value brekky, and they’re well worth seeking out – and not just because they usually have the best view on the beach. Our “local” Mooloolaba Surf Club does breakfast each morning from 7am and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better view.
Ok, there are plenty of places up and down the Esplanade.
Acai Brothers do, well, I’ll let you guess… Then there’s Quarterdeck – open for the early birds. They don’t have an avo smash as such, but they do sourdough with a smash on the side which is, unusually for places doing avo on the side, a good sized serve.
Dejavu, another early opener, is in the middle of the main foodie part of the Esplanade opposite the beach. At $20, their avo smash is mortgage-bustingly expensive, but also humungous and, therefore, good value – especially if you’ve worked up an appetite with an early morning walk/run or a swim…or all of the above. Their breakfast wraps are also pretty yum.
I’m sure that I read somewhere that Gainsbourg has changed hands relatively recently and are in the process of changing their menu. I’m hoping this benny with smoked trout and quinoa fritters makes the cut.
Do you have a favourite brekky spot on the Coast? If so, let me know…I’ll add it to my list.
Ok, let’s get one thing straight before we go any further – you don’t come to Jimmy’s for the beachside location or the outlook – the view is pretty much of the carpark and Nicklin Way. You come for the coffee and the food – and don’t even notice the carpark or Nicklin Way.
Still with me?
Jimmy’s has become our go-to place for brekky after the markets every Saturday morning. We’re addicted to the brekky sliders – at $5 each they’re fabulous value. With bacon, a perfectly cooked fried egg, tomato jam, cheddar and kewpie mayo – is it just me or does everything taste better with kewpie mayo? – they’re also seriously yummy. More importantly, they’re the perfect size for brekky when you know that you’ve got the makings of a hunger busting grazing platter in the market bags in the car.
It’s not just sliders though. We’ve also tried the breakfast wrap (bacon, egg, pesto, spinach, hash brown, onion jam, bbq sauce $8), the breakfast burger (the breakfast slider made large $10) and the breakfast tacos. You get two, and each one has triple smoked bacon, house beans, fried egg, sriracha, shaved parmesan and guacamole. It’s a lot of eating for $12. My tip? Buy one serve of these, and two brekky sliders and share.
New to the menu is this yellow curry poached chicken omelette ($16). My photo was crap – way too many shades of beige – so I’ve borrowed this one from @foodonthecoast via Instagram. I could have had an entire bowl with some roti to dip in that curry sauce.
Of course, there’s the usual eggs – benny, your way, with whatever – and it wouldn’t be a Sunshine Coast breakfast joint without an acai or pitaya bowl or a smashed avo – Jimmy’s avo is served with dukkah and kimchi.
And that’s just breakfast…Jimmy’s also does brunch/lunch – and holds a four-course dinner event monthly based on a single ingredient. When we go, I’ll tell you all about it.
The people who know about the weather are forecasting heat waves this weekend on the Sunshine Coast. For those of you who have had it up to here with Sydney’s summer temperatures and those disgusting 40+C days (I so don’t miss those), a heat wave here means that temperatures on Saturday and Sunday could get into the mid-thirties. Inland, of course, it will be warmer.
Where am I going with this? Somewhere a few degrees cooler and very green, that’s where.
There’s something about mottled sunlight through a green canopy that instantly cools you down, don’t you think? Or perhaps, it’s rainforest with a lake view that does it?
Whatever it is, Secrets on the Lake has just that – rainforest and lake – and it’s far enough out of town that you feel as though you’re discovering somewhere new.
Open for breakfast, lunch and morning and afternoon teas, it was Sunday lunch for us.
I’m having a bit of a thing about prawn cocktails at the moment – both as the classic dish and reimagined into a roll or a deconstructed salad, so I had the crab and prawn bruschetta ($18). It was light and tasty.
Hubby went for the BLT ($20)- and let me say there was some eating in that.
And Miss T chose (as we knew she would) the Atlantic Salmon, Crushed Potato and Dill, Green Beans, and Hollandaise ($26).
Light eats available below $20
Mains and burgers around the $24-$26ish range
207 Narrow Rd, Montville.
If you’re heading from Montville to Maleny, turn right just outside of Montville towards Lake Baroon and if you’re heading from Maleny to Montville, turn left just before Montville.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Nguyen Brothers is located in the Kin-Tiki Building at 55 Plaza Parade, Maroochydore.
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.
So, what did we have, aside from the dumplings, of course? here’s another view of them.
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.
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.
You’ll find Rice Boi on the Wharf at Mooloolaba, Parkyn Parade.
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.
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!