Saltwater

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?

Nguyen Brothers

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, Mooloolaba

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.