Rick Shores

Like a waft of warm tropical air, Rick Shores has hit the Gold Coast.

It’s a bold move by the owners of LONgTIME, Fortitude Valley, to choose one of the most revered spots on the coast, the ground floor level of the iconic Burleigh Pavilions, albeit at a price. (Live long enough on the coast, and you’ll know that every so often the ocean demands a sacrifice.)

Rick Shores 5BToday, the sea is calm. We enter the restaurant down the same few stairs that take us to the beach, past two cane tables on the sand-swept foreshore, to stand with sandy feet at the restaurant’s reception desk. Dining before noon, we’re walk ins, no problem scoring a seat.

Rick Shores’ proximity to the beach brings group dining almost onto the dunes, so much so that some mornings begin by sweeping out the sand before trade begins. But it’s a small price to pay for the view.

Rick Shores 4BLaid out on three levels, the restaurant cascades downwards from the open kitchen and white wood-clad bar at the back of the venue, to two levels of dining below. The upper levels are ‘lingering’ territory where you can lounge on Chesterfield sofas, placing your glass on steamer trunk coffee tables strewn with vintage books and the odd caged parrot or two. No sexy LONgTIME connotations here! With a pair of traveller’s palms standing guard beside the bar, there’s a distinguished sense of colonial East India or Singapore, the sort of sedate and relaxed expat lounge where one could indulge in many gin slings and Camparis at dusk, tossing peanuts onto the floor.

Rick Shores 3BWe turn towards the ocean to find our seats, and the colours of the tropics take over. The restaurant opens out fan-like, pointing through floor to ceiling glass to the view, the main focal point of the restaurant. Set on an aqua blue tableau of a Caribbean summer and brilliant white shores, the vista is dotted with people, surfing, lying, playing, talking; a microcosm of life unfolding before our eyes.

Inside on the lower levels, white sand blends into white walls, with simple wood tables and Bentwood chairs in the foreground.

Rick Shores 9BSeated on the middle level (no chance for couples to sit close to the surf, we’re told), we order from the lunch menu, its single page of offerings divided into Bar Snacks, Raw Bar, Big, Other and Rickflurries (vanilla soft serve with toppings). With two lunch options unavailable, we’re left with a choice of only five larger-sized dishes, one of them a 500g wagyu rump cap ($70).

Rick Shores 8BSo our journey begins. Our bar snacks arrive; three delicate street food style dishes which we share: a delicate Betel leaf topped with a tiny square of fried tofu and an intense smoked tomato jaewl; a small BBQ roasted duck bao, dressed with the sweet tang of plum and cucumber; and Rick’s fried bug roll, hot and sour, served with slaw. They’re tasty and intense, a couple being guides to the flavours of dishes to come.

Rick Shores 10BWe order two larger dishes we share, the Crispy soft shell crab topping a plate of green apple and pickled papaya salad laced with kim chi, mint and kewpie, and the stunning Egg net salad.

Rick Shores 11BAs it turns out, the Egg net salad is the star – a visual feast of a dish sporting pieces of pork combined with smoky grilled cuttlefish tossed through Vietnamese mint strewn green mango with nahm jim (and kewpie again, we’d guess). It’s a balanced dish, unlike the Papaya salad which carries interesting flavours and textures but lacks palm sugar to balance the marked acidity of the salad.

Checking the dinner menu later, it’s a similar styled menu to LONgTIME’s, with common elements swapped around between dishes: soft shell crab or bugs with apple slaw, taco with eggplant (miso or five spiced), Thai tuna tartare in a taco or as a salad. Plates are brimming with flavours we commonly use, such as mint, Thai basil, turmeric, coconut and chilli combining with the exotics – kaffir lime, banana flower, black garlic, green mango and pawpaw, as well as house made smoked tomato jaewl and smoked sriracha.

Rick Shores 7BThough the lunch menu is rather too concise, (many dishes a short grab of lighter dishes from the dinner menu), there’s no doubting the culinary skills of Executive Chef Ben Bertei (ex-Longrain and The Spirit House) and Head Chef Jake Pregnell (ex-Golden Fields and Corbins Kitchen). Picking up ingredients from across the archipelago, there’s a range of flavours, interesting combinations and, best of all, the element of surprise which is too often lacking. The food is matched by a wine list including many hard to get wines available by the glass or more fittingly, craft beers or a worthy cocktail list.

Rick Shores 13BIf we consider lunch as a taster to experience Rick Shores’ daytime persona, we’re enticed to meet her on dusk, when the cocktails are flowing, the menu expanded to achieve more pungent umami flavours, so we can try richer ‘bowl food’ with the same exotic combinations we tasted in our bar snacks.

Certainly, Rick Shores goes some way towards addressing the yawning gap in Asian-influenced modern cuisine on the coast. What’s more, it’s a top iconic spot to spend some time. So, grab a group of friends and share some extraordinary flavours. It will be like discovering your fifth sense of taste.

Shop 3, 43 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads Ph: 07 5630 6611
Open: Tues – Sun 12noon – late; Lunch 12noon – 3pm, Dinner 5.30pm – late

NOTE: Bookings can be made by email seatme@rickshores.com.au or phone (07) 5630 6611 We advise that you read the booking instructions on Rick Shores’ website before dining.

This review has also been published on More Gold Coast.

Rick Shores Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Asian Atmosphere Burleigh Heads Cuisine Dinner Licensed Lunch Main course $15 to $25 Main course $25 to $40 Seafood Share plates Thai Tourist attraction , , , , , , ,

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