We may live in paradise, nevertheless there are times when you need to get away. Perhaps the phone rings too much, you long for time with your partner, or maybe you just want a change of scenery.
The Sunshine Coast can offer those experiences. With luxe accommodation and top-level dining, you can choose your experiences to fit your needs.
Taking a break from our usual accommodation along Noosa River, for this break we stayed near Mooloolaba, eager to catch up on changes in the area.
Riba Kai 1/14 Newspaper Place, Maroochydore Ph: 07 5443 9067
Having moved from their old location in Sunshine Plaza, Riba Kai is tucked away in The Concept beside Vincenza Coffee’s onsite roastery, boardroom and barista training school. Although the area is industrial, the location of the café is conveniently placed across the road from the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper, and there’s ready patronage dribbling through for coffee.
We enjoyed breakfasts of Shroom delight and Pesto scrambled eggs seated in landscaped gardens, divided from their surroundings by gorgeous iron panels, making an ambient spot to relax away from a fast-paced life.
Rice Boi 123 Parkyn Pde., Mooloolaba Ph: 07 5444 1297
Mooloolaba prawns are well-known throughout the south-east corner, Mooloolaba Wharf the place where many people come to eat them. Change is in the air for the precinct however, despite it being a top spot overlooking the Mooloolah River, when we visit it’s still very much a work in progress.
And so is Rice Boi. We’d been drawn there by their online menu, however 15 months after opening the street culture elements are a little too evident. Yes, the Asian street food is really tasty and super-affordable, but with ‘Love You Longtime’ soaking up the airspace and cartons of booze piled up against walls, we felt a little constrained by the cage walls and overall grunge.
It’s a bit like the vibe of siesta time in an Asian city and almost as messy. We can only imagine the decibels when the venue is pumping, however we loved the duck bao we shared as afternoon tea.
Spice Bar 123 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba 07 5444 2022
Owned by Aaron and Kym-Sarah Ruttan, Spice Bar is now in its third reincarnation, and we feel that this one will stay for some time. From the outset, this hatted venue oozes class in its luxe red banquettes lining the walls, bamboo steamer-clad lighting and gorgeous tableware overlooking the ocean. We look across to the huge open kitchen to see seven staff busily working – the mark of labour-intensive handmade food in the making!
The food is exceptional, showing off local seafood, meat and produce. We’ve chosen our own degustation, choosing to keep eating until we are satiated, however three degustation menus are on offer starting from $59pp, all of which would be great choices.
We start with a couple of small plates: Mooloolaba prawns with crunchy water chestnut and hoisin served up on a betel nut leaf, followed by Hervey Bay scallops topped with a beret of moreish soy ginger sabayon, a dish that we’d return for in a heartbeat!
Palates piqued, we progress to larger tastes: the clean flavours of Beef tataki with daikon, pickled cucumber and wasabi, contrasting with Sticky lamb and slightly crunchy seasonal greens, handmade Pork wontons in a rich peanut chilli sauce.
Our final dish of house BBQ duck in a honey, ginger and lemon sauce with bean sprouts takes the final edge off our hunger. It’s one of the most creative meals we’ve enjoyed in some time, showing a fine eye for subtle flavours and combinations and, like the venue itself, nothing is overdone.
How do we know when a restaurant is exceptional? When we think of planning our next ‘staycation’ to include it! That’s Spice Bar. How soon can we fit in a return visit, we wonder.