Rick Shores brings a warm tropical breeze to Gold Coast dining.
Opened by the owners of LONgTIME, Brisbane, Rick Shores occupies one of the most revered spots on the coast, the ground floor level of the iconic Burleigh Pavilions, seaside dining at its best.
Today, the sea is calm. We enter the restaurant down the same few stairs that take us to the beach, past tables and chairs on the sand-swept foreshore, to enter the restaurant so close to the dunes that mornings begin by sweeping out the sand before trade begins. But it’s a small price to pay for the view.
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. Inside on the lower levels, white sand blends into white walls, with simple wood tables and Bentwood chairs in the foreground.
As we turn towards the ocean, 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.
Seated on the middle level, we order from the menu, its single page of offerings divided into Bar Snacks, Raw, Cooked Over Coal, Meats & Curries, Rice & Salads, and Desserts. We decide on a menu meander of our own choosing, though there’s so much of interest that it’s tempting to take the ‘Feed Me’ option of a table banquet, $65pp for lunch and $75 for dinner.
2018 saw a change of chef for Rick Shores, with acclaimed British chef (and GC resident) James Brady taking the helm, barely without a falter. Under his keen eye for detail, Rick Shores’ menu has undergone renewal while maintaining its hold of wine and dining awards including 1 Hat for both wine and food in the Good Food Guide 2018/2019, and being listed in the Top 100 for the Australian Financial review, Gourmet Traveller and Delicious magazines. We’re particularly interested to see how Brady’s recent trip to SE Asia (Seoul in South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam – from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City) translates into the new menu.
So our journey begins. Our smaller dishes arrive as starters: Brady’s version of the unmissable dish enjoyed by movie stars at Rick Shores, Rick’s fried bug roll – a small toasted brioche harbouring a delicate tempura bug dressed with kaffir lime and lemongrass with sirachia mayo and gem lettuce, followed by a delicate Kingfish Sashimi topped with fresh coconut shards, black sesame mayo, shallot and ginger with a dressing of fresh lime and jalapeno pieces. They’re contrasting styles and flavour palates, equally as intriguing.
Larger dishes follow to be shared: Victorian 9+ marble score charred wagyu cooked on the hibachi grill, the richness of wagyu earthy and buttery with its glaze of miso hollandaise, served with crispy charred kale and shiso leaves, the oppositional flavours a delight;
Butterflied pan-fried local snapper in an XO sauce, deboned at the table by our waiter, Shane. The fish is served with crispy garlic, ginger and onion with fresh coriander;
Grilled octopus, cooked 6-hour sous vide, is served with a Thai ‘Som Tum’ watermelon, snake bean and peanut salad dressed with a lime and sweet chilli sauce – a fresh, bright and tangy array of colour and flavour.
It’s as though, under Chef James Brady’s helm, Rick Shores has taken on an identity of its own, drawing from a wider range of cuisines, including Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Sichuan as well as retaining some of its original Thai-inspired ‘LONgTIME’ flavours, such as their tasty house-made smoked tomato jaewl and smoked sriracha.
Picking up ingredients from across the archipelago to enhance local seafood and premium Australian meat, there’s a range of interesting combinations in each dish and, best of all, the element of surprise which is too often lacking. The combinations are cheeky, straddling nations whose destinies have been intertwined through history: Confit potatoes accompanied by red kimchi and wakame, or Roasted cauliflower with pepita satay and cauliflower leaf kimchi. Like our children, who are a part of us and yet mostly themselves, we get hints of characteristics (or flavours) that we recognise, yet each dish is its own intriguing entity.
The food is matched by a wine list including many hard to get wines available by the glass or more fittingly, craft beers and a worthy cocktail list.
Rick Shores led the way in addressing the longstanding gap in modern Asian-influenced modern cuisine on the coast, with many other venues later following suit. 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 [email protected] or phone (07) 5630 6611