Noosa’s best foodie spots
A feast for the senses on the Sunshine Coast.
It’s a glorious day and Sunshine Beach is earning its name. The surf life-saving club is packed, but we’ve secured a patch of lawn for the perfect holiday lunch of plump Mooloolaba prawns with a cold ale. It’s a quintessential Sunshine Coast experience – sea in front, hinterland behind and food as fresh as it gets.
A memorable foodie moment awaits every visitor to the Sunshine Coast. From the boutique to the barefoot, here’s a sample of the coast’s gastronomic discoveries.
The melting pot
The creme de la creme of Noosa’s vibrant dining scene is Wasabi. Overlooking Noosa River, it has an omakase set menu (in which dishes are specially selected by the chef) that features rare Japanese ingredients from the restaurant’s Honeysuckle Hill Farm in nearby Pomona. Next door to Wasabi, The Cooking School Noosa provides a lasting souvenir with classes run by Wasabi and guest chefs.
On ever-busy Hastings Street, celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita helms Noosa Beach House. The breezy venue offers prime people-watching, the ideal accompaniment for Kuruvita’s Sri Lankan-inspired cooking – think black-pepper Moreton Bay bugs and sambal-laced Gympie beans.
Away from the Hasting Street tourist throng, Sunshine Beach’s restaurants are packed with locals. For excellent yum cha made with regional produce ascend the stairs to elegant Embassy XO, or head to playful Sum Yung Guys for house cocktails and modern Asian dishes with lashes of spice.
The Sunny Coast’s fine weather and finer food demands a fitting thirst quencher. Thankfully, the coastal craft-beer scene is booming.
Craft Beer Tours’ ’beer guy‘ Josh Donohoe has seen around a dozen breweries open in recent years. “The Sunshine Coast offers a craft beer trail that is definitely worth exploring,” Josh says. “Our tours take in breweries on the coast, hinterland and Noosa regions, with each brewery having its own unique style and flavours.”
Among local hop-stars is Brouhaha Brewery, which combines paddock-to-plate dining with refreshing ales in the hinterland town of Maleny. Another inland beaut is Eumundi Brewery, in the town’s century-old Imperial Hotel. And at Moffat Beach Brewing, south of Mooloolaba, Matt and Shaz Wilson pour tank-fresh brews metres from the sand and surf.
Hitting the hinterland
It’s hard to prise yourself from those sea vistas, but the hinterland rewards the effort. Tucked among tropical gardens in Yandina, Spirit House is one of Queensland’s most beloved dining destinations. Since 1995, the restaurant and cooking school has worked with local farms and fisheries to deliver Thai-inspired fine dining.
“Spirit House was created to give people the ultimate Asian food experience, one which will excite all the senses,” says manager Jessica Da Costa. “Although we have grown into a large business, I think the fact that we are still a family business at heart is a huge part of why the Spirit House continues to be so successful.”
In Maleny, The Tamarind at Spicers Retreat also crafts innovative Asian cuisine in verdant surrounds. A short drive away at Montville’s plush Spicers Clovelly Estate, The Long Apron offers acclaimed European menus on a terrace shaded by jacaranda trees. From a jaw-dropping Montville property, Flame Hill Vineyard waves the flag for Queensland wine and uses its own working farm for its fine-dining fare.
Spirit House restaurant. Image supplied by Spirit House.
To prepare your own hinterland feast, head for the hills. Cheese fiends should roll on in to Maleny, where Maleny Cheese and Maleny Food Co offer a fromage smorgasbord, and Maleny Dairies runs daily farm tours. In season, berry lovers can pick their own at Gympie’s Cooloola Berries, McMartin’s Farm in Bli Bli near the Maroochy Wetland Sanctuary, or at Strawberry Fields, near Mooloolah River National Park.
Of the coast’s many markets, Eumundi Markets rules the roost. Running since 1979, it attracts more than a million visitors annually with stalls peddling handcrafted creations and gourmet goodies. “We have such a diverse range of food options on market days; it really is an experience in itself,” says marketing manager Amanda Lamont. Eumundi Markets, she explains, showcases the Sunshine Coast’s riches.
“Our driving ethos is definitely us being an incubator for local creatives and using our history and reputation to showcase them to the world.” Come with an appetite and car boot ready for stocking.