Our next door neighbours, Jan and David, joined us for lunch recently at 4th Floor restaurant in Mooloolaba. If you’re not from around these parts, it’s muh LOO la ba. I write this because my sister arrived and asked how far we were from moo loo LA ba. Australian pronunciation never met our high school English teacher.
We were late (as usual) and this time because Rob forgot his walking stick and John got down the street and said, “I’ve got the wrong glasses, I’ll never be able to see.” So back we went while he exchanged his computer glasses for his seeing glasses. Jan and David were waiting for us when we got there.
I was the only one in the group who’d been to this restaurant before and I’d really enjoyed the food. I was a bit apprehensive because it’s never fun selecting a restaurant for 5 people if anyone is disappointed.
Thankfully that wasn’t the case and everyone liked the food. The restaurant is as you might guess, on the 4th floor on the Esplanade at Mooloolaba with wall to wall windows facing the beach.
The venue is often used for wedding receptions and banquets (that’s how I’d been there before) so it’s a bit cavernous when you first arrive but we were seated by the window and enjoyed a beautiful view while we perused the menu. My father-in-law Rob announced that I’d brought my camera so everyone had to wait until photographs were done before eating. The life of a food blogger.
Our server was most attentive and knew instantly which wines were unavailable and when Rob questioned how spicy the cous cous was that went with the duck, she was on top of that too. I feel very confident when the server knows the food and isn’t merely an order taker. She was professional, prompt and courteous to every request.
We had their lunch special which is two courses for $35 or three courses for $45. We opted for an appetiser and a main each, figuring that if we were still hungry we could always order dessert.
I started with the smoked ham hock and port onion soup with a rye and seed mustard crouton which was much like French onion soup but with ham. The broth was complex, flavourful and steaming hot. At first I expected it to taste differently, more like French onion soup, but it was delicious.
John had the Coffin Bay oysters with red miso and nori and he was instantly pleased. I don’t know about you but I find the blue colour a bit off putting. He said they were wonderful and he didn’t care about the colour as he wasn’t going to eat the salt.
Both Jan and David had the garlic and chilli prawn hot pot and not a drop was left. It was nice to see it served in traditional metal hot pot dishes. There were five prawns in an aromatic broth served with rice. Without an appetiser I think a person would need dessert in order to leave full.
Rob loves duck of any sort so when he saw duck pate with toasted brioche and tomato and ginger chutney on the menu, that was as far as he looked. I tasted a bit and it was smooth and creamy.
I’m a slow eater and they were kind enough not to remove all the plates until I was finished and as soon as I was, they were ready with the main course. My choice was the braised chicken ballotine with de puy lentils and deep fried kale. It was the first kale that I’ve eaten without complaining so that’s a good thing! It was spelled ballontine on the menu but we’re not going to hold misspelling against them.
David asked our server what the reef fish was in the reef fish meuniere on the menu and it turned out to be not a reef fish at all but a beautiful barrimundi served with quinoa risotto and wilted kale. The fish was firm but tender and partnered well with the kale and risotto.
Guess what Rob had? Yes, duck. He’s quite predictable when duck is on the menu. He had the duck confit with star anise and preserved lemon and spiced cous cous on the side. The cous cous was on the side because Rob doesn’t do spicy very well. It was spicy but not much heat so he was happy.
Both Jan and John had 1/2 kilo of steamed Spring Bay mussels with saffron tomato chilli and basmati rice and they both cleaned their plates. By the time the last fork was placed neatly on the plate, we were stuffed and very happy with the choice of restaurant. We all agreed we’d go back again.
Our only recommendation was that they put some photos downstairs because the only thing down there is the menu and we thought they’d benefit by letting people know what a fantastic view folks would have during lunch or early dinner.
Do you enjoy dining out with your next door neighbours as much as we do ours?