The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for our visit to Caloundra for lunch at Tides Waterfront Restaurant with friends Jan and David. We love getting out for a (very) long lunch every few weeks and we have the best time – every time. It’s wonderful to spend time with people who love and respect each other as well as both of them being intelligent and fun. Isn’t that a lovely smile?
We arrived and parked at the beach and walked across the road and down the street to the restaurant. It’s upstairs but if you walk up Minchinton Street, it’s at street level and looks directly across to the beach and Pumicestone Passage. Turn a bit and we could see the Glasshouse Mountains and turn back and we could see the Pacific Ocean.
The interior is crisp and contemporary and we were pleased to be seated right next to the windows so we could enjoy the view while we caught up with who’s doing what. Tides has seats for 75 diners, leaving us plenty of room to be ourselves. I would have taken more photos inside but I won’t invade the privacy of other diners.
We hadn’t been seated long before being offered water and drinks and once we placed our order, food was on the table. You know they’re doing a good job when nobody says, “How long have we been waiting?” None of that here.
We opted for the 2 course meal for $37.50 each. There’s a 3 course meal for $50 but none of us thought we could hold that much food at noon and still accomplish something later on.
Jan ordered the confit duck leg that came with braised cannellini beans, chorizo and herbs. I watched her pull apart that slowly cooked duck and for a moment wondered if I had chosen the wrong thing.
David ordered the Mooloolaba prawns which were sauteed with chorizo and served with a panzanella salad. Mooloolaba is the city nearby and there are lots of prawn trawlers around. The local prawns were well cooked and when paired with the spicy chorizo, David thought the flavours were well matched.
As you know, I have trouble with seafood and fish so I ordered the rump steak. I gave it two thumbs up for flavour but it was tough and difficult to chew. I wonder why a restaurant with an Australian Good Food and Wine hat would choose to serve a tough piece of meat. I know it’s not just me because when I ordered it, our server said it was difficult to cook it more rare because it was a tougher cut of meat. (That should have told me something.)
My steak came topped wonderful sauce of porcini mushrooms, bacon and finely chopped vegetables as well as sliced and roasted kipfler potatoes. All the flavours worked for me and I would have been in heaven with a more tender piece of meat.
A meal is always better when you add a few sides so we had the green beans with bacon and parmesan butter and we ordered roasted kipler potatoes with thyme salt too.
We decided on a bottle of Hazard Hill Sauvignon Blanc Semillon wine and we found it fresh and fruity and very drinkable. It’s not an expensive wine – more of an enjoy it now and don’t think about it again wine. The tasting notes say musky aromas of ginger, quinine and lemon zest with a smoky overtone but to me it tasted like wine.
As we finished up the wine, our server came by with the dessert menus and within minutes we were tucking in to our sweets. First was the apple and rhubarb crumble with chantilly cream – with visible vanilla seeds. The crumble was tart and tangy and perfect to finish up a meal.
The winner of the desserts with this quenelle of Belgium chocolate mousse that was creamy and light as a feather. Along side the mousse was a square of fudgy chocolate that had been showered with freeze dried, powdered white chocolate and topped with a toasted marshmallow. There was also chocolate shards, hazelnut cream and pistachio powder that pushed this dessert to the top in both taste and presentation.
Finally we enjoyed the cheese plate of triple brie, crackers, fruit and quince paste. If cheese is on the menu, that’s always a favourite.
Our hats are off to chef Anthony Shone, the New Zealand born chef who has created a lovely menu. We’ll be back.
This meal was independently paid for.