A flair for creativity and a passion for local produce are at the heart of one of Noosa’s favourite dining spots.
Behind the scenes, an ecosystem of moving parts work seamlessly together, drawing on the talents of the team and the abundance of freshly sourced ingredients.
And the result is an exciting curation of mouth-watering dishes and a truly memorable dining experience.
Before we go much further, we need to address the jaw-dropping location of the Noosa Boathouse.
The floating restaurant has become a Noosa icon over the years, with its restaurant, function space, rooftop bar, Little Boaty takeaway coffee and fish and chip window offering something for everyone.
Set across three storeys with a fresh nautical theme, the restaurant gives the illusion that you are dining on a moored boat. As you cross the boardwalk and walk through to the restaurant, you are immediately hit with an incomparable view of the Noosa River. The restaurant is located on the lower level.
This spring you will discover a menu brimming with delicious dishes showcasing some of the freshest produce from around the region.
Heading the kitchen for nearly 10 years now, head chef Shane Bailey has a passion for his craft.
He loves what he does, what his team achieves, the local suppliers he collaborates with and the fulfilment of producing “simple food done right” that diners keep coming back for.
Formally trained in Italian cuisine and with a background in fine dining, Shane has adapted his cooking style over the past decade to bring a modern Australian flavour to the Boathouse, letting his creativity run wild.
“With our cooking, with Australian, there are no real rules,” he says. “My cooking is relaxed. There are no boundaries. It’s all about the produce, what is around and what’s in season.
“We are pretty in touch with the surroundings. I like to go fishing so I know about the moons and what fish are biting.”
Some of Shane’s recent spring creations showcase ingredients including everybody’s favourite Mooloolaba king prawns, locally caught tuna and crab, fresh Doonan-grown tomatoes, native finger limes and an exciting and unusual ingredient – ice plant.
It is ingredients like this that inspire his new creations – many which end up on the menu as daily specials.
One such dish is the marriage of Rockliff spanner crab, Noosa Reds heirloom tomato, watermelon, ice plant and mint salad. The light, sweet crab flesh is beautifully paired with the fresh watermelon and juicy tomatoes.
But the star contrast is the unique ice plant. With a
sweet and salty flavour, it bounces around the mouth adding a surprising flavour and texture to complement the rest of the dish.
Ice plant is a green succulent that grows year-round, producing huge, juicy leaves in spring. The glistening bubbles of salty surprise are found on the underside of the leaves and stems.
Another spring-inspired dish is the yellowfin tuna sashimi. It features native sea vegetables but has a Thai twist with the addition of crying tiger sauce.
“Crying tiger is usually done with beef, but because [the sauce has] got the roasted rice in it, texture-wise, the tuna is quite soft, but then you get a bit of crunch and texture from it,” Shane says.
Other seasonal dishes include the Mooloolaba king prawns with green pawpaw hot and sour salad and toasted peanuts, plus freshly shucked Coffin Bay oysters, with finger lime, dill and Queensland chardonnay vinegar.
Shane says he has a network of local producers and suppliers whose abundance of quality ingredients feature across the menu.
In addition to using the Noosa Reds tomatoes, he chooses to use macadamia nuts from Yandina, seafood from Rockliff Seafoods at Mooloolaba, eggs from Sandy Creek Gympie and mushrooms from Kin Kin.
Other locally grown produce includes figs, ginger, chilli and finger limes.
“We are all very produce driven,” Shane says. “We go through lots of seafood. We go through lots of everything.
“Because of the climate and soil, you can pretty much grow everything here and we love that.”
Shane says he is constantly inspired by his team, drawing on their own areas of skills to make the most of each and every ingredient.
“It’s a hype of activity and creativity always, every day,” he says. “It is something that has a thousand moving parts.
“Our team includes a professional butcher, fisherman and pastry chef.
“My wife Lucinda, who is our pastry chef is also a very good cook and I get a lot of inspiration from her. She does Asian food very well.”
This all translates when reading the menu. There really is something for everyone. It’s no wonder Noosa Boathouse is a favourite for locals and visitors.
No matter what time of day you go, whether for a seated dining experience, takeaway fish and chips or a sunset drink, Noosa Boathouse will not disappoint.