Recently, John and I and our friends David and Jan were invited to dine at the Noosa Beach House on Hastings Street by SPG Restaurants and Bars as a part of their Savour and Save campaign to boost awareness of their restaurants. I’d driven by the restaurant on Hastings Street but hadn’t been for in dinner.
John and I were members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program and years ago stayed often enough in Starwood hotels to stay at the posh Prince de Galles Hotel on Avenue Georges V in Paris – on points! When we were invited to Peter Kuruvita’s restaurant at the Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa, our past experience with the Starwood hotel group predicted a great evening.
The decor is modern and very beach house with timber ceilings painted white, an open kitchen and all the furnishings are in light colours. Outside the back there’s even an herb garden complete with kaffir lime tree. Each table is simply lit by a beautiful egg-shaped lamp that gives just enough light to see the food.
Our server was Finn who went out of his way to make us feel welcome and appreciated. He was the sort of server you always want to have because if you wanted to ask him a question, he was never far away but if you wanted to talk and laugh, he didn’t bother us.
Finn went through the menu item by item and explained the fresh ingredients, where they were sourced and how each dish was prepared. Isn’t it great to be served by someone who knows the menu. I’ve heard too many times, “Let me go ask the chef,” not to be really pleased when someone knows the answers. It shows that the staff is well trained. I learned later that the restaurant has a monthly tasting for the staff where they present a new dish or make a change to a dish or leave an ingredient out just to see if the staff can tell. Finn says when you know the menu well, you can tell.
After way too much talking, we made our menu selections after Finn answered more questions, going into detail about each choice. Jan has to steer clear of gluten and that was no problem. The chef adjusted the dishes she chose. With our starters we were served thick, crusty bread with the most flavourful Italian olive oil. John ate his bread and half of mine.
I chose the rare seared veal with caramelized shallots, green apple, gelatin cubes and parmesan foam. It was for me, the perfect combination of flavour, texture and presentation. The veal melted in my mouth and a fork with a bit of every element on the dish left me with a sweet aftertaste. Before you tell me that foam is overdone, it gives this dish a lightness that was delightful.
John’s Hervey Bay juicy seared scallops were elegantly presented with salad, mushroom and sea herbs and he said it was really good but I’m sure they couldn’t surpass my veal. He did comment that he would have preferred a plate over a bowl for this dish.
David had the goats cheese croquette with nashi pear, walnut and shaved baby radish. It was a beautiful dish to look at but he felt it was missing something. Jan ordered the ocean trout which was prepared gluten free and it was gently cooked sous vide. The ocean trout was served with coconut sambal, black rice, trout crackling and tamarind. She couldn’t fault the dish.
We were given some time to chat with David and Jan about their daughter’s upcoming wedding and to toast John on his early birthday celebration. When the main dishes arrived, Finn quickly explained each dish as I hurriedly photographed so nobody would eat a cold meal.
Jan chose Mooloolaba Prawns and the dish normally comes with a Sri Lankan vegetable kottu (crispy vegetables and chopped roti bread), roasted coconut, peanuts and betel leaf. Because Jan must stay away from gluten, the chef left the bread out of the kottu and she didn’t miss it. The prawns were fat and juicy and had quite a spice kick.
The combination of tajima wagyu sirloin (score 6) and smoked potato, beetroot puree and slow cooked short rib left John smacking his lips. The meat was cooked sous vide at 62C for 20 minutes and was fork tender and full of beefy flavour. Tajima is a bloodline of wagyu beef from Kobe, Japan but raised in Australia.
The spiced duck with oat crumble, medjool dates, dehydrated grapes and cavalo nero was an exquisite combination of flavours. I took one bite and the sweetness of the date combined with the richness of the duck added to the texture of the oats was delightful.
David’s reef fish (mullaway or sea bass) was seasoned and flash fried to give it a very crisp crust on top with a buttery tender, meltingly soft bottom. It was served with a sweet corn puree, a Gympie red claw yabby and a subtle shellfish bisque was served on the side. Finn carefully poured the bisque to ensure all the elements of the dish were showing.
We all agreed that Peter Kuruvita has created a menu with single-minded dedication to deliciousness. The ingredients were top quality, reflecting Peter’s Sri Lankan heritage and his love for food from everywhere.
As we were perusing the dessert menu and deciding whether we had room or did we need to share desserts, Finn arrived with a big smile. He said that Chef de Cuisine, and top tong wrangler, Woody Theuerl had been advised about John’s upcoming birthday and dessert had been taken care of. It was a lovely surprise. John leaned forward and whispered, “They’re NOT going to sing, right?”
What arrived was a work of culinary art. It was gluten free, chocolate and had the texture of a rich, firm brownie. The cake was wrapped in chocolate and topped with raspberries. We were all quite full but we enjoyed that cake.
The evening ended with a quiet chat over the last of the wine and as we said good-bye, I complimented the chef and his staff for creating good food with extraordinary flavour that resulted in a lovely dining experience for each of us.
As we left they gave me a gift of wonderful ingredients so I wouldn’t forget them. We won’t soon forget John’s birthday celebration. Our gratitude to the SPG Restaurants who sponsored our dinner and who sent me Peter Kuruvita’s cookbook along with other goodies.
Peter Kuruvita’s Noosa Beach House Restaurant
16 Hastings Street
Noosa Heads, Queensland
07 5449 4754
This post was sponsored by SPG Savour and Save campaign where for a short time you can save up to 25% off at 23 select restaurants in Australia, Fiji and New Caledonia. If you’re not an SPG member, you can sign up for free at the restaurant. What could be simpler and honestly 25% is a huge saving. For more information, visit http://www.spgrestaurantsandbars.com/savourandsave.