I'm a Sunshine Coast journalist who jumped out of a lengthy mainstream media career 18 months ago to do some hearty work for the soul. A pescatarian sharing with you her secrets on our little piece of coast paradise.
FOR the last two years I've been trying to break the 10 minute barrier of my own personal Easter challenge. Peel, de-vein and eat a kilogram of prawns.. Impossible you say? I beg to differ. Every year my husband - who hates seafood - sits with timer in hand and watches the entire episode from start to finish (albeit aghast and increasingly sickened as I get closer and closer to beating my 10 minute nemesis). I've tried many-a-monger on the coast to get my prawns and only in the last year have I discovered a fishmonger that has everything I look for in a fresh seafood shop – quality produce, great price, and you can get in and out in five minutes. Yep, even on Good Friday. Impossible you say? I beg to differ.
And as I began thinking about sharing this little gem of knowledge I began recalling the single same request we get from my friends and family who come to stay on the Sunshine Coast. Where do you get the best seafood? With no favour or prejudice, I present to you my top five seafood sites – hot/cold, eat in/takeaway, or take to cook at home. Let the countdown begin....
I discovered this popular steak and seafood restaurant on a movie date night with hubby recently. We are a difficult dining partnership. I don't eat meat except occasionally for fish and crustaceans. Hubby, on-the-other-hand, lives and breathes red meat. Seriously - it's never a question of what he is going to have for dinner. It's the cut from the cow that is usually the only option up for debate. It's no easy feat then, to find a restaurant that can do both fish and meat justice: equally. At Aussie Catch, we found the best of both worlds. He, with a steak the size of his head and me with my perfectly grilled barrumundi. Throw in the bar, the casual dress code and the hustle and bustle of the Sunshine Plaza river walk and you've got a recipe for low-key perfection. NB - Don't forget the public holiday surcharge if dining at restaurants on these days. Thankfully the Beach House had both signs and staff pointing out the special restrictions but it's not the case with all restaurants. Be sure to ask. Shop 92 The Riverwalk, Sunshine Plaza, Horton Pde, MAROOCHYDORE.
THE food is good and the natural oysters divine, but it's the additional extras that see this little piece of waterfront wonder make the list. Sitting on the veranda overlooking Maroochy River, you can sit back, relax and let the week's stress just roll away. Free entertainment includes trivia and karaoke, the sports bar, children's playground, pokie room or even just enjoying the spectacular views – there is something here for the entire family. And better still – you can even drive your boat right up to the front...erm...side veranda door.
A courtesy bus is available to pick you up and take you home by booking from Thursday to Sunday, but if you're enjoying yourself that much you can even stay the night. A favourite for taking the family out to tea. Located 46 David Low Way, Diddillibah near Bli Bli
YES I know - I'm throwing you head long into the chaos that you should always try to avoid (Stay tuned for my advice re: that). But there are two places you must visit when searching for your seafood. The first is Aussie Catch Seafoods
Desperately walking the Sunshine Coast streets looking for a seafood restaurant still open at 8pm, we found Aussie Catch.
Families and friends were still casually enjoying their aromatic meals both inside and outside at 8pm, while their peers had long since closed their doors and left until the morning.
Prices of fresh seafood are very impressive, and when you add on top of this delicious, incredibly well-priced hot food like my fish burger can be made in minutes. Aussie Catch Seafoods The Spit, Parkyn Pde, MOOLOOLABA.
THIS is the place where you can order and sit and enjoy every seafood delicacy you could possibly want – hot or cold at breakfast lunch or dinner. You can eat-in or takeaway AND enjoy a few alcoholic beverages. The mud crabs will make you gasp, the diversity of fish impress, and the free watermelon can't help but put a smile on the face of the young and young-at-heart who remember the good ol' days.
My husband and I used to do "date night" here every Friday night, where we can let the stresses of our week melt away with an alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverage of choice in anticipation of a well-deserved weekend. With little-to-no-dress code you can settle back in your finery or let the cool air provide some relief to your swimsuit-clad skin. There's even rooftop dining.
Part of the appeal is that during the summer time, the sand and surf of Mooloolaba Beach is just 50 metres across the road so you can pick up your dinner and enjoy it watching the sun go down and the sprinkling of lights start to appear in Alexandra Headland. Located 21 Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba.
WORD of mouth is the greatest way to build a reputation and a small mobile local fishmonger Michael Moss's mobile seafood market "Wild Caught Seafoods" is getting rave reviews and taking a good quality share of the market from its typically larger and more formidable Sunshine Coast counterparts. Particularly on days like Good Friday. If there's one thing I want almost as much as fresh straight-off-the-boat seafood, it's not having to wait for it. And for anyone who has braved the Mooloolaba Spit at this time of year, knows to pack a chair, strong coffee and a good book for the journey.
Michael and his small but super-capable team of three can get you in and on the road again with the tastiest ocean buffet on offer in a matter of minutes. But the pearl in this oyster, is Michael's exceptional knowledge of the variety of fish and crustaceans he sells. He is more than happy to talk you through the perfect piece of fish for that curry, BBQ or oven baked recipe you are fixing to impress - even giving you the finer points on cooking instructions! All without having to give two hoots about an impatient queue breathing down your neck.
Wild Caught Seafood's mobile buffet is on David Low Way opposite Edgewater Retirement Village on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. They can also be found on Saturdays' at Yandina Markets and Sunday at the Fishermans Rd Markets.
Opp Edgewater Retirement Village, 171 David Low Way Bli Bli.
So surround yourself with love, family and good quality seafood this Easter. If I've missed somewhere you think is pretty special, let me know. And I'll keep you posted on the next 10 minute barrier attempt.