When I told people I was going to Noosa, everyone and I literally mean everyone who had been told me we had to try Ricky’s. Some told me it was great with children. Some told me about the food or the ambience or the fact that next to the restaurant was a little playground for the kids…. The list goes on. Anyway, this made me a little wary of going there. A family friendly fine dining restaurant? I didn’t even know what to expect. Let me tell you, I was most pleasantly surprised and if you go there, you will be too!
There was five of us there so from a food bloggers perspective meant lots of dishes and lots of pictures!! We ordered a combination of tapas, starters, mains and desserts. They have a great kids menu too and they treated my child and treated her like the princess that she is. Well done Ricky’s!
Fois Gras Parfait, Toasted Brioche, Black Sherry Vinegar
This was lovely. The Parfait was very smooth, almost like Panna Cotta in consistency and the black sherry vinegar added flavour and cut the richness of the fois gras well. The parfait itself was a little sweet and very rich and as already stated very smooth and velvety in texture. The brioche was fine and an appropriate choice of bread to accompany the parfait adding textural crunch to the proceedings!
Freshly Shucked Coffin Bay Oysters with Nam Jim Sorbet
Great to see South Aussie produce again on the menu here. These oysters were of the highest quality as it was a great time of the year to be eating oysters. I typically shy away from ‘savoury’ sorbets having had some disastrous experiences before. But in this case, probably because the oyster itself was already cold, the Nam Jim sorbet complemented the Oyster very well. This would likely also work well as a gelee or traditionally as a sauce with the oysters too.
Shitake Mushroom Spring Rolls with a Sweet and Sour Sauce
Whenever I hear the words, ‘sweet and sour’, I am immediately drawn to the cheap chinese restaurants ‘sweet and sour’ sauce which is always a bracing experience. This sauce however breaks the mold and lifts the bar when it comes to this much maligned sauce. The spring rolls were perfect with a thin and crispy coating that was cooked at the perfect temperature and with the cleanest oil as there was no oiliness or other flavours to interfere with these little morsels. The shitakes for me are always a little lacking in flavour and this was certainly the case here but as always in Australia, you have to use what is available and to my knowledge we cant get fresh ceps or morels here which would be my mushroom of choice. Still a great dish.
Crispy Pork Belly, Chilli Caramel, Pineapple Herb Salad
Initially, this looked sort of spectacular but perhaps a little overgarnished but it really is a cracker of a dish. The pork belly was crispy, sticky and decadent and with the pineapple, caramel and chilli was a classic balance of sweet, salt and sour which when done well, sets the tastebuds alight. Let me assure you, this was done well! I can thoroughly recommend this particular dish.
Noosa Spanner Crab Spaghettini, Chilli, Garlic, Parsley, Shallots, Lemon, Fat Hen Olive Oil
Another favourite of mine. This dish was perfect and I like it for many reasons. Firstly is the use of local produce. The spanner crab has recently won a number of awards Australia wide for being wonderful produce and to be honest, rightly so. These things are damn fiddly, especially when compared to mud crabs. But once you’ve spent a bit of time extracting the meat from its seeming multitude of internal compartments, you have a meat that is sweet, flaky and in my opinion perfect. Of all the crab meat I have tested ever, the Noosa spanner crab is my favourite so far including the wonderful spider crabs I have eaten in Northern Spain. This dish was perfect on so many levels. First was the crab already discussed. Second was the way in which the pasta was cooked which was wonderfully al dente and not the slightest bit overcooked. This was the way I remember the good pasta dishes during my trips to Italy. Third, the chilli – chilli ALWAYS wins for me and finally the balance of richness provided by the olive oil and the cutting sourness of the lemon. This dish will live in my taste memory for some time.
Peppered Duck Breast, Sliced Brussel Sprouts, Speck, Glazed Apple, Chestnut, Calvados Jus
To be honest, whenever I see duck on the menu, I always order it. I dont know why but it just seems to turn up in front of me. Most of the time, I am disappointed and to some extent, this was no different. Whilst it was perfectly good, the sprouts and chestnuts earthy and the speck nice and salty, the duck perfectly cooked with a cripsy skin and sweet apple, it was in comparison to the other dishes a little bland. I think I had just tasted the pasta dish which on paper didn’t look so good and from a marketing perspective, it was probably a case of the duck being below my expectations and the pasta totally exceeding my expectations.
Crispy Skin Atlantic Salmon, Pomelo, Avocado, Coriander, Toasted Coconut, Roast Red Chilli Dressing
The salmon was nice. Is it hard to get a crispy skin without overcooking the outside of the rest of the fish? I’m not sure. Anyway, let me assure you the interior of the fish was perfect and soft, it was just the outside that was a little overdone. Perhaps done in an immersion circulator and then finished with a blowtorch for the skin?…or maybe not. Anyway, it was perfectly good but not perfect. Pomelo is a citrus native to South East Asia and it accompanied the Salmon with perfect adequacy. Its origin also meant that the pairing with coriander, coconut and roast red chilli dressing was appropriate. The addition of avocado added texture and body to the dish. Whilst the salmon was a little overdone (on the outside) the overall concept of the dish was really really good.
SPECIAL: Lamb Cutlets, Roast Potatoes and Braised Spinach
Pictures speak louder than words and you can see here that the lamb was perfectly cooked. Whilst simple, it was a nice dish with each component prepared and served well. A great addition to the specials menu.
Mini Passionfruit Souffle
Lets get this on record, I typically dont like souffle’s either. This was however delightful. The passionfruit cut through the sweetness of the souffle which was light, fluffy and airy like a little cloud. My daughter thought it was seventh heaven however.
Mini Soft Centred Chocolate Tart
Cooked perfectly as it lived to its description. The centre was soft, unctuous and gooey and the external parts were crisp warm and toasty.
Mini Affogato: short black coffee, amaretto liqueur and vanilla icecream
Ok, it was nice. Affogato doesn’t really do it for me. The icecream was good!
Mini Apple Tarte Tatin
My wife loves this and initially before we decided to go with the tasting plate, we fought over who would get the tarte tatin. In the end, it worked out well getting the tasting plate, the only drawback was that what we got to taste was always smaller. I would have LOVED to get more of this one. I hope it stays on the menu, as for my next visit, I might just only eat this particular dish. Enough said?
Cheese Plate: Pyengana Cheddar, Buche d’Affinois, Fourme D’Ambert
If you like cheese, I would have thought that this picture would already have you excited! d’Affinois is one of my favourite soft cheeses. From France, it has all the textural components that you would get in a Brie or Camembert (i.e. its a soft white cheese) however the taste of d’Affinois is richer, in part due to the higher fat content which is inherent to its production process. The Pyengana Cheddar is a clothbound cheddar style cheese from Tasmania. Typically flaky in texture, this is a great cheddar which in my opinion is an area where Australia excels in the cheese world. The Fourme D’Ambert is the blue cheese on this particular plate. One of Frances oldest cheeses, it is made from cow’s milk and comes from the Auvergne region of France. Creamy and a little soft, this was my favourite but it you know me well, you would know that on a cheese plate blue cheese always wins but I think in this case, cheese was the winner!
Ricky’s is set in the perfect setting on the river and sits next to Noosa’s other great dining establishment Wasabi as part of the same building, like two peas in a pod! Their service is relaxed and friendly yet not overbearing. As stated earlier, they are wonderful with children and offer dishes for kids that are suitable for them yet still of a gourmet nature, meaning that they actually have fish in their fish fingers!! This was probably my most enjoyable meal of all in Noosa and where they fell down occasionally in some of their dishes, they always made up for in either service, ambience or just being nice to my daughter which always ALWAYS wins for me!!! If they maintain the standards they demonstrated on my visit there, I would happily eat there three times a day. Whether you live in Noosa or if you are there on holiday (you heard me fellow ‘Radelaiders!), if you havent already, you really ought to go here.
Ricky’s river bar + restaurant
Noosa Wharf, 2 Quamby Place, Noosa Heads
Open 7 days 12 noon – 12 midnight
Bookings & Function Enquiries 07 5447 2455