SPICE BAR RESTAURANT
CHARMING BEACH-SIDE VENUE LIVING UP TO ITS NAME
Sophistication oozes from a beach-side venue that definitely lives up to its name with a menu offering a spicy take on Asian fusion cuisine.
Spice Bar, owned by Aaron and
Kym-sarah Rutten, has gone to great lengths to create a charming setting with a balanced menu and wine list.
The Mooloolaba restaurant had our mystery reviewer at “hello”, after spotting the ocean views and being welcomed genuinely for a great night ahead.
Ambience and appeal
The initial phone manner of Ross when we called Spice Bar was very friendly and we were assured we could choose any arrival time we liked, on a Friday night, so that was a nice way to start. We looked forward to it.
On arriving at Spice Bar, we could spy the open-air deck with ocean views from the street. It looked inviting and colourful. It can, however, have a little road noise and tends to be seated with bigger groups, so not ideal for a romantic experience.
The décor and seating is colourful, plush and there are artful touches such as the bamboo steamer collections gracing the ceiling, to remind you of its Asian influence.
The terrace with sea views provides a special view of Mooloolaba to Point Cartwright, by day or night. We enjoyed watching the theatre of the busy kitchen from our table. All of the chefs were clearly enjoying the team atmosphere
Everything was clean, shining and tidy in the restaurant, reception and bathrooms.
Our waiter was particularly observant of the entire customer area and we saw staff helping one another with service.
The glassware and tableware were high quality and the bar was eye-catching, well-organised and made a great area for retiring to enjoy drinks before or after dinner.
Staff presentation, knowledge and attitude were all excellent. We felt extremely well-attended without intrusion.
The décor and table settings are photo-worthy and we noticed later that their reviews reflected people’s keenness to snap a memento – social media is thick with fabulous photos.
We were greeted promptly by a friendly staff member who took us to our table. Then we were attended by two more staff with great knowledge of the wine list and menu so we put ourselves in their hands.
It was so enjoyable to chat with great staff who were obviously keen to ensure we enjoyed the dining experience.
Wait staff who were not serving us also smiled our way, and the chefs in the open kitchen, too. We found that all members of the team were professional and customer-focused.
We felt we got extra-special attention when the manager stopped at our table to talk about our wine choice and check on us.
This waiter was very observant, helpful, communicative and on top of things, bringing more water, cutlery and side plates without being asked. Our waiter made sensational recommendations of dishes from the menu and substitutions for dietary needs, and we felt impressed each time a plate arrived.
We gave ourselves up to the staff and their suggestions of the set degustation banquets, which were sensational value for money,
checked against the menu.
Dishes we loved most of all were the Hervey Bay scallops and the insanely well-named numbing chicken wings. Absolutely beware of the chillis when warned, though.
We asked the staff and they directed us to several wines by the glass. All were very good and when we had questions, the manager was sent over and was extremely knowledgeable. We were offered the chance to taste a few, including one usually sold by the bottle, and he explained the matching to some of the spicier dishes that were part of our degustation experience.
The restaurant does offer a matching wine menu but we did not choose it this time.
The wine list is testament to the owners’ heritage in South Australian vineyards and is interesting and well-explained by the experienced staff. It was a real delight to speak to the team about the European wines.
We chose the degustation set menu option and there was so much food. For two people, it could easily have fed a party of four – great value and delicious, endless food.
Overall, too many dishes were a little spicy but there were so many it was easy to wait it out for the next and the wait team made great suggestions based on our preferences.
Their knowledge and repartee made it one of my most favourite dining experiences in such a long time. The service at this restaurant was superb and the food was delicious. It is a welcoming, well-designed and ambient locale, with ocean vistas. We also enjoyed talking to staff about the wine list. Undeniably, it is one of the outstanding venues in our region.
SPICE BAR Address: First Floor, 123 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba.
Phone: 5444 2022 Website: www.spicebar.com.au/bookings/ Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday from noon for lunch and dinner
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE: Spice Bar Mooloolaba head chef Jason Robinson, (left) with owners Kym-sarah and Aaron Ruttan, who also is executive chef and restaurant manager Ross Charnock.