Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | FOOD & WINE -

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.

Wine list

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.

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