LUXURIOUS: Steamed crayfish with ginger, chilli and shallots.
LUXURIOUS: Steamed crayfish with ginger, chilli and shallots. Ann Rickard

Resistance is futile. Don't even try to say no at Beach House

THE night time atmosphere at Beach House Peter Kuruvita suggests romance.

Glass candles shaped like ostrich eggs throw an amber glow and add warmth to the mostly white decor. The fairy-lit trees outside in Hastings St add to the night-time pleasure and cast a spell of celebration.

We've lunched at Beach House before but this night time ambience was something special.

Overlooking the Hasting St bar - very busy on this night at 7pm with people enjoying cocktails and bar snacks - the restaurant is spacious and although separated from the bar by glass, it has a seamless open feel that extends right to the footpath.

The dreamy and elegant atmosphere put us in the mood for a cocktail and when a description of a spicy chocolate margarita was presented by our knowledgeable server, resistance was impossible.

What a way to start an inspiring dinner: chilli infused tequila shaken with lime and a white chocolate liqueur...I don't think I need say any more.

We were pampered by two servers, Tabitha Moule and Valeria Detzel, both courteous and knowledgable about everything on the menu - a big help when you are faced with the dilemma of whether to go for the confit duck and quinoa with pomegranate and candied walnuts or the Petuna ocean trout with avocado mousse.

The trout won, and came to us on in slivers shaped like tiny trout. Very pretty. With little dabs of avocado mousse, some pressed cucumber and horseradish it was the perfect example of presenting beautiful produce without fuss but with the right accompaniments to enhance it.

We also went for a dish of seared yellow fin tuna. Crusted and just seared, the tuna cut through like soft butter. With sweet pork and a sticky caramel dressing against the tang of ruby grapefruit it was the stuff memorable dishes are based on. Add the delicious crunch of a thin cigar-shaped piece of pork crackling and you're on you way to culinary bliss.

The last delicious drop of the margarita had gone by now and we were up for a glass of pinot gris. However, sommelier, Paolo Sandri, gently steered us towards a riesling which he advised would match much better with what was to come.

Later, as I took the first sip of the riesling with a Sri Lankan snapper curry, I could have kissed him (if not for scaring him for life) as the elegant flavour of the wine with the fish was the ultimate perfect marriage.

The curry came with its little bit of theatre: the snapper was first presented simply in a white bowl with a little mound of carrot sambal, a couple of roasted cherry tomatoes and three dobs of bryiani pickle. Then the sauce was poured in, tableside, to surround the fish in a creamy yellow puddle. A beautiful, fresh dish not overpowered by the subtleties of the sir Lankan curry sauce.

Opposite me, my mate was donning a bib to prevent splashes while tucking in to a giant dish of crayfish. Steamed with ginger and shallots, this is one heck of an indulgence and fortunately my mate shared some of the thick crayfish flesh with me - while I kept the snapper all to myself.

The crustacean section of the menu offers local crabs, lobsters and bugs cooked three ways - with the ginger and chilli as we had, or flash fried with black pepper and curry leaf, or the perennial favourite cooking method, salt and pepper style.

Although the menu leans heavily towards seafood - think reef fish with crab vinaigrette and roast cauliflower; king prawns with Mexican vanilla, chilli and baby basil; seafood tapas that change every day - there is spatchcock, a waygu sirloin and an intriguing three vegetable curry to take care of other palates.

Celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita has relocated to Noosa but as his filming commitments often take him away, sous chef Frank Bouley presents Peter's menu with skill and obvious passion.

Peter Kuruvita's Mexican Fiesta series is running on SBS and each week Beach House will feature a dish that appears on the show.

On our visit it was a colourful scallop ceviche which we ate with gusto, and then wished we hadn't when a dessert of chocolate torte with almond praline and mandarin ice-cream was offered. Then we saw the lime tart with fresh honeycomb we'd swooned over on our last visit was still on the menu and regretted our greed further. What a pair to have to turn down.

We'll just have to go back.

IF YOU GO

Beach House Peter Kuruvita,

Sheraton Resort & Spa,

Hastings St. Tel: 5449 4888

Average prices: E: $22; M: $40: D$16

Mexican Fiesta with Peter Kuruvita - the experience$94 per person, Thursday, March 20 from 6.30pm


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