Hooked on Sole

Image source: Contributed

Beachside Marcoola at Sole restaurant, fish-ionado Helen Flanagan found a talented head chef, the catch of the day, and so much more. 

W hen it comes to the recipe for success, David and Sarah Nash’s dreams came true at their ever-popular Velo Project Café in Mooloolaba. 

Ten years on, they have another super star in the making with SOLE, a casual seafood restaurant, right next to Marcoola Beach in the charming Town of Seaside. 

Head chef Tom Staal grew up on a cattle station in central Queensland eating the best-of-the-best premium beef, fruit and vegetables. It undoubtedly sparked a serious culinary career. 

He started with an apprenticeship at Harry’s on Buderim, honed his skills at Spice Bar, Spirit House and The Long Apron, and later his culinary horizons were broadened overseas. 

“I experienced a totally foreign food culture, regularly hunting deer, pheasants, ducks and pigeons in Scotland, which I would butcher, age and cook,” recalls Tom. “And in Spain I witnessed raising pigs first-hand albeit the very famous Pata Negra Jamon, as well as the curing and ageing processes.” 

Naturally when David and Sarah approached Tom, he was sold, and is totally dedicated to creating vibrant food featuring local produce, boasting confident flavour combinations that are not overworked. 

He is besotted by the local community and beyond, and his happiness obviously shows – on the plate. 

Amongst the many scene-stealers and taste sensations is a Poached Moreton Bay Bug and fresh linguini dish with bisque, Bug stock, sea greens, tobiko (flying fish roe), brandy and herbs; whole baked Sole meunière with burnt butter, lemon and capers is a signature dish; traditional beer battered fish and chips are family faves; chargrilled hanger steak served au poivre caters for non-pescatarians; and for vegetarians looking for something different, the roasted radicchio with macadamia ajo blanco, toasted seeds, pomegranate agrodolce roasted carrots and shaved fennel, will appeal. 

Freshly shucked oysters are served thermidor; Kilpatrick; with a cucumber and champagne mignonette or natural; house made taramasalata is served with salmon roe and lavosh; and prawn beignets are delicious chickpea and chive-battered prawns. 

“Local Yellowfin Tuna carpaccio with radish, fennel pollen, lemon zest and chardonnay vinegar was inspired by beautiful local summer produce,” describes Tom. “The fresh spicy radishes act as a counterpoint to the sweet chardonnay vinegar, making the tuna shine.”

Hungry for more? Desserts include burnt Basque cheesecake, sorbets and pannacotta as well as a selection of artisanal cheeses. A comprehensive and well thought out drinks list features cocktails, beers, soft drinks, spirits and primarily Australian wines with many by the glass. 

It’s worth a wander to the quaint venue adjoining verdant parkland and short walk to the beach. Don’t miss Happy Hour from 3-5pm on Sundays or the pre fixe lunch special from Thursday to Sunday with two courses for $55 – entree and main or main and dessert including a glass of house wine/local beer. Takeaway is also a treat!


TUNA CARPACCIO

We asked Tom to share the recipe of one of our favourite dishes so we can try to make it at home: Tuna carpaccio with radish, fennel pollen, lemon zest and chardonnay vinegar. Thanks Tom!

Ingredients:

  • 400g Yellowfin Tuna loin premium quality ; use mid or top-loin
  • 1-2 bunches of radishes – if possible use varieties such as watermelon, black etc
  • 1 lemon
  • Chardonnay vinegar
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Fleur de Sel or any high-quality sea salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fennel pollen
  • Chervil to garnish 

Method:

Make a simple vinaigrette with 1 part chardonnay vinegar and 2 parts olive oil. I like to use vinegar to olive oil, ie 50ml vinegar to 100ml olive oil. Stir well.

Cut tuna loin into manageable sized logs, the outside will be seared so make sure it will fit in a pan but not so small it will cook through. Coat them in the vinaigrette. 

Heat a cast iron pan until quite hot, (not hot enough the tuna will stick and tear). Sear each side of the logs for about 10 seconds, transfer to a chopping board. 

To assemble the dish, slice the tuna into quarter inch (6mm) slices, arrange onto plates, quarter half of the radishes and toss in a bowl with vinaigrette, black pepper and Fleur de Sel. Slice the others into fine rounds. 

Top tuna with radishes, Fleur de Sel, black pepper, fennel pollen and zest of lemon. To finish drizzle little extra vinaigrette over the dish. Top with chervil sprigs. 

About the Author /

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Noosa’s sophisticated charm, vibrant food culture and the magnetism of a subtropical paradise surrounded by national parks, inveigled Helen’s manic world and flipped it on its side. She pursues the good life with gusto, instinctively understanding the joys of travel, the art of story-telling, a candid review and surviving another reno whilst thriving on the motto Live Laugh Love!

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