Spice Bar: Rosé-ing the Bar!

Image source: Photographer Megan Gill

A long lunch drenched in rosé is the perfect way to shake off the winter blues, and when paired with superb Asian cuisine, Deb Caruso says it’s a match made in heaven!

If you thought all rosé was the same, think again. The Spring Fling lunch at Spice Bar Mooloolaba will explore the nuances and depths of rosé, matched with a fresh feast of Asian delights by chef and owner Sophie Phipps!

Starting with a welcome cocktail, specially crafted by the multi-award-winning Sunshine & Sons team, a super-seasonal amuse bouche will awaken the palate. While Sophie patiently waits to see what will be at its peak this season for this opening act, she can share that the next course will be an alternate drop of two of her signature dishes matched with an Italian sparkling wine, the Jacarando Brut Rosé which won First Place, or the Medaglia d’oro Vinum at the global World of Rosé 2024!

Made from grapes grown up to 700 meters above sea level to enhance its aroma, the soft, coral pink colour and fine and persistent perlage (the bubbles or ‘string of pearls’ for the layperson) scream spring! With fresh, fruity notes of blackberry and raspberry, it is the ideal match for the starters – the first being locally-caught Sashimi with Smoked Bone Oil, Homemade Ponzu Soy, Fingerlime and Dashi Cream.

Straight off the boat and perfectly prepared, Sophie also incorporates the bones for the smoked oil and skin as a base for the dashi cream.

“We honour and use the whole fish, which is why I love doing this dish,” Sophie said. “It will be lovely, fresh and light for spring with pops of fingerlime, puffed buckwheat crunch and the creaminess of the dashi matching superbly with the sparkling. When the bubbles hit the dashi and then a little bit of acid and smoke comes through – it’s super fun and puts a smile on your face.

Already hoping this one lands in front of you? You won’t be disappointed with the alternative of cured Eye Fillet Tataki with Daikon Wasabi Cream, Nori and Soy.

For this dish, Sophie takes a John Dee 5+ Marble Score Eye Fillet, cures and dresses it in a nori and black peppercorn emulsion with pickled daikon and spring onion; thinly sliced and served with a homemade nori rice wafer crisp with an avocado and wasabi mousse.

“Again, we’re bringing a lightness to the event that captures the spring vibe,” Sophie says. “The saltiness of the soy-based dressings in both dishes are perfectly counteracted by the subtle sweetness of the rosé.”

Served with traditional accompaniments of gohan – fluffy, slightly sticky rice;  tone-wan, pickled spring vegetables; and ko-no-moto, miso broth to warm the soul.

Sophie is still cooking up plans for the main course, waiting to be guided by the season’s bounty, however she is confident the 2020 Étè di Elodie or ‘the summer of Elodie’ rosé will be a perfect match with its light, juicy and well-balanced Syrah/Cinsault grapes from Provence, France.

With its light salmon colour, this drop offers notes of watermelon, rose and red fruits, with some vegetal notes in the background and a palate that is quite zingy with lots of fresh acidity – soft but enjoyable. Grown in clay-limestone soil, it delivers a nice texture with minerality and poise.

Before you call it a day on the rosé, get ready for the final act of Sophie’s famous Seasonal Parfait with Spring Fruits, Smoked Almonds and savoury Asian herbs.

This time, matched with a cracking rosé closer to home from the granite sands of the Minim Metcalfe vineyards in Heathcote, Victoria.

The 2023 Metcalfe Syrah is unfined and unfiltered and made from regeneratively farmed Syrah grapes that are picked early to retain clarity and freshness while pushing ripeness enough to welcome some tasty red fruit and soft spice – a great muse for the light and irresistible Parfait.

While the current iteration features strawberries, Sophie believes that new-season mandarins are going to be in.

“I’m thinking a confit mandarin with a mandarin marmalade which is exactly what this wine is going to sing with,” Sophie says. “It’s a bit savoury and chewy and when you think about marmalade, it has a saltiness with a savoury pithiness which is always interesting to finish your meal, particularly for lunch.

“The other dishes already have a small amount of natural sweetness to them so we want to finish with something that is not too sugar-forward; something that is light, and leaves you wanting more!”

You’ve been warned!

If beautiful views with fresh and fabulous food in a friendly, family-owned establishment is your flavour – be sure to book your tickets for our Spring Fling Rosé Wine Lunch at Spice Bar. It is sure to please – and to sell-out; so don’t miss out!


Spring Fling Rosé Wine Lunch

Friday 6 September at Spice Bar Restaurant, First Floor, 123 Mooloolaba Esplanade

Tickets $99



About the Author /

[email protected]

Deb has 25+ years' experience providing strategic communications and brand reputation advice to clients in the government, business and not-for-profit clients. She is passionate about Noosa and is an active member of her community, providing PR to Slow Food Noosa and other clients. Her passion lies in working with small businesses to help them succeed. She is planning to release the Tastes of Noosa cookbook with Matt Golinski in 2019.

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