It was that time of the year again, when we relocate to Noosa for a long weekend to attend the spectacular Noosa Good Food & Wine Festival. As usual I had the task of choosing one ‘special’ restaurant for dinner. I had kept my eye on a few Noosa restaurants throughout the year and been watching the development of a newly opened Italian restaurant, Locale, which was conveniently attached to our apartment block. Locale did not disappoint and proved once again to my family that I make great dining decisions.
On the Friday of the festival I worked with a few of my favourite chefs at an event. Both Alastair McLeod and Philip Johnson told me how delicious their meals were at Locale the night before which got me really excited for our visit the following night.
We made our way downstairs to the restaurant and I was surprised by the dimness of the room owing to the dark brown walls and soft lighting. Happily I discovered that the table we were allocated had excellent light in which to take a quick photograph of the dishes. We decided we would share two entrees, have a main each and share a dessert.
We started with the roasted barnyard Quail, soft polenta, fontina, vermouth infused grapes, upland cress ($25). It was so moreish and I wished I had have had the whole entree to myself. The quail was perfectly cooked and the polenta was delicate, soft and smooth. The grapes added an extra dimension of sweetness to the dish, although I wished there were more.
The other entrée was the Beef Carpaccio, Reggiano, lemon, celery, white truffle infused oil ($23). I loved how simple the dish was, letting the beef quality and fresh ingredients speak for themselves. Mum and I both agreed that a touch more seasoning would have lifted it to a higher level.
I had weighed up a few dishes for my main but finally decided on the Porchetta: High country slow roasted pork belly, roasted butternut puree, hazelnut, caramelised baby onion, celery, cress and apple salad ($36). The pork was impeccably cooked with its rich and fatty flavours counteracted by a fresh salad and sweet caramelised onions. The hazelnuts added a nice crunch and the smooth roasted pumpkin puree complimented the pork perfectly.
Mum chose the Taglioni al fruitti di mare: Tagiolini, Mooloolaba king prawns, scallops, crab meat, fish pieces, Noosa Reds cherry tomatoes, seafood bisque ($36). She praised how well-seasoned the dish was along with all the perfectly cooked seafood, an outcome not easily accomplished with having to cook all the individual seafood items.
Dad’s eyes lit up when he read his favourite dish on the menu, Vitello, limone e burro: Sage and Prosciutto wrapped veal tenderloin, asparagus, semolina gnocchi, lemon butter ($38). Dad, when he has time on his hands, makes a great saltimbocca (as it is otherwise known) at home but at Locale he especially loved the addition of the gnocchi.
The Princess enjoyed her classic margherita pizza ($18) which strangely disappeared quickly for the fussy eater. Signs of a great pizza!
Earlier that morning, I saw a Philip Johnson recipe in the paper for a classic tiramisu and questioned if I had actually ever eaten one before. When I saw it on the Locale menu, I had to order it.
The Locale Tiramisu ($16) turned out not to be as classic as Philip Johnson’s tiramisu but still looked and tasted amazing. I especially loved the different textures with the crumbly chocolate soil, crisp brandy snap and the little crunchy chocolate bits hidden in the soft creamy mascarpone.
We were booked into the early sitting, though we never felt rushed with the pace of the dinner, and after dessert my parents thought they would have a limoncello (or two}, so were relocated to a comfortable chair outside and I took the Princess to our apartment as she was getting sleepy.
In its short time of operation, Locale has already made huge splash on the dining scene in Noosa. I would humbly suggest that it is the must-visit restaurant for all Noosa holiday goers.