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by A. Tablehopper

I am an ‘average joe’ who enjoys good food, not a food critic by profession, so excuse my lack of fancy terminology!

I have not been paid to promote anyone – I am simply sharing my opinion on the hinterland eateries I visit, for their service/ambience and presentation/flavour. Thank you to the HT readers who have responded online and in emails with positive feedback to my last two reviews! This month, I tried Italian and Indian…

MARGHERITA PIZZERIA - 1/4 Pine Grove Rd, Woombye

Service/ambience: This is a popular take-away spot, so don’t expect a traditional restaurant. The seating is outside under a large umbrella, with a handful of tables, and some cheery bistro lighting. Could do with some tablecloths to cosy up the outside space perhaps, and maybe a couple of big pots plants? My favourite spot, especially on cooler evenings, is near the wood-fired pizza oven. The staff are friendly and very busy, so sometimes you may wait a little longer than you expect – but, trust me, it’s worth it!

Presentation/flavour: I had the Sicilian Zest - Fettuccine pasta with fresh squeezed lemon and egg sauce, capers, chilli flakes, fresh-ground black pepper, fresh parsley and topped with lemon zest. What a blissful experience!

The pasta tastes so fresh, you can immediately tell it is homemade, and according to the Filanti family who own the restaurant, it is made daily with Italian 000 flour and fresh free-range eggs.

The combination of tangy capers and spicy chilli flakes, perfectly complemented by the squeeze of refreshing lemon, created a creamy sauce bursting with layers of flavour.

One friend had Gnocchi Gorgonzola, homemade gnocchi in a smooth Gorgonzola sauce with mushroom, onion, spinach and prosciutto. (I had a forkful; the depth of intense flavour was instantly mouthwatering.) My other companion had classic pepperoni pizza (you can choose mild or hot) made from hand-stretched dough, with sweet Italian San Marzano tomatoes for the base sauce, and Fior Di Latte Mozzarella – he gave this the double thumbs-up.

We had homemade Tiramisu to finish, and we all agreed it was, without doubt, the best we have tasted so far on the Sunshine Coast.

Conclusion: If you love Italian, you need to get over to Pizza Margherita – and let them know the HT has put the word out, because they deserve it!


Service/ambience: This welcoming haven of food and live music is smack-bang in the middle of Maleny and offers a variety of World Food options from rustic wooden huts. I visited with a friend and as it was a blustery day, the spicey smells of curry were too tempting to pass up. I chose Krishna’s Kitchen, he chose Casa Nepali Kitchen. Karunamayi served us at the former, Shekhar at the latter, and both were friendly and helpful as we grilled them on various dishes, before sitting in the autumn sunshine with our chosen meals – some old jazz standards playing as our accompaniment.

Presentation/flavour: I was deliberating between the Roti Chenai (tangy coconut laksa served with Bok choy, beansprouts and two buttery roti chenai breads) and the Nacho Kofta Boat, which I eventually plumped for. These kofta balls are marinated in tomato chutney and topped with cheese, sour cream, capsicum and coriander, and a side of corn chips. I also had a Mango Lassi - a deliciously refreshing drink of mango, yoghurt, milk and a hint of sugar.

The dish was a perfect combination of savoury (think vegetarian dumplings/meatballs with a crunchy coating) and sweet (the sticky chutney), with the sour cream adding some smooth balance, and coriander bringing a pop of floral and citrus to the mix. I will tell you now, this may look like an average-sized meal from the photo, but it is incredibly filling!

My friend found the same with his Creamy Butter Chicken from next door. A generous portion, with rice as the base, and a buttery curry which popped with cardamom and a couple of chillies.

Conclusion: A perfect spot to have a sustaining meal without fuss and fanfare, and soak up the friendly atmosphere of Maleny.



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