Restaurant Reviews

Rickys in Noosa is bigger and better than ever: Restaurant review

GT visits the stately Noosa stayer as it sails towards its second decade. It's in sparklingly good form.

By Fiona Donnelly
The view at Rickys.
Coastal but not coasting. The catchphrase perfectly sums up this Noosa riverfront destination. Can you think of another venue that fifteen years on from plating its first spanner crab spaghettini, would still have enough oomph to daringly take over the tenancy next door and double in size?
I'll wait.
Of course, this feat has been somewhat easier for Rickys – its owner is joint landlord for both tenancies. But it's still a huge vote of confidence. More importantly for diners, knocking through into sadly now shuttered Japanese eatery Wasabi, means Rickys has doubled its waterfront tables. And whether you're here for sunset cocktails and dinner, or lingering over a long sun-splashed lunch, you'll want to relish those cooling breezes and bask in the river's reflected glitter and dappled light.
The new addition feels seamless. This room has always been more about the mesmeric ebb and flow of the river alongside, than fussy design. Interiors are classic – fresh white walls, plenty of polished timbers, white linen-topped tables, white molded chairs with well-plumped cushions and of course, floor-to-ceiling glass to maximise views. It's unstudied yet stylish - a look that's come to epitomize Noosa. It's also an aesthetic in sync with the food offering, which positions the best of local centre-plate, then encourages it to shine.
Rickys' signature spaghettini. Photo: supplied.
A starter of snappily fresh spring greens is a tasty case in point. Al dente asparagus spears arrive draped casually over a fat blob of milky ricotta. The whey cheese, lightly accented by lemon myrtle, has a vivid pool of green mint oil at its centre. Tucked beneath are more greens – broad beans and zucchini coins – resting in a slick of the subtly flavoured mint oil. A scatter of nutty dukka with toasted sunflower seeds and pine nuts, adds texture and there's a pretty garnish - a mix of coriander and borage flowers for extra verve.
Chef Scott Klimisch (ex-Locale, Noosa) came aboard at Rickys in August. You can feel the influence of earlier stints at Melbourne's Cutler & Co and Bistro Guillaume. His spanner crab spaghettini is a cracker. This version of the signature dish is rich and garlicky and packs a whack of chilli heat and just a smidge of parsley to complement the sweet oceanic brine of the crab and precisely cooked spaghettini. All you need is a squeeze of the lemon that sits alongside.
There are just a handful of mains to choose from. Spanish mackerel, caught locally, leans classic French on the plate, scoring a creamy celeriac puree and accompaniments of steamed mussels and leek. Duck breast is likewise old-school, flesh blush pink and paired with Jerusalem artichoke puree, purple kale and a mandarin jus to bring the elements together.
These days the drinks list may be accessed via a QR code, but it retains the breadth and depth Rickys is known for. By the glass or half bottle, say, you can either keep things simple with a $13 Godello from Spain, or splash out with a 2005 Grand Cru Chardonnay for $540. Service remains assured, not the easiest feat in a tourist town, but clearly management makes this a priority.
It's fitting Rickys' owners side project Maravista Farm gets a shout-out on the menu. This 250-hectare hinterland property supplies honey and a growing share of the plant-based component of Ricky's menu. In return, restaurant waste goes to Maravista for composting. The transition towards a closed loop system yet another indication of how this institution is pushing to stay fresh and keep its appeal evergreen.