Published on January 1st, 2014 | by Ann Rickard0
The Piano Bar – Maroochydore
The Piano Bar kitchen never closes. When the restaurant is open, the kitchen is open.
In a region where many restaurant kitchens close all too early, these are pleasing words.
The Piano Bar on the corner of Ocean St and Aerodrome Rd in Maroochydore not only welcomes you in for a good nosh-up at all hours, it has a clubby, homely atmosphere which we loved. Then there’s the music. Some of the Coast’s best jazz and blues musicians perform every night from Wednesday through Sunday lunch.
Inside with a large bar beckoning you to prop with a cocktail, a baby grand piano providing a touch of nostalgia, sexy fringed lampshades and a bookcase wall filled with a collection of music books and old vinyls, the ambience is almost like a private lounge room.
Owner, Dimitris (Dimi) Limnatitis is the founder of Solbar in Maroochdyore as well as The Piano Bar and he’s not shy to admit much of his culinary passion comes from his Cypriot mother.
His menu features small servings (call them tapas or mezze if you like) from around the Med, and seeing as there are 21 countries involved in the Mediterranean, you’re going to be visiting a number of cultures for culinary treats.
We loved our Sunday visit, the jazz trio playing, the small dishes coming at us with pleasing regularity, a different glass of wine with each arrival.
It was off to Greece first, with a chargrilled octopus, marinated and charred over coals and served with nothing but lemon.
Rustic, authentic…and it took us flying back to salty tavernas of Mykonos and Santorini.
We stayed in Greece for the seafood saganaki: prawns, calamari and mussels in a rich tomato sauce with a generous swig of ouzo and a sprinkling of crumbly feta.
Then it was over to Italy for meatballs in a Napoli sauce with basil and parmesan, and then stopping in that vibrant country for gnocchi with a gorgonzola cream sauce.
We’ve long found the creamy richness of a gorgonzola sauce impossibly seductive, and while it is most unfriendly to the waistline, a little goes a long way.
A baked eggplant dish with roasted tomato and garlic sugo took us on a side trip to Lebanon and then it was back to Italy for some pork and veal meatballs.
Dimi would not let us go until we tried the loukoumades, his mother’s recipe of a traditional Greek dessert of light honey puffs with syrup and ice cream.
Dimi has an optimistic personality and it’s infectious. He is passionate about Maroochydore and growing its restaurant culture. His enthusiasm makes you feel optimistic. He wants to build Ocean St into a destination to reflect Melbourne’s Lygon St with its coffee shops, bars and live music. He is passionate about the Ocean Street Festival which he says saw 18,000 visitors attend this year.
He presents The Piano Bar as a place for all people. The drop-in-fora- drink-and-music set are as welcome as those who want the big multi-course dinner and all that goes with it.
22-24 Ocean Street, Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast)
Cnr of Ocean Street & Aerodrome Road
0422 291 249