Sunshine Coast

Published on January 20th, 2014 | by Ann Rickard


Key Restaurant – Maleny

You don’t find goat on many Sunshine Coast menus and if you’ve enjoyed this meat during your travels you’ll appreciate seeing it making a star appearance at Key Restaurant Maleny.

Goat, cooked slowly with mustard seeds, cinnamon, star anise, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, ginger, garlic, tomato and chilli is going to please aficionados as it did us recently at a Sunday Tastes of Africa buffet lunch in the hinterland.

Key Restaurant

Chef Simone Butler, originally from Ghana in Africa, has a passion for cooking that can’t keep her away from the kitchen – even in her spare time. She is happiest at the stove with her team at Key Restaurant, singing and dancing while she cooks African dishes she learnt from a young age at her mother’s side.

Key Restaurant

Although Mrs Butler had a long legal career in the UK, speaks many languages and has travelled extensively, it was after watching an episode of the Oprah Show she realised her true calling was cooking the food she was raised on.

Key Restaurant

“I was watching women (on Oprah) who had left boring jobs to follow their passion in work and life,” she said. “I was inspired to do the same.” That inspiration was supported by her biggest fan, her husband Luke Butler. He had long encouraged her to respond to the siren call of the kitchen and to make good use of her collection of 300 cookbooks. When the couple arrived in Queensland after years of living and working overseas, they bought and transformed Key Restaurant into a tiny slice of Africa in Maleny.

Key Restaurant

Now fans line up for traditional dishes such as West Indian goat curry, Moroccan lamb tagine, beef palaver, Jamaican jerk chicken, West African kebabs and the popular Mozambique chicken.

“The Mozambique chicken takes two days to prepare,” Mr Butler said. “After a two-day long marinade in the coldroom, it goes onto the barbecue and the flames are about a foot high.”Key Restaurant

A once-a-month Sunday Tastes of Africa buffet lunch gives you a chance to try many of the dishes from Key’s a la carte menu.

The feast starts with two soup choices: a fiery Ghanaian beef soup, and for the chillitimid, a light pumpkin soup.

After that, it’s eat-as-muchas- you-like from the banquet.

We went straight for the spicy goat: mouth-melting meat, robust but elegant. Then a timid taste of the Ghanaian peanut and chicken stew in case it was too hot. Not so.

A whole snapper baked Ghanaian style and looking rather haughty, took centre stage of the banquet. Although the food was distinctly African and high on spice, a concession to nervous palates came with some delicious pumpkin and ricotta fritters, delightful bites of butternut pumpkin, ricotta and a dash of parmesan.

Key Restaurant

After settling the palate down with several of those we fired it up again with harissa lamb, a zinger from North Africa.

Key Restaurant

After such a feast, what else but a little African entertainment? Out came the drums, Mrs Butler traded her chef’s jacket for traditional Ghana dress and the rest of the afternoon went by with celebratory beating of drums and some vivacious dance moves.

Key Restaurant Maleny

Cairncross Corner, 10 Mountain View Road.   Maleny QLD 4552

Phone: (07) 5429 6537



About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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