The Sunshine Coast hinterland is situated only an hour north of Brisbane, and it has some amazing views over the coastline. There are a few historic towns in the area, including Montville, which is popular with weekend tourists from the big smoke.
It’s a unique little township, with buildings that look like they have been plucked straight out of the Swiss Alps or Tudor England. For some strange reason, there are also quite a few places that specialise in cuckoo clocks. You know, for all your timekeeping needs!
Situated just outside of Montville is The Long Apron restaurant, part of the Spicers Clovelly Estate retreat. We drove up the long driveway to the majestic main building, which houses the two-hatted restaurant, and couldn’t help but gasp at the beauty of the surroundings. Lush, green, rolling lawns, a grand jacaranda tree shading the terrace, a kitchen garden bursting with herbs, and a quaint bench to take in the lovely serenity of it all.
We were seated in the dappled sunlight of the terrace, and enjoyed feeling the warm sun on our skin. It didn’t take much twisting of our arms before we chose the 5-course a la carte ($105), since it was just too difficult to eliminate any of the wonderful choices on the menu for a 2 or 3-course lunch ($75 and $85 respectively).
There were some complimentary starters that were a little fun and quirky, such as a watermelon sashimi, and an edible pot plant!
What struck me most about all the dishes was the celebration of textures, colours, and flavours. The presentation of each course was balanced, with lots of different interesting elements, most of which comprised of local produce and stuff straight out of their kitchen garden. My favourite dish was the “Garden Salad”, which sounded pedestrian on the menu but was a bit like garden foraging, on a plate!
We chose to have our dessert on a table out on the grass to bask in the last of the afternoon sun. Already feel more than pleasantly full from the first four courses, we took a stroll around the gardens while we waited for our desserts. As we were determining which herbs were which in the kitchen garden, we heard the polite yell, “HELLO??”, to let us know that dessert was ready. More than ready, in fact, with the ice cream accompaniment for our desserts looking a bit melty.
Sadly, our long, leisurely lunch came to an end, and we drove our full bellies back to Maroochydore airport to get our flight back to Sydney. The service here was impeccable, being attentive, friendly, and very knowledgeable. The dining experience at the Long Apron would be a top pick for a special occasion, or if you just want to spoil yourselves!