Where There’s Smoke: Wood Fire Grill’s Refresh
The flavour richness, aroma and theatrics of food and flame are one of the oldest and most primal ways of cooking. Christina Cannes discovers a local restaurant that truly lives up to its name.
Nestled in Quamby Place over-looking the Noosa River and lush, green parkland is one of Noosa’s best kept secrets. If the name doesn’t give it away, the aroma will. Wood Fire Grill brings the art of cooking over open flames to life with a menu ripe with local produce and world-class national and international wines to match. Situated next to Rickys, Wood Fire Grill also benefits from having the same experienced team of general manager David Jouy and Executive Chef Josh Smallwood who have recently refreshed and realigned the restaurant’s approach focusing on quality ingredients and an upgraded dining experience. General manager David Jouy said they challenged and reviewed everything to redefine the guest experience.
“We even changed the table setting as well as the menu,” he said. “From the plates, to the napkins to the candles. People have an expectation of quality and we wanted to reach a certain level with WoodFire Grill that we didn’t have in the past.”
“We felt that previous perceptions was that Rickys was more refined and Wood Fire Grill was classified as casual and kid-friendly. But that’s not really the case. Wood Fire Grill is just a different style. You can have a grill and be refined – and not just casual.”
“Having Josh oversee both venues will lift the quality and consistency across the board.”
David said that Rickys was lighter and more focused on seafood, whereas Wood Fire Grill was all about fire and smoke and using traditional cooking methods.
“We want to showcase the way we cook at Wood Fire Grill and the refreshed menu highlights these techniques.”
What differentiates Wood Fire Grill is the fact that everything on the menu is smoked or fired. The food is expertly prepared over open flames, cooked to perfection with glowing embers and infused with a rich, smoky flavour.
“Wood Fire Grill is not just a steakhouse,” added David. “We feature seafood such as Moreton Bay Bugs and fish; and our pumpkin is also slow-cooked within the open fire. We slow cook, grill, smoke, dry age, bbq, hang as well as cook inside the coals. We use so many techniques to create food with our open fire.”
As part of The Ogilvie Group, Wood Fire Grill sources most of its ingredients from the group’s very own Maravista Farm, which is also used to supply produce for sister venues Rickys, Locale Noosa, and Aromas. “Our food is all produce-driven,” explains Josh. “We use local suppliers and champion each bit of produce and protein and then add our touches with the grill imparting the flavour of the wood into our food. With an emphasis on great quality produce, we treat our ingredients with respect, so we focus on clean, simple food done really well.
“We also slow cook a few dishes overnight. The lamb ribs and shoulder are cooked at 80 degrees for about ten hours, so they retain their moisture. We then finish them on the grill to caramelise the meat. Of our menu, 80-90% is prepared using the grill – even desserts such as our smoked white chocolate mousse. We add elements of the grill to as many of our dishes as possible.”
Preparing the grill takes time and skill. “The wood we use is a mix of iron bark and red gum which burns really hot and sustains its heat really well,” Josh said. “We get the grill started three-to-four hours before any customers walk in the door. We light the fire, get it hot with flames and then let it burn down to embers which is the best time to cook as the embers produce a consistent heat without burning, as well as a beautiful smoke flavour. The open grill flavour translates wonderfully through the food.”
What’s the best way to experience Wood Fire Grill? Order a few entrees to share with friends. Main courses such as prime rib and whole market fish are also a wonderful way to taste what the open grill has to offer.
For more visit www.woodfiregrill.com.au