Sorry, if you find this personally insulting (I know there’s some chefs who will have me assassinated for saying this) but potato is one of those boring vegetables. It’s white and starchy and fairly bland and has received the greatest double-edged compliment you can give a food—it’s been described as ‘a staple’.
But like bread, its simplicity is also its strength. Potatoes are insanely versatile. You could eat a different potato dish every day for a year and not double up; there are more potato varieties than there are Real Housewives franchises; and despite its localised beginnings, it’s now used across just about every cuisine in the world.
So, gnocchi, fries, pancakes or mash, who is dishing up the best potato dishes across the Sunshine Coast?
The winter menu at Periwinkle has just landed, and you’ll want to get there ASA-freakin’P to try this epic cold-weather dish. Slow-braised beef short ribs, foie gras and brioche with a cep mushroom sauce and Pommes Anna—finely sliced, layered, buttery potatoes that literally melt in your mouth. #notevenkidding
The people have spoken, and the crew at Junk have listened. The epic Gangnam loaded fries are now a permanent fixture on the menu—made with Junk-spiced fries, housemade kimchi and nacho cheese sauce. And when too much kimchi still isn’t enough, throw in a serve of chicken katsu bao.
Skal Coffee has made its mark on the Sunshine Coast with its spectacular coffee. But now, with a just-launched brunch menu on offer, we've got a completely different motive for hanging out at this Peregian Beach cafe. Our pick of the bunch? The seriously addictive cider corned beef, potato and Swiss cheese fritters with poached eggs, housemade pickles and horseradish cream.
Burgers, dawgs, po’boys and all-day brekky. If you need another reason to hit up Good Bar, their chilli fries are it. Head down for live music and beers on the weekend, order up a few bowls of these bad boys to share and you’ll immediately be appointed the social guru of your crew.
If you want to get your potato fix, but still feel kinda virtuous, pop in to Elixiba and try their hand-cut sweet potato and beetroot chips. Tossed with Elixiba’s secret spice mix, you just need a cheeky Finger Lime Martini to wash it down, and you’ll be positively glowing with good vibes.
The 72-hour slow-fermented organic sourdough pizza bases at El Capitano are pretty much our version of foodie heaven. Throw in sweet potato, caramelised onion, cashew purée and spicy dukkah, and we’re talking realms of amazingness beyond what our puny minds can even imagine.
Harvest Breads + Cafe
Even though we eat at Harvest at least once a week, we hardly ever seem to get here in time for breakfast. But when we do, the potato and feta pancakes are at the top of my list. Order the smoked salmon version, watch the sun sparkle over Cotton Tree and reflect on how perfect life can be.
Treat yo’self to the potato and pancetta pizza from Via Italia. With chilli, garlic and a squeeze of lemon, we defy you to resist scoffing the whole thing.
It’s your local neighbourhood Indian but not as you know it. Deepak’s serves up some of the best Indian vego dishes we've had anywhere (and I’m not even vegetarian). Saag aloo—a classic Indian dish of potatoes and spinach—is a favourite among the Cooroy locals, and we reckon you should try anything with paneer too.
If you’re not up for a full meal (who even ARE you?) Locale’s Cicchetti menu—bar snacks—are perfect for pairing with a sexy cocktail. Gnocchi di zucca, ricotta e patata dolce is a mouthful to say (even more of a mouthful to eat!) and translates to pumpkin, sweet potato and buffalo ricotta gnocchi with ricotta sage cream. We just call it lust-worthy.
Maroochydore & Caloundra
If you haven't experienced the joy of Hello Harry's burgers yet, you’ll want to drop whatever you’re doing and get there NOW. It’s a tough choice between the crispy onion rings and the chunky fries with special HH seasoning, so we’ve come up with a solution. Get both. #sorted
Wood Fire Grill
Whoever invented Hasselback potatoes deserves some kind of medal. A large potato is sliced thinly almost all the way through, leaving the base intact. As it bakes, the slices on the top fan open and suck up whatever goodies you baste them with—in this case, confit garlic, butter and parmesan. We salute you, Mr Hasselback! Oh, and you too, Wood Fire Grill.
Yet again, Pitchfork proves their hardcore commitment to quality food. Something as simple as a potato puree is executed perfectly, with a silky smooth texture—miles away from the lumpy, gluey mash your nanna used to serve up.
The Velo Project
Being the most important meal of the day, we’d be remiss not to include some potato brekky dishes. And hands down one of the best is the quinoa & potato hash with grilled haloumi from The Velo Project. Add a couple of eggs if you’re feeling super-peckish!
Made Sunshine Plaza
If you’re sick of food court junk, take a short detour to Made for shopping centre sandwiches like you wouldn’t BELIEVE. Order a serve of signature thick cut chips with special seasoning and truffle salt, followed by a s’more Lindt chocolate ice cream cookie sandwich (phew, that’s a mouthful!), and feel sorry for all the suckers eating their fast food.
Prefer your pork belly to your potatoes? We got you!
Image credit: Federica Portentoso