Review by CHLOE WALKER
Spero is the latest culinary venture to don the decks of The Wharf Mooloolaba as renowned Sunshine Coast restaurateur Tony Kelly’s third instalment alongside Saltwater and Riceboi. Despite only being open for five weeks, my expectations of Spero were high considering the the raving success and bustling crowds associated with its sibling venues.
With its no booking policy it’s the perfect place for indecisive millennials like me looking for a last-minute option to avoid cooking. And at 5pm on a Thursday I clearly beat the rush as I am greeted by a sea of vacant tables and generic white stools as the restaurant was all but empty. Although I seemingly go unnoticed by staff with not so much as a hello, they are like a well-oiled machine meticulously placing each glass, knife and fork in position as if preparing for a long battle ahead.
Without further instruction from Spero’s troops I help myself to the menu and take in the eclectic décor with its modern and traditional flavours. My eyes immediately dart from the gladiator-inspired graffiti art that covers the walls to the Santorini-like traditional blue and white tiling decorating the tabletops and bar. Needless to say my senses are at war. I think after glancing at the menu and seeing the words “peanut butter hummus” that my tastebuds might soon have the same experience.
The meals are reasonably priced, ranging from $10 to $22. After placing my order at the bar surrounded by vines, I retrieve my cutlery from a recycled can of Greek tomato paste and before long my meal is served in a traditional terracotta bowl.
Once finding my beef stifado ($22) under a layer of coriander, the slow-cooked beef melts in my mouth. Paired with a tomato gravy and caramelised onions it transports me back to a hearty casserole at my family dinner table. It instantly warms me from the inside out. The rumbling of my stomach is appeased but I feel guilty I can’t devour the whole meal.
Without a word the dishes are removed from the table discreetly, gently suggesting it is time to leave as more customers pour through the door.
If you follow the neon pink lighting emanating from the restaurant’s logo to its chic beach-house-style doorway you be pleased with what Spero has to offer. With its prime location on the water, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail or two after a long haul at work while looking out onto the marina. If you love a good Instagram pic or like cool food spots then Spero is the place for you.
Spero. 123 Parkyn Parade ‘The Wharf”, Mooloolaba, 07 5353 6045. Open 11.30am – 9pm Monday – Sunday. Highest priced meal $22. Beef Stifado $22, Greek fried chicken $12, feta fries $8.