Thursday, 8 November 2012

Rick Stein at Bannisters, Mollymook, NSW

Fried whitebait and aioli
Since seeing Rick Stein's Fruits de Mer on Masterchef, I realised that he had a restaurant not too far from home. After a few years of trying, I finally made it to Rick Stein at Bannisters, Mollymook. And WOW, was it worth the wait! I was apprehensive that after looking forward to it for so long, I might be disappointed but if anything, the food (and the whole experience) actually exceeded my expectations.

Tuna sashimi with passionfruit 
Abalone with mirin dressing
From the second we set foot in the door, I felt welcome. It was such a pleasant (but all too uncommon) experience to eat somewhere that the staff seemed generally interested in you and making sure your experience was positive. Nobody rolled their eyes at us, nobody scoffed at our bad pronunciation of some dishes and most importantly, they all knew their food and seemed proud of what they were bringing out.

Lobster thermidor
Bourride with harissa toast 
The menu is, not surprisingly, heavy on the seafood. There was a good choice of both entrees and mains and I can't really say anything other than every bite was perfect and this was truly the best restaurant meal I have ever had. Every piece of seafood was tender and succulent, the flavours of each dish jumped out but didn't overwhelm. Amazing. And as someone who generally prefers savoury to sweet, what a shock I had when the dish of the night for me was the soft  meringue roulade - heaven on a plate!

Soft meringue roulade with macadamia cream and passionfruit

Chocolate pudding with salted caramel ice cream
The price of mains is around the $50 mark, entrees and desserts were from $20-$30. Given the quality of food and service as well as the great location, I think this is reasonable.

If you are visiting the south coast, Rick Stein at Bannisters is a cut above and well worth a visit.

Rick Stein at Bannisters is located at 191 Mitchell Parade, Mollymook. 

Mollymook is around three hours south of Sydney or two hours and forty minutes from Canberra.
PS - A big thanks to the team at Bannisters who sent me a signed copy of Rick's book!! Over the moon, stoked, love it!! x

Useful links:
 Rick Stein at Bannisters

  Rick Stein at Bannisters on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Candelo Markets

The Candelo Market is held on the first Sunday each month on the banks of the Candelo River. It is easy to find sprawling across the park and also into the Candelo Town Hall. The only thing that may be difficult to find is a parking space nearby but there is plenty available if you are willing to walk for a block or two.

It is reputedly the biggest market on the south coast and the hype which surrounds this market is pretty justified. Even in the middle of winter when a lot of markets seem to shrink down to only the die-hard stall holders and shoppers, Candelo is still buzzing.
Fresh fruit and veges, Candelo Market
Glassware, Candelo Market 
Jewellery, Candelo Market
Fairy floss - Candelo Market
Hens for sale, Candelo Market
Candelo Market has such a huge variety of stalls, most of which offer some really unique and quality items - fresh fruit and vegetables, spices, sauces, small goods, fudge, poffertjes, spring rolls, fresh juice, coffee, toffee apples, nuts, honey....and that is just some of the food on offer. Then there are the mountains of plants including natives, fruit trees, succulents, seeds and indoor plants. There are hand made clothes, jewellery, wood furniture, glassware and seriously just about any thing else in between.
Fresh flowers, Candelo Market
Smallgoods,  Candelo Markey

Plants, Candelo Market
The other thing which made Candelo market so much fun was that everybody there seemed to be having a good time and everybody was friendly.

So when you are next in the market for pretty much anything you can imagine, you will probably be able to get it at Candelo Market.

Sauces, Candelo Market
Wooden furniture, Candelo Market 
Preserves and fragrances, Candelo market 
Spring rolls and Samosas, Candelo Markey 
Dutch Pancakes, Canelo Market
Goat milk soap, Candelo Market

Useful links:

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Zen X (Japanese) Teppanyaki and Sushi Bar, Wagga Wagga

Tempura prawn and avocado sushi, Zen X Japanese, Wagga Wagga
Chicken teriyaki, Zen X Japanese, Wagga Wagga
Red Lanterns. Check. Origami cranes. Check. Stone sculpture in pebbles. Check. All of the Japanese restaurant cliches are to be found at Zen X in Wagga Wagga! The fact that there is a Japanese restaurant in Wagga at all is one of those nice, unexpected things that country NSW throws at you every now and again.

Zen X offers up the standard Japanese menu with sushi, teriyaki chicken, yakitori and a few other faithful favourites jostling for position on the menu. Zen X provides a nice little touch with free wasabi peas and pickled vegetables on arrival. The standard of the food is reasonable - it is fresh and tasty but not a blow-your socks-off amazing experience. However, it is more than good enough to satisfy your cravings for all things Japanese while you are in Wagga Wagga. The real winner on the menu is the tempura prawn sushi and the miso soup is also above standard.
Zen X Japanese Wagga Wagga
The service at Zen X is all softly spoken politeness and the food comes out with accuracy and efficiency which is not always the case in country NSW where time seems to run at a generally slower and more peaceful pace.

Zen X is located at xx and also offers a teppanyaki experience and private tatami rooms if you are looking to celebrate.

Miso soup, Zen X Japanese, Wagga Wagga
Tatami rooms, Zen X Japanese, Wagga Wagga

Useful Links:
Zen X on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

40 Cafe and Eatery - a little bit of Irish, Cooma

40 Cafe, Cooma
The sign above the entrance to 40 Cafe promises 'a little bit of Irish'. Walk through the door and you will see a LOT of U2. Bono and Co. are immortalised in works of art which line the walls looking over an eclectic and cosy collection of furniture. 
U2 art at 40 Cafe, Cooma
Parts of the menu are also dedicated to U2 with burgers bearing the names of band members. The food offered up is standard cafe fare. Breakfast includes pancakes, home-made baked beans and the Edge's epic bacon and egg roll. Lunch includes burgers, melts, foccacias and soupBoth the savouries and sweets are generous, homely comfort food. Almost all of it is prepared on-site. The scones are MASSIVE, the cake cabinet is brimming with goodies and the coffee (Bun Coffee of Byron Bay) is good here too.
Portugese tart and cappucino, 40 Cafe, Cooma
Quiche, 40 Cafe, Cooma
Along with the food, 40 Cafe also serves up live music on Saturday nights which adds another option if you are in Cooma for the weekend. 

40 Cafe is located at 89 Sharp Street, Cooma. 

Useful Links:
40 Cafe Winter Menu
Cooma Music -40 Cafe

40 Cafe & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Sundance Bakery, Nuggets Crossing, Jindabyne

Chunky beef pie, Sundance, Jindabyne
Pies, Sundance, Jindabyne
If you are heading to or from the snowfields and you need a snack to satisfy the appetite, the Sundance Bakery is a good choice for a quick bite. It isn't the healthiest choice and certainly not the place if you want a five- star experience but if you are looking for a tasty snack in casual surrounds, Sundance is the place.

The empty-ish shelves in the pictures are a good indicator that the food at Sundance gets snapped up early, especially in the winter ski season. Everything is baked on the premises daily and not kept overnight. Sundance offers a variety of pies and sausage rolls, sandwiches, tarts, strudel and delicious hot, fresh donuts and loaves of bread. Sundance also do a decent coffee if you are after a bit of caffeine to get you going.

Jam donut, Sundance, Jindabyne
Pies and pastries, Sundance, Jindabyne
Sundance is located at Shop 13, Nuggets Crossing complex, Jindabyne, NSW. It is open from 6am to 6pm.
Latte, Sundance, Jindabyne
Sweet treats, Sundance, Jindabyne
Fresh rolls and wraps, Sundance, Jindabyne
Sundance Bakehouse & Tea Rooms on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Aldo's Cafe, Perisher Valley, NSW

The Godfather pizza, Aldo's Cafe, Perisher
Aldo's Cafe looks unassuming from the outside but don't be put off! The food here is delicious, the views are great and the atmosphere is relaxed. Aldo's dishes up a mainly Italian menu but there are a few little surprises in the mix as part of their Aldo's Lights (tapas style) menu.

The pizza at Aldo's is mouth wateringly good with toppings to suit every palate from the simple ham and pineapple through to the Godfather. I have tried a few now and haven't been disappointed yet. As well as the pizza and tapas, there are also pasta, risotto and fish dishes on the menu.
Mussels, Aldo's Cafe, Perisher
Aldo's is licensed with a selection of beer, wine, spirits and cider on offer. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available throughout the winter season but it can get busy during peak times and lunch bookings aren't taken so plan ahead so you aren't left waiting for too long.

Aldo's Cafe is located on the upper level of the Perisher Ski Tube Terminal.

Useful Links:

Aldo's Cafe Website (includes a full menu).
Perisher Resort

The view from Aldo's Cafe, Perisher
Aldo's Cafe and Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Brunelli's, Perisher Valley, NSW

Brunelli's, Perisher Valley
Mocha, Brunelli's, Perisher Valley
Brunelli's Casa del Caffe Bon is a great little cafe tucked away amongst the madness of the Perisher Valley Ski Resort. Actually, it is probably better described as a key contributor to the madness. It is full of people clunking around in ski boots and wearing the manic head-wear that is only acceptable at ski-resorts and costume parties.

Step within 5 meters of the place and you will hear the voice of Bruno hollering coffee orders from beneath his shock of white hair. He churns them out with precision as the queue hobbles forward balancing baskets of sweets and ski poles.
Portugese tart, Brunelli's, Perisher Valley

Biscotti, Brunelli's, Perisher Valley
Hot chocolate, Brunelli's, Perisher Valley
I don't quite understand the baskets but I guess they save washing up and waste. I filled mine with a delicious Portugese tart and a biscotti which more bread-like than the tough crunch I expected. The hot chocolate with frothy marshmallows swimming on top is just what you need to fortify yourself for a trip up the mountain and the coffee is great too.

Whilst Brunelli's is a little pricey, the prime location and seasonal nature of the place probably justify it. If you are at Perisher and you need either caffeine or entertainment, pay Bruno a visit.

Brunelli's Perisher Valley