I love local trips away. All the excitement of visiting a new area without the trauma of worrying about forgetting to pack something crucial, and the possibility of not being able to purchase it in another part of the world. Apart from the romance of staying at (mostly) nice places away from home, I’m definitely making up for lost time having not done any domestic travel when younger.
Monsieur Poisson and I arrived at our bed and breakfast late on a Friday afternoon for a weekend away at Jervis Bay. After having researched some places at which to eat (Foodies will always research places for dining over activities, amenities and tourist attractions – eating IS the attraction!) and chatting with the owner of the B&B, we made a reservation for that evening at Seagrass Brasserie.
Roads in the
area are wide, mostly without traffic lights and limited to driving at 50 kilometres per hour. Parking is definitely not an issue here. We walk up a few stairs beneath the massive shade-cloths and arrive at Seagrass a little ahead of time. We are only the second table there and are given a choice of seating – we decide on a cosy spot near a window in the corner. Jervis Bay
We order drinks and soon after they are served we are presented with an amuse bouche of coconut chicken with Hoisin sauce on cos lettuce leaves – you eat it rolled-up, somewhat like ‘sang choi bau’ (生菜包). The leaves are a little tough and the flavours of the filling are not the best example of fusion-cuisine, being somewhere between Chinese and South-East Asian.
Thankfully the rest of our meal is much, much better. Not being very hungry, we order two entrées and a main meal to share. I am in need of something comforting so I go with the seafood chowder with garlic croûte which is fresh, robust, warming and not too creamy. It is punctuated by small bites of mussels, prawns and salmon.
Monsieur Poisson has the remoulade of prawn and soft-shell crab. The soft shreds of prawn and crab meat are held in shape by a thin ribbon of cucumber. It’s beautifully presented with a garlicky croûte balanced on top at an angle that is garnished with cod roe and a tuft of alfalfa sprouts.
Aided by the drizzling of a green sauce of fine herbs, it is refreshing and cooling and tastes of the ocean.
We share the grilled whole lemon sole which is served on a bed of creamy risotto with peas, caper-butter sauce and, interestingly, ‘choi sum’ (菜心). The skin is crispy and the flesh is wonderfully soft. I like the risotto even more than the fish but it does get a little greasy where it is mingling with the sauce.
Now although we decided to share a main that is no cause to skip dessert! We order the citrus tart with vanilla ice-cream to share and the dish arrives decorated with berries and a berry coulis. The tart filling is tangy and smooth without being too runny or creamy and the crust is wonderfully crumbly. We polish it off over conversation.
The following day we take a scenic walk along the coast and I pick up afternoon tea from Husky Bakery Café on the way back. This quaint little bakery has quite a lot of seating inside as well as in the courtyard to the side of the store. It serves sweets as well as savouries and offers some plump-looking scones. I purchase a chocolate espresso tart which has a buttery, crumbly crust holding a dark, silky centre adorned with a white chocolate lattice.
Having been on a walk, we’ve worked up quite an appetite for dinner. We decide on trying the local Stonegrill as I have seen the concept on travel shows but never experienced it myself. After walking into an almost empty restaurant the previous evening we decide against making a reservation.
Oh, how wrong we were not to!
Our request for a table is met with disdain when the staff member realises we do not have a booking. A man who I presume is the manager tells us a table could be available soon, but that we would have to finish our meals within the hour to make way for a reservation. Having set our heart on this being our dinner location and, for lack of local knowledge of other dining places, we decide to take his ‘offer’.
I order the fillet steak but for only $5 more I could have enjoyed their deal which included a small entrée and dessert as well. However, being pressed for time I thought it best just to stick with the main meal. There is a choice of sauces and sides to the meat so I have pepper sauce and Mediterranean vegetables that strangely translates as a lot of potato with the occasional piece of capsicum and eggplant. Monsieur Poisson’s side of Mediterranean vegetables is mainly eggplant in contrast to my potato, potato, potato.
The cut of meat ordered is served raw on a volcanic stone which has been heated to 400°C, so it arrives hot and sizzling, allowing you to cut off pieces as small or large as you like to cook to your own liking. This is fun for me for a while until little bits get stuck on the stone here and there. The sauce is also nothing special and the whole experience leaves us feeling full but not satisfied.
We leave to return to
Sydney the next day and stop by en route. The autumnal trees paint the streets bright red and orange despite the sky being grey and rainy. We check out the markets and I stumble upon a chocolate store – The Chocolate Shop. Within I discover Cacao chocolates being sold which I have not seen since visiting Berry five years prior! Melbourne
The display is full of neatly arranged rows and rows of handmade chocolates decorated in various bright colours. I am overwhelmed by choice but I can do nothing to resist the charms of the compartmentalised wooden boxes as gifts for girlfriends and, of course, myself!
Tel: (02) 4441 6124
Opening Hours: Sat & Sun 11:30am-3pm
Tel: (02) 4441 5015
Opening Hours: 7 days 7am-4pm
48 Owen St, Huskisson NSW
Tel: (02) 4441 7070
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs 7am-10pm
The Chocolate Shop
NSW 70 Albert St, Berry
Tel: (02) 4464 3318