SEVERAL local eateries have received lavish praise in the new 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, which was launched last week.
The guide included a strong showing from the many fantastic restaurants in regional NSW, and the Illawarra, South Coast and Snowy were no exception
They included Bacchus at Milton, listed for the first time this year.
The review stated, “Bacchus does a great impression of a cafe with its appealing breakfasts and leaf teas. But if you thought the umbrellas and French-style wicker pavement furniture were much like any of Milton’s many cafes, think again.
“Come lunch and dinner, with Centennial Parklands alumnus Darren Foots in the kitchen and a drinks list curated by wine writer Greg Duncan Powell (who also does time in the kitchen), the differences become clear. “Simplicity is key: from a plate of sizzling chorizo slices with a big chilli hit to just-shucked Clyde River oysters with chardonnay vinegar and Worcestershire dressing. Flathead fillets are crunchily beer-and-vodka battered with incredible thrice-cooked chips and garlic mayo spiked with bush lemon pepper.”
Of Cupitt’s vineyard kitchen, the guide stated, “If the Mollymook surf’s not up, there are few more pleasant ways to spend an afternoon than lunching inland at Cupitt’s.
“From the warm welcome and smart service to the magnificent views over vines and valley, everything here is geared towards taking it slow and easy. Indeed, winemaker/owner Rosie Cupitt is the local Slow Food
leader, and chef Russell Chinn brings that philosophy to a menu that’s a little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll.
“Spanking fresh devilled whitebait is served with a spiced mayo, while grilled cuttlefish gets added zing from a finger-lime dip. Rustic
main courses go mod, such as a juicy, fennel seed-fragrant roasted baby chicken, served on a wooden board with gem lettuce salad and kipflers (sadly, not roasted); or crisp-skinned john dory fillets on a chorizo spiked saffron pearl couscous with mussels in a white wine broth.”
Rick Stein at Bannisters was describes as “a must-do destination, despite interiors and lighting erring towards the bland (so book a table on the deck, dine early and enjoy the light playing on the ocean).
“Naturally, quality seafood stars, from battered barra with fat chips and mushy peas to lobster thermidor.
“Elsewhere are enjoyable oddities such as an entree of oysters charentaise, served on ice with an accompanying dish of nicely granular spicy sausages.
“A plump lobster raviolo comes over-doused in beurre blanc;
likewise, a sweet, tender fillet of grilled mahi mahi. Spicing is gentle in an Indonesian seafood curry, the ling, mahi mahi, squid and king prawns delicately cooked in the soupy sauce.”
St Isidore also impressed, with the guide saying, “The menu unequivocally declares its intent: ‘We use and support happy farmers, happy free-ranging animals and produce grown with a little bit o’ love’.
“Chef Alex Delly runs a serenely creative (occasionally slow) kitchen, aided by courteous, friendly waiters.
An entree of garden tomatoes is a picture of summer, with a goat’s curd-filled zucchini flower and cubes of barely pickled watermelon; while slow-cooked Junee lamb shoulder is almost spoonably soft, served with quinoa tabbouleh enlivened by shards of eggplant and haloumi. “
“Crisp-skinned Tasmanian salmon is paired with ribbons of cucumber, wood ear mushrooms and turnip, a hint of miso adding extra umami to the mix.”
Also getting a mention in the guide was the Woodburn Deli
Mollymook Shops, 80 Tallwood Avenue, Mollymook in Mollymook, where “Dot and Sonia, co-owners and impressive cooks, keep everyone happy with delicious cakes, pies, sandwiches and even homemade ice-cream.
“Shelves, tables and fridges groan with quality pantry essentials. And an oven-warm, crumbletopped seasonal fruit muffin is a knockout for breakfast.”
While none of the southern Shoalhaven eateries were awarded chef’s hats, most were close.
Hats were awarded to Caveau in Wollongong, The River at Moruya, Tyler’s Pantry at Mogo, Wharf Road Restaurant and Bar in Nowra, and Zanzibar Café in Merimbula.