According to SMH on 27th December, 2011.
Angie Schiavone selects 10 of the central coast’s best places for gourmets.
1 LA TARTINE
Nick and Laurence Anthony have been leavening loaves – including their best-selling fruit bread, packed with figs, apricots and almonds – at this certified organic bakery for 13 years. They supply a large number of businesses in the region, from the Crowne Plaza to cafes such as Bellyfish at Terrigal, and sell bread at farmers’ markets including Avoca Growers’ Market. On Fridays from 10am, they open their off-the-beaten-track bakery to the public. It’s not something they advertise but they’re always busy: such is the pulling power of a La Tartine loaf fresh from the oven.
Shop 2, 111 Wisemans Ferry Road, Somersby, 4340 0299.
The ”Best Gourmet Pies in the Universe” claim is big, but they’re pretty damn good. Owner Ron Bruns opened the bakery 22 years ago, naming it after his home town in Germany, where he developed his passion for good-quality food. Bruns’s pie-making skills were learnt after arriving in Australia in 1983 and over the years he’s accumulated scores of awards, many from the annual Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition, most recently for his rabbit gumbo pie. Alongside the serious gourmet pies is the super-hot ”Flaming Ron”. Trying it requires signing a waiver!
302 West Street, Umina, 4341 4177.
3 MANGROVE MOUNTAIN COUNTRY MARKETS
There are food-focused markets at Avoca, The Entrance, Gosford and Ettalong but this one, about 40 kilometres inland, is particularly appealing. The Country Women’s Association is there with jam and scones, mushroom grower Kim Margin sells his Swiss browns and portobellos, harvested that morning at Woy Woy and so fresh they’re still pink-gilled. Mangrove Mountain local Michael Champion of Champion Organics sells a range of vegetables and Shelley and Anthony Luci of Green Mile Stud have goat meat for sale while also serving barbecued snags and goat kofta.
Last Sunday of each month, 9am-2pm, corner Wisemans Ferry and Waratah roads, Mangrove Mountain.
4 GLEE COFFEE ROASTERS
Brothers Ben and Chris Gleeson have been in the coffee industry for a decade, starting Glee about three years ago. The self-proclaimed ”coffee gleeks” are super-keen about beans and happy to discuss them. Along with the house roast called Akiko, a full-bodied blend of five single-origins, is a second grinder with single-origin beans. The cool-looking set-up is in an industrial area off the tourist track at Tuggerah, where the men roast beans and run a cafe. Stop in for a quick bite and coffee – including filtered coffees, such as syphon and pour-over – or buy beans to go.
Unit 1, 5 Joule Place, Tuggerah, 4353 4410.
5 FIRESCREEK FRUIT WINES
Winemaker Peter Buteux has turned the expression ”stop and smell the roses” on its head with his rose-petal wine, made with roses and grapes from the beautiful one-hectare property. Firescreek makes fruit-, flower- and herb-based wines – always in small batches, often with fruit sourced from the property or locally. The expectation is fruit wines are sweet but the range here includes dry drops. The lime is a must-try; it was show champion at the this year’s Perth Royal Show.
Cellar door tastings, Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm,
192 Wattle Tree Road, Holgate, 4365 0768.
6 MANFREDI AT BELLS
The best-known and only chef’s-hatted restaurant on the central coast, Manfredi at Bells wows visitors with its setting and culinary credentials. It has the goods from its soothing white-and-royal-blue-toned restaurant to the vegie patches that inspire and supply the kitchen, the wine list and menu of tempting Italian food from chefs Stefano Manfredi and Cameron Cansdell. On-site villas mean you can dine and stay.
107 The Scenic Road, Killcare Heights, 4360 2411.
7 FLAIR RESTAURANT
The main-road location and modest interior don’t quite prepare you for the intricate food artistry at this restaurant run by Jason and Deysi Martin. Chef Jason puts hours of work into his dazzling dishes, transforming pan-fried Petuna ocean trout, or a trio of pork, into beautifully composed creations with an array of flavours. A long-time central coaster, Martin has come full circle, starting his chef’s apprenticeship at this site in the mid-’90s, before cooking at high-end restaurants in Britain.
1/488 The Entrance Road, Erina Heights, 4365 2777.
The beach might be a couple of hundred metres away but, with its decor of cool blues and whites, Lotus distils the calm of the coast, adding seriously good food and coffee to the mix. Owners Lawry and Wendy Gordon ran Flair Restaurant for several years before trading fine dining for cut-above-cafe fare two years ago. They’re open daily for brekkie and lunch, and the most popular order is for poached eggs with asparagus, topped with crisp prosciutto. Coffee is Toby’s Estate. The double-ristretto piccolo latte is a must.
127A Ocean View Drive, Wamberal, 4385 9260.
9 THE FAT GOOSE
It’s an old custom for Hardys Bay locals to meet under the yum yum trees by the pier for afternoon beers and talk, and the quirky name of these trees seems to have inspired the local providores. Among a few double-yum-worthy dining options is this bakery-deli-cafe that makes its own bread, pastries, pies and quiches daily. They’ll prepare picnic hampers on request if you prefer the great outdoors to their pleasant courtyard seating.
Shop 3, Killcare Road, Hardys Bay, 4360 1888.
10 BRISBANE WATER OYSTERS
Got your 2012 diary yet? Make a note, mid-November, about the Brisbane Water Oyster Festival. This 11-year-old annual event showcases the local oyster industry and features all sorts of seafood-centric activities, including oyster- and prawn-eating competitions. At other times of the year, you can try the local seafood at restaurants and fish and chippers around the region, including the fairly upmarket Reef Restaurant and the casual Haven Beach Cafe – all at Haven Beach, Terrigal.