What's better than dining at an ocean front restaurant?
Not much, especially with a view like this. I was blown away by the surreal twilight landscape, the massive oceanic gentleness and the post-rain glittering rainbow! Yes, and the whales were seen migrating that afternoon as well. Gorgeous ain't it?
Twilight and rainbow over ocean
The restaurant was small but each table was arranged to take optimal advantage of the 180 degree views. Facing the ocean (versus harbour) also meant the views weren't as stunning once dark so if any of you readers out there are thinking of dining here, I'd suggest you arrive early before sunset as I did.
Table with pink sea salt flakes on oyster shell and sparkling water
Me and Zen
Entree of black lip abalone and pork san choy bow ($22)
Zen started off with an entree of san choy bow with slices of black lip abalone which was on the specials menu. It was aromatic with flavours of garlic, ginger, shallots and chilli. Reminiscing Peter Gilmore's sea pearls at Quay, I had to order the sea treasures; a tantalising quadruplet of wasabi tobikko oyster, sand crab and prawn salad, steamed bug with pastry and vanilla sauce and silky sweet scallop sashimi with brown trout pearls.
Entree of sea treasures ($22)
Keeping within the specials menu, Zen had the main course of crisp king salmon fillet with Moreton Bay bugs. Although not as tasty as the crusted flathead with prawn consomme I'd recently had at Flying Fish, this was bloody good.
Main course of crisp king salmon fillet with Moreton Bay bugs in tomato and saffron broth ($39)
With a wide selection of seafood utensils laid out, I was well prepared to attack the cold seafood platter. Soon enough, an impressive arrangement of scampi, clams, prawns, mussels, crab, oysters, kiwi fruit, oranges and grapes were brought out on a bed of rocket and watercress leaves. It was divine!
My set of cutlery
Main course of small crustacean, shellfish and seafood cold plate ($32 small & $58 large)
Complimentary side dish of mashed potato
These homemade chips were incredible as well... they were piping hot, crunchy on the outside and soft and starchy on the inside. I love my carbs!
Side dish of homemade chips and sea salt ($8.50)
Cocktail - Thai Foon, crushed limes, sugar, kaffir lime leaves ($12.50)
Mocktail - Dynamite, pineapple, cranberry, orange, grenadine and bitters ($7.50)
Palette cleanser of aloe vera granita
A bonus here was the service - genuine, casual, attentive and professional, exactly what you'd expect at the Central Coast but not so much at a fine dining restaurant. Our lovely waitress surprised us with these complimentary glasses of port to wash down our dessert. Then to top off the night, we had two rather remarkable desserts.
Complimentary shot of port
Not being able to decide between two items, I convinced Zen to get the goats cheese icecream which was served with a fruity and sweet rhubarb and strawberry consomme and hazelnut tuille. The different textures and flavours were simply sublime when eaten together. And as a huge ginger fan, I had the gingerbread parfait which was creamy and perfect... it was crusted with caramelised bits of toffee and crushed gingerbread. I also loved the bitter sweet combination of black cherries with kitsch and liquorice sauce. As you can see below, the blended colours were seductive and truly marvelous.
Dessert of goats cheese icecream and quince sherbet served with rhubarb and strawberry consomme and hazelnut tuille ($16)
Dessert of gingerbread parfait with black cherries, kitsch and liquorice sauce ($16)
With food and a view this good (and for a fraction of the usual cost), i can understand why the masses are making the move from Sydney to Central Coast. This is one restaurant I'll be coming back to every time i'm in the neighbourhood.
102 Ocean Parade, Blue Bay, The Entrance, NSW