The South Coast seems to becoming somewhat of a gastronomic destination with a number of places making the foodie bucket list such as St Isidore and Cupitt’s kitchen. However, the famous and favoured seafood restaurant by Rick Stein is holding its own. It is located in the luxury getaway boutique hotel, Bannisters in Mollymook. You don’t have to be staying in the facility to eat in the restaurant. We often pay this place a visit on our journey down the south coast and have dined here on a number of occasions. If you’re planning on heading down, it’s a 3. 5 drive from Sydney and certainly is worth it.
The restaurant itself is a little above the ‘casual’ description in its decor, dimly lit and small tables set with wine glasses to provide an intimate setting. We find the place to have comfortable feeling, which the attentive wait staff help to create with no element of pretentiousness. We also like the art that adorns the walls, in particular the mosaic style tiles and there is somewhat of a beachy / nautical vibe which makes sense given its proximity to Mollymook beach and its cuisine.
The restaurant’s namesake Rick Stein is a world renowned British celebrity chef who has travelled the world trying out different foods and putting together a number of easy to follow and creative cookbooks, as well as establishing a cooking school. He’s got a number of restaurants in the UK and lucky for us, one in Mollymook, Australia and recently another at Port Stephens. He’s been known to describe this as his ‘home away from home’. We love the thought and care put into the menu in Mollymook. It draws produce from the region and incorporates inspiration from flavours around the world. Current head chef Ryan Smith and his team produce simple quality seafood, prepared remarkably well. There are some menu items, like the fish pie, which transcends the test of time, remaining a staple on the menu. Other items seasonally change but you can pretty much guarantee your favourites will remain.
We began with oysters, which has got to be the way when at a quality seafood restaurant. The freshly shucked oysters were served with an eschallot vinegar. We had a mix of the Jase Finlay rock oysters, glenn Jones rock oysters and the ralston rock oysters so we could have a little variety. Large and creamy, flavoured with lemon and the vinegar, these oysters paired well with a glass of Champagne.
From the entree list, we had the fresh Sashimi of swordfish, salmon and tuna. Three slices of each fish, served with wakame salad, pickled ginger and wasabi provided an incredibly fresh start to the dining experience.
One of the highlights of our menu choices was the warm shellfish; a plate full of clams, oysters, mussels, blue swimmer crab, scallops and prawns, seasoned with garlic and lemon juice. This dish was one of those meals that deserves kudos for being simple, but incredibly tasty.
On other visits we’ve tried the coconut chilli prawns which are also very good, but there’s plenty of other options like the spanner crab linguine, mussels masala, or fish tacos to name a few.
We had a party of three so shared the steamed whole snapper with ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, topped with garlic and shallots. The Asian flavours worked well with the soft fish, which fell off the bone beautifully. We also like the blue eyed cod with tomato based chickpea sauce.
We always love the fish pie that we regularly order this. A hot plate filled with salmon, blue eyed Trevalla, snapper, scallops, mushrooms and prawns in a creamy fish veloute sauce with black truffles and topped with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Although there’s different ingredients, they complement each other well. You’d be hard pressed to find a better fish pie.
We’ve previously tried the Indonesian seafood curry and Sri Lankan curry which are also good, and for the traditionalists out there, they do have a battered fish (snapper) and chips.
Order a couple of sides of fries, green beans or rice and you’ve got yourself a pretty good dinner. If you’re dining with a non seafood eater, there is a pine mushroom risotto or scotch fillet.
We also shared some desserts, their version of an affogato; raisin ice cream with Pedro Jimenez sherry, hot espresso and almond biscotti, as well was the and the apple and rhubarb crumble. They have chocolate based desserts, a Brûlée as well as a pancotta and selection of cheese if that’s more up your alley.
If you want to try a good amount of offerings on the menu, save up your pennies and head down for a wonderful dining experience. It’s one of our favourite seafood restaurants in Australia and we’ll most certainly be back.
We’d like to thank the restaurant for their hospitality and in particular honouring our expired gift voucher. We also were kindly provided their shuttle bus to our accomodation – down in Mollymook beach.
191 Mitchell Parade, Mollymook, NSW
For bookings, head to the website or calling directly on (02) 4455 3044.