February 7, 2020 / By Nicole West
If you’re looking to excite your taste buds, head to the Central Coast and explore its foodie scene. With a mix of new restaurants, bars and cafes, and local favourites, you can eat your way from Hardys Bay to Gosford, and Erina to Ettalong. Tip: wear your comfy pants with plenty of room to expand as you won't want to hold back!
Bombini, Avoca Beach
Bombini is derived from the tribal name, 'bumblebee' and it stands for the sustainable practices the owners, Cameron and Hayley Cansdell, strive to uphold. With their own veggie garden on the two acre property, you can look forward to succulent, seasonal produce to accompany innovative dishes like grilled whole snapper with native myrtle and pepperberry glaze, with curry leaves, spiced eggplant and tomato salad. Wash it down with a choice of Italian, French and Australian wines or splash out and have a Bellini cocktail. If pizza is calling your name, enjoy the smell of a wood fired pizza oven on the undercover terrace...and then feast on creations featuring tasty toppings like buffalo mozzarella, spanner crab and roast suckling pig.
The Bon Pavilion, Gosford
Under the guidance of celebrity chef, Sean Connolly, The Bon Pavilion beckons foodies to the ground floor of the Bonython Tower. With the Expresso Bar, Bon Bon Bar, Public Bar and Bonfire restaurant, you can easily spend an entire day and/or night here. Extravagant decor inspired by the Burnt Australian palette and urban street art provides the backdrop to dishes featuring premium local produce. Pop in for breakfast at Bon Espresso to try a smoked salmon tartine with dill, cream cheese, red onion, capers and sourdough toast. If you’re a mushroom fan, sink your teeth into an Orgy of Mushrooms, with ricotta and gnocchi at Bonfire. The kids are well catered for too, with chicken nuggets, the Bon Burger and doughnut holes to finish.
The Lucky Bee, Hardys Bay
You don’t have to jet off to Southeast Asia to get a taste of the famed street food. Just jump in the car for a trip to Hardys Bay and The Lucky Bee. You’ll know you’re in for a treat if you’ve dined at their other venue, Frankie’s Rooftop at Woy Woy. Aussie restaurateurs, Rupert Noffs and Matty Bennett, swapped their Manhattan venue for the Central Coast, as they seek a change from big city life. Here, you’ll get a taste of what celebrities enjoyed in the Big Apple, including share plates like Szechuan pepper and salt whole fried fish, with sweet chilli and Prik Nam Pla sauce and rice. Wash it down with a glass of white, rosé or red and grab a gift card on the way out for a foodie friend’s birthday.
Smoke on the Water Cafe, Ettalong Beach
Ettalong Beach is home to Australia’s first ‘Amsterdam themed’ coffee shop, offering hemp products for healthy living. If you’re searching for delicious lactose and dairy-free options, you’ll find macadamia, almond, soy, coconut and, of course, hemp milk to top up your morning brew, milkshake or smoothie. To go with it, scrumptious cakes and pastries include blueberry bagels, called ‘purple buttholes’, hemp banana bread with mascarpone cheese, croissants, vegan cakes and more. While you’re at Smoke on the Water Cafe, you can do a spot of shopping with hemp-inspired clothing, beauty products and Colombian beans to take home.
Bar Botanica, Erina
What could be better than gelato in the midst of lush gardens on a sunny day? Add gin and coffee to the mix and you might just find heaven at Bar Botanica. Set in the grounds of Distillery Botanica, you can indulge in the courtyard or while ensconced on a cozy picnic blanket. Set in a rustic, mud-brick hut with hand painted botanical motifs, it’s the creation of Julia and Dan Hughes, the masterminds behind Mr Goaty Gelato. Hit the desert straight up if your sweet tooth is calling, with a honeycomb and lavender gelato. Or, try garden-fresh dishes like a ploughman's lunch with white anchovies in lemon and chilli, gin-infused cheddar and garden marinated olives.
South End Social, Gosford
Another trendy addition to Gosford’s dining scene, South End Social offers a vibrant, city cafe vibe that spans fresh-roasted coffee for breakfast, brunch on a sunny terrace and after-hours cocktails in stylish surrounds. Modern tiles and drop lights give it a luxurious feel, along with comfortable booths for long lunches with friends. The small plates menu lets you snack all day and night on tempura mushrooms, pork belly bao or lemon cheesecake crumble. Munch on house-made pumpkin polenta loaf for breaky or tuck into a lunchtime shredded chicken papaya salad.
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