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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Surf Spot Cafe, The Entrance

Jackie's Bowls Shop

A week without internet? It's enough to make any twitterer clutch their chest with panic.

But you know what? It is possible. Truly.

I spent my Easter break up at The Entrance with family and it's amazing how much free time you have if you're forcibly disconnected from online distractions. I made good use of the pool and the sauna after dinner, or found myself curled up on the lounge re-watching episodes of This Life.

An ideal destination for young families, Master Four and Miss Two had a ball too, having fun at the beach, splashing in the water garden and bouncing with endless energy on the jumping castle.

For a city-slicker like myself, I found myself enamoured with the dated shop fronts and fittings, so retro they're surely trendy again. Jackie's Bowls Shops? Gold. And I can't remember the last time I saw a clothing store with the word "frocks" in its signage. Even the Chinese restaurant next door has those delightful octagonal window cut-outs.

Riviera Frocks and Sportswear

Di's Scrapbooks

In the dim light of dusk, there was a slight doubletake at Di's Scrapbooks, when the blockout letters faded into the night.

Lakeside Shopping Centre

An embarrassing number of hours were spent in the grocery aisles at the local shopping centre, although it did result in quite a few good nosh-ups for dinner.

Steak sandwich $7.50

When we first arrived however, it was all about finding lunch. And fast.

A follower of the "when in Rome" adage, I skipped the offers of Thai and Chinese and headed straight to the local burger bar, the Surf Spot Cafe. Staffed by two women in aprons, it's the kind of old-fashioned milk bar that's rapidly disappearing from suburban Sydney.

The steak sandwich is a hark back to the days of yore, two slices of white sandwich bread toasted slapped around a minute steak and caramelised onions. The generous slather of margarine is balanced by slices of tomato and beetroot and a thick bed of shredded lettuce.

The steak is more on the chewy side of well-done, and there are no fancy relishes or mayonnaise swirls, but that's half the appeal - it's a simple and honest sandwich.

Hamburger with the lot $7.50

In my book, honesty always tastes better with bacon, so my hamburger with the lot has me grinning with happiness.

There isn't a thing more you could stuff into this burger bun. A beef patty nestles on a bed of shredded lettuce, tomato and beetroot, topped with a rasher of crispy bacon, a fried egg and a ring of pineapple all doused with barbecue sauce.

Oh yeah baby. It really is that good.

Potato scallops $0.70 each

Potato scallops remind me of school days, but alas these aren't so good. Suprisingly mealy in texture, they're definitely not the best I've had.

Pineapple fritters $0.70 each

And because a girl likes to finish her meal with dessert, pineapple fritters are a burger's best friend.

These are also a tad disappointing, the batter thick and greasy.

But the memory of the burger lives on, alongside the knowledge that one can survive without internet - nay, be happy. Especially once the twitching stops.

View Larger Map

Surf Spot Cafe
2/149 The Entrance Rd, The Entrance, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 4332 4428

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Burger - Brewhouse at the St George Hotel, Belmore
Burger - Hooters, Parramatta
Burger - Lansdowne Hotel Broadway, Chippendale
Burger - PJ Gallagher's, Drummoyne
Burger - PJ O'Brien's, Sydney
Burger - Plan B by Becasse, Sydney
18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/22/2009 01:05:00 am


  • At 4/22/2009 6:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen, Glad to hear you enjoyed your holidays. I must take issue with the phrase "simple & honest". I know its a common enough phrase per se; but if your Entrance sandwich was 'honest', does that therefore make your less 'simple' sandwiches (say, those found at farmers markets, food festivals etc) dishonest? I am by no means criticising provincial fare, but the current trend amongst journos et alia to sprinkle this phrase ad nauseam especially when referring to non-urban settings (whether its to do with food or otherwise) is disturbing, to say the least. Just some food for thought. Har har. Maybe.

  • At 4/22/2009 6:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hullo again, Helen
    The Frock Exchange in Clovelly is where most of my female BFFs shop. I wish they'd stock menswear but ... keeps falling on deaf ears; not enough male fashion victims in Sydney, apparently. Boo.


  • At 4/22/2009 8:42 am, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    the burger looks so good... The steak sandwiches remind me of school days where i'd share one with my brother after school. Good times.
    And congrats on lasting the week with no internet :)

  • At 4/22/2009 8:51 am, Blogger shez said…

    it's surprisingly quiet and peaceful when one is sans-net isn't it? and oh! at that burger with the lot. a holiday lunchtime dream come true :)

    (you didn't eat the burger + sammich in one go did you?)

  • At 4/22/2009 11:30 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    The Entrance doesn't seem to have changed from the last time I was there (20+ yrs ago?). The potato scallop looks a bit scungey. And lol! - as a scrapbooking freak, I wouldn't even have noticed the disapperaring signage.

  • At 4/22/2009 12:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love This Life and was completely addicted to it throughout uni. Glad to know there's a fellow fan out there1

  • At 4/22/2009 2:10 pm, Blogger Westy said…

    ha, your photography can make anything look good.

    Very true about the declining hamburger situation in Sydney...

  • At 4/22/2009 2:21 pm, Anonymous Arwen from HogletK said…

    Ah, hamburgers with pineapple are the best. So drippy, but so delicious!

  • At 4/22/2009 2:37 pm, Anonymous Simon said…

    Helen, like the look of what I would call an old-fashioned burger. Though there's always that bittersweet moment afterwards, a combination of feeling satisfied and a little dirty from the grease.

    @Gobsmack'd I think you've misread the context in which this phrase was used. Then again perhaps I have. All I see in that comment was that the steak sandwich was simple, and honest. It seemed to make no reference or allusion to the area in which the food came from nor any connection between simplicity and honesty or your inference that less simplicity implies dishonesty.

    Maybe take a chill pill, have a coke and a smile :)

  • At 4/22/2009 5:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yay for burgers with the lot ^^! and ahh the Entrance... need to go back for some holidaying!

  • At 4/22/2009 5:29 pm, Anonymous Veruca Salt said…

    Burger minus that disgusting brown sauce looks scrum-deli-um-cious. So true about these burgers. Good while you are eating them but then you have that greasy film feeling afterwards. Nothing an icy cold Coke can't fix I suppose.

    Did you check out any of the Op shops for kitchen things while you were in town?

    Gobsmack'd - is this the same person who normally comments on your page? I second what Simon said - they should take a bex and have a lie down or a pill and a choke (or was that a coke?)

    I take "simple & honest" to mean unpretentious and non-wanky. I even used the word honest to describe the CWA food and recipes from your previous post. The opposite of "simple and honest" is when you use words like "per se", "et alia" and "nauseam". Pull you finger out, son.

  • At 4/23/2009 1:06 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Gobsmack'd - I do remember pausing when I wrote the phrase 'simple and honest'. To me, and in this context, I meant to imply it was a steak sandwich. Full stop. No tricked up ingredients or deconstructed flavours or fancy pairings. Calling a spade a spade is the sentiment I meant to convey. This doesn't mean that offerings at farmers markets are dishonest at all, but it's an interesting standpoint.

    And good to hear there's a Sydney frock shop too. I always think of Mick and Jason from the Late Show descending on the store called Stacks of Slacks.

    Hi Betty - Oh you were lucky - we never had steak sandwiches after school! lol. And ha, thanks. You should try it too :)

    Hi Shez - That burger with the lot was amazing. I could really do with one right now, and no, the steak sambo wasn't my order, but it did get photographed! lol

    Hi Belle - There does seem to be a lot of newly completed development on the waterfront but it will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of years. And lol at the scrapbooking. I had a quick look inside but I find I'm enough of a hoarder without creating more paraphernalia!

    Hi Reemski - lol. Was waiting/hoping someone else would come out of the This Life closet! Loved the show when it was on, but strangely enough, some of the characters are annoyingly grating the second time around!

    Hi Westy - Ha, thanks :) I think we're facing a fish & chip shop and hamburger crisis. I really can't understand why people would choose a fast food chain over a decent burger :(

    Hi Arwen - Beetroot is my hamburger requisite, but pineapple is great to balance the fattiness of bacon and richness of eg :)

    Hi Simon - I didn't actually feel that ill after this burger, more queasy after the scallop and pineapple fritter! :)

    And glad you understood my use of the phrase, although I don't think that coke necessarily is that relaxing! lol

    Hi FFichiban - Ahh any holidaying is good. Already counting down to the June long weekend!

    Hi Veruca Salt - Hey you leave my bbq sauce alone! lol.

    Had to smile at your op-shop comment. You read my mind.

    And ahhh such debate over the phrase "simple and honest". Kinda ironic really :)

  • At 4/23/2009 5:59 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi again Helen - Its interesting and gratifying that you've taken my comment in the right spirit. Thank you. As opposed to your pals Simon & Veruca getting huffy and puffy. Rushing to a damsel in distress' aid is commendable; but obviously Helen's more than able to speak for herself. My original remark merely meant that simplicity does not necessarily equate with honesty. Veruca - I don't hear you complain when chowing down on the offerings of the fancier side of town! Go grab your smelling salts and let Helen speak for herself, there's a dear.

  • At 4/23/2009 6:38 am, Blogger Johnna Knows Good Food: Yum Yum, Gimme Some! said…

    I would love to taste those potato scallops!

  • At 4/23/2009 8:03 am, Blogger Y said…

    I have yet to visit the Entrance, but in many ways, this reminds me of quite a few family vacations.

    Won't get into the simple and honest debate. I think Simon said it all.

  • At 4/27/2009 6:43 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    Helen, it works for me, as unusual as that may sound :)

    @Gobsmack'd (again) I guess you misread my intention as well as Helen's.

    All I was doing was expressing a simple and honest opinion, whether that be taken literally or in the "unpretentious and non-wanky" sort of way. Not to say you're comments were. I wouldn't have stated this explicitly under different circumstances but just want to make sure this wouldn't be misread too. I would hate to receive the kind of tyrade that you served Veruca. "Huffy and puffy" isn't a concern for me. It's such a quaint phrase and not one I've heard since primary school. Kinda cute in its own way. Thanks for bringing it back :)

    I'm glad you clarifed your position as I am now. I got that part of the comment. What I also read was an implication that Helen was following a trend where the phrase was being sprinkled to the point of nausia, perhaps in a mindless and careless fashion as "sprinkle" in itself implies, and you found such trends disturbing. Maybe I've misinterpreted that as well? Apologies if I have.

    I agree that Helen is more than capable of taking care of herself. Considering how long she's been doing this and the fact that these comments are moderated, I would have thought that obvious. Please reread my comments. I don't believe I was defending her from either of your comments i.e association between simple and honest, and current trends.

    I hope that clears up matters for you.

  • At 4/28/2009 8:32 pm, Anonymous divemummy said…

    shame you didn't make it up to Toukley. You would have been amused to discover not one but 2 (count 'em) mobility scooter shops on the main road.

  • At 4/29/2009 1:41 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Gobsmack'd - Nothing wrong with constructive criticism, especially given the nature of this blog :)

    Hi Johnna - The potato scallops weren't that great for me, but the burger was very de-lish!

    Hi Y - It reminded me a little of the seaside towns in England, but yes, I'm sure there's a similar vibe across many Australian family seaside destinations.

    And lol, certainly lots of honesty going on around here!

    Hi Simon - Ah who knew three words would cause so much debate. Hey, what's that over there? *points in the distance* lol.

    I think everyone is all good. I've taken no offence to anything anyone has said. At least I can take solace in the fact that people are actually reading the text and comments and not just looking mindlessly at the photos!

    Hi divemummy - Mobility scooters! Did they have customised baskets or streamers off the handles? lol


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