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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On The Pier, Batemans Bay and Moruya Markets

Our South Coast mini-break was a happy mix of sights, from Wollongong's Nan Tien Temple to Berry's Famous Donut Van. We continued down the Princes Highway to Batemans Bay, a four hours journey if travelling straight from Sydney.

It's amazing how fast one can metabolise donuts and meat pies and parfait and passionfruit slice. We were booked in for dinner at On The Pier, tucked away on the side of Batemans Bay Bridge, overlooking the Clyde River.

On The Pier

Outdoor lounges and dining area

The converted punt house has maintained its nautical theme, the boat sheds painted in a pretty shade of cerulean blue.

Diners on the outdoor deck

Squid, hot chorizo and black mussels steamed in a tomato and lemongrass broth $18

Nemo and I only had eyes for the seafood. Steamed mussels are plump and juicy in their clear tomato and lemongrass broth, served with chunks of spicy chorizo and curls of just-cooked tender squid.

Clyde River oysters natural $24/dozen

I slurp down my share of the Clyde River oysters and immediately wish I'd ordered a dozen more, the bivalves slipping easily down the throat, punctuated with bursts of brine.

On The Pier Caesar salad $26
with Fremantle sardines, peeled King prawns and smoked salmon

The seafood-inspired Caesar salad is a little too salty for my taste, a slippery mix of sardines and smoked salmon competing on the palate, although the peeled King prawns are fresh and sweet.

Local Mirror Dory fish fillets grilled $29
served with fat chips, garden salad, lemon and tartare

Local Mirror Dory fillets are presented in a generous serve, with five fillets heaped on the plate.

Fat chips

The accompanying fat chips have an impressive crunch, a trick that the chef later admits involves twice frying and dipping each chip in a secret batter .

The Clyde River and Batemans Bay Bridge

Through the windows of the internal dining room, we watch the sky dim as night falls, the Clyde River soon twinkling with the merry reflection of lights.

Strawberry brandy snap basket, passionfruit pavlova mess, mixed berry sorbet $15

Desserts are much fancier than we'd expected, a trio of tastes that are elegantly plated, if small in total. The mention of a passionfruit pavlova mess leads me to expect a huge hunk of a plate of dessert, but it's less mess and more neatness, constrained in the tiniest of tumblers. I can't find much meringue either - only yoghurt and passionfruit.

The brandy snap basket satiates my need for sugary crunch.

Blown banana and caramel tartlet, banana panna cotta, chocolate gelato $15

A blown banana? The mind *ahem* boggles. We clarify with the waitress and find out it's just as I guessed - a blow-torched banana. I'd been skeptical of this dessert but it's the winner of the evening, a quivering banana panna cotta, a crisp chocolate-dipped tartlet with dulce de leche and caramelised banana, and the coolness of chocolate gelato.

Corrigan's Cove, Bateman's Bay

Our accommodation that evening is Corrigan's Cove, a series of self-contained holiday apartments cleverly designed for maximum privacy around the pool.

Living room and outdoor balcony

Our apartment is split over two floors, with a large living room and fully furnished kitchen.

Breakfast on the pool deck

The next morning we help ourselves to the continental breakfast buffet on the pool deck, before hitting the road and travelling further south to Moruya.

Moruya Country Markets

Moruya Country Markets on the banks of the Moruya River

Moruya is a small town of about 2,500 people, its name deriving from the Aboriginal word mherroyah, which means "home of the black swan".

We took advantage of the glorious sunshine to check out the Moruya Country Markets, held every Saturday morning on the banks of the Moruya River.

Fresh bread and soft pretzels

Morning tea was a soft pretzel. We spend about an hour happily browsing the 140 stalls selling everything from candles to local produce to vintage bric-a-brac.

Fruit and vegetable stall

Homemade date and nut loaf, Christmas fruit cake and banana cake

I always zero in on the little old lady manning the cakes and jam stall. The jams always come in a jumble of sizes but they're always chock-full of real fruit and ridiculously cheap.

Tomato relish $3.50, nectarine jam $3 and lemon and ginger jam $3

I picked up a jar of mango jam for $4 (made with only mangoes and sugar) and a jar of tomato relish ($3.50) that I'm looking forward to slathering on a towering beetroot and pineapple hamburger this summer.

Cooking the Chinese Way

Old-fashioned wooden clothes pegs

Fresh garlic from Dignams Creek $25/kg

I also pick up some bulbs of fresh garlic, dug out from the ground at Dignams Creek only twelve days ago, I'm told by the friendly stallholder.

Moruya lettuce

New season potatoes

Local carrots

Ostrich jerky pet food

Carob and yoghurt tarts for dogs

Alfred & Jane's Cobargo Home Made Ice Cream

We're been advised by the friendly manager at Corrigan's Cove to keep an eye out for the Cobargo Home Made Ice Cream stall, and I make a beeline for it once I've finished shopping.

Cobargo ice cream flavours

We stand transfixed before the blackboard of available flavours, as Alfred looks at us and laughs. They use fresh seasonal fruit in their concoctions, many of them grown on their own farm.

Christmas pudding ice cream (front) and banana, coconut and honey ice cream

We settle on Christmas pudding ice cream, boozy if a little sweet, and banana, coconut and honey ice cream that wins us both over with its gentle genuine banana flavour, sprinkle of coconut and lingering honey sweetness.

We sit on the grass on the banks of the river, watching the sun glint off the water. Ice cream, peace and sunshine? Bliss.

> Read the next post: Bodalla, Tuross Head and The Big Cheese

Goats milk soap in a rainbow of colours and scents

Grab Your Fork and guest travelled to the South Coast hosted by Tourism Wollongong and Eurobodalla Coast Tourism.

Famil inclusions: On The Pier, Corrigan's Cove and Hertz car rental

Personally paid for: Moruya Markets

On The Pier
Old Punt Road, Batemans Bay
Tel: +61 (02) 4472 6405

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-8.30pm

Corrigan's Cove
204 Beach Road, Batemans Bay
Tel: +61 (02) 4472 6111

Moruya Country Markets
Riverside Park, corner of Shore St and Ford St, Moruya
(take the first left after the bridge if you are heading south)
Mob: +61 (0)415 856 512

Open every Saturday morning 8am-12noon

Alfred & Jane's Cobargo Home Made Ice Cream
Tel: +61 (02) 6493 6931
Mob: +61 (0)418 613 771

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Bodalla Heritage Fair, Tuross Head and The Big Cheese
The Famous Berry Donut Van and a food tour of Berry
Nan Tien Temple and a food tour of Wollongong

Congratulations to KayB, Dorine L and Elissa H - you have each won a box of Christmas cupcakes from Sparkle Cupcakery!

Missed out this time? Don't forget to enter now to:
(entries close Monday 10 January 2011)
8 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/14/2010 01:57:00 am


  • At 12/14/2010 9:31 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Iused to go to Batemans with the fam at Christmas time - lovely, relaxed place. And great markets it seems.

  • At 12/14/2010 10:30 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    That chorizo squid dish looks so yummy! And that sea of goat's milk soap is pretty - these markets look great. I've only ever gotten as far as Nan Tien Temple, but Batemans Bay feels like a looker :)

  • At 12/14/2010 10:47 am, Anonymous thang@noodlies said…

    but did you pick up a copy of cooking the chinese way.. i'm dying to know

  • At 12/14/2010 11:19 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    I really need to explore the south coast sometime. It really is beautiful. $3 for a beaten up old Chinese cookbook, bargain

  • At 12/14/2010 11:56 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    I'm afraid and had to go back and read the description for "blown banana" myself. Ahem, indeed!

  • At 12/14/2010 12:11 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    While I could never order the Blown Banana dessert because I'm a Lady, it does look magnificent. And I'd very much like to try the hazelnut toffee ice cream, too!

  • At 12/14/2010 1:28 pm, Anonymous Jennifer :-) said…

    Ostrich jerky! If it wasn't pet food, I'd be tempted to try that myself :-)

  • At 12/16/2010 1:42 pm, Anonymous Bill said…

    the seafood looks amazing. fantastic photos of the food, have to say!! thanks for the post ;)


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