When it comes to seafood, it does not get a lot much better than at well-known chef Rick Stein’s restaurant in Bannisters by the Sea on the South Coast of New South Wales. But celebrity aside, what tends to make this restaurant specific?
In 2009, famed British chef Rick Stein and his beautiful wife Sarah opened the doors to their 1st ever restaurant outdoors the UK. But they chose neither the vibrant lights of Sydney nor the chic streets of Melbourne for their venue.
Alternatively, just more than three hours south of Sydney, you will discover Rick Stein’s eminent seafood restaurant in the quite small seaside town of Mollymook, NSW.
It is portion of Bannisters by the Sea, a beautifully renovated retreat-style hotel, and the two with each other give the fantastic remedy to these hunting for a romantic break from the city.
Christina and I have been fortunate sufficient to keep at Bannisters by the Sea and dine at Rick Stein’s to celebrate our anniversary. To say that our time right here was the maker of memories is an understatement.
You can study our complete assessment of Bannisters by the Sea right here.
I didn’t know what to count on when I 1st walked via the doors to Rick Stein at Bannisters. Of course, I knew I’d be possessing scrumptious seafood, but we’re fortunate to be blessed with lots of great meals in Australia.
What I wasn’t expecting was the comprehensive package that this restaurant presents that tends to make it so well known.
Rick Stein’s at Bannisters is type of the fantastic storm in restaurant terms. It ticks so several boxes:
Gorgeous place? Tick.
Excellent meals and service? Tick.
Someplace beautiful to keep following dinner? Tick.
And of course, its owner is Rick Stein – 1 of the handful of likeable well-known chefs.
So it is no surprise that anytime you appear for exactly where to consume anyplace about the South Coast of NSW, Rick Stein’s in Mollymook often comes up.
Definitely, it does go additional than that. Effortlessly 1 of the most effective seafood restaurants in the nation, Rick Stein’s has a spot in all the prime lists basically since it is just that very good.
What about the meals?
Rick Stein values simplicity in cooking, and it is clearly a cornerstone of this restaurant. But it is simplicity with ability that tends to make the distinction.
My entrée of scallops was an great instance of this effectively-honed ability of simplicity. 4 beautifully plump shellfish grilled completely in coriander butter, served with crunchy toasted hazelnuts: uncomplicated but skilfully performed.
I ought to admit I wasn’t positive about the seaweed garnish in among and below the shells. I attempted consuming some, but I consider it was just to retain the scallops in 1 spot as they left the kitchen. Bit embarrassed about that essentially!
Christina’s entrée of spanner crab with a wakame, cucumber and dashi salad with a wasabi mayo on the other hand was a lot far more complicated in its make-up. On the other hand, in every single of its separate components it was nevertheless uncomplicated, applying handful of components to attain maximum flavour.
The crab was tender and scrumptious, and the wasabi mayonnaise had a terrific bite to it. The Japanese influence of this dish shows off the expertise at perform in the kitchen. And its uncomplicated but quite layout is like possessing a bento box on your plate.
As our mains came out, a further critical element is on show that Rick Stein holds dear: the generosity of the kitchen.
These are not modest, annoyingly dainty dishes that will expense the earth and leave you needing a snack later. They’re hearty but at the very same time sophisticated. It is a challenging balance to obtain.
My roasted blue eye trevalla was a substantial serving, beautifully cooked suitable down to its crispy skin. It came with mussels steamed in an unctuous broth with chickpeas, capsicum and thyme. There have been also pieces of chorizo, which added that bit of heat to go with the mussels.
It was an achieved dish and produced me be concerned much less about not ordering the vaunted Bannisters fish pie… I consider we’ll have to make a return journey for that.
Christina’s key was possibly the only factor on the menu that would give me meals envy. At our server’s recommendation, she ordered the Sri Lankan Huon salmon curry.
Apart from something else it produced me want to go to Sri Lanka immediately… probably following stealing far more of Christina’s key!
The thick half-darne reduce of salmon was tender and complete of sufficient flavour to play effectively with the wealthy curry sauce. The sauce itself was extremely effectively-balanced, hitting sweet, sour, spicy and umami bullseyes.
Christina’s dish came with a residence-produced mango chutney that would place most curry homes to shame, and a chapati-style naan.
It was an great dish.
And if you want a further instance of the kitchen’s generosity, when it came time to order dessert, we just couldn’t do it. We have been complete.
The components of a restaurant
If you appear at Rick Stein at Bannisters like a recipe for 1 of his dishes, you can see the ‘ingredients’ and see how they’re applied.
As Rick would have it, there are not several components. But every single item is exquisitely selected, adroitly applied and normally uncommon:
Simplicity with ability, generosity, freshness and passion. That is what tends to make Rick Stein at Bannisters so very good.
Does it expense the earth to consume at Rick Stein’s?
Definitely, if you order sufficient lobster thermidor, you will add some zeros. And there are wines on the list that may possibly make your bank manager frown, but it does not have to be an exorbitant evening right here.
We had two courses, an great glass of wine every single and coffees at the finish. We thought of dessert but have been also complete, which shows the generosity of the servings.
Such as a tip, the bill was below $240, which – for a restaurant of such (deserved) celebrity and notoriety – I believed was quite affordable.
And most effective of all, we only had a fast stroll back to our area and the comfort of our king-size.
Bannisters by the Sea
191 Mitchell Parade
Mollymook NSW 2539
But why so far from the major smoke?
If you consider about it, Mollymook tends to make sense. The majority of Rick’s UK restaurants are out of London and close to the coast, exactly where – I consider you will agree – most seafood comes from.
Add to that Sarah’s nostalgia for Mollymook, the town exactly where she and her household would come for their holidays, and the fishing port of Ulladulla on the doorstep… fantastic sense.
Exactly where subsequent?
Practically as far north from Sydney as Mollymook is south, Rick Stein’s Port Stephens restaurant opened in 2018. This restaurant is also embedded in a Bannisters hotel – the third in the Bannisters line to open.
In signature Rick Stein style, this restaurant is parked on a further spectacular coastline in a portion of New South Wales normally overlooked by city folk.
Port Stephens and nearby Newcastle also have a thriving fishing market, which suits Mr Stein suitable down to his Dover soles.
We’re major fans of Port Stephens and go up there all the time. In truth, we’ve got a lot of stories about the Port Stephens region, like our crucial guide. It is a wonderful portion of the globe and a fantastic match for this iteration of the Stein-Bannisters duet.
But it appears it does not truly matter which Rick Stein restaurant you go to. You are often assured access to that magic formula of simplicity with ability, generosity, freshness and passion, and most possibly a blissful ocean view as effectively.
We dined at Rick Stein at Bannisters as guests of Bannisters by the Sea.