We all know of Rick Stein, who is a English chef, restaurateur and television presenter who coincidentally has a restaurant in Mollymook, New South Wales. One would ask why he set up a restaurant here? it is believed his wife/girlfriend was from this area, so he decided to set a restaurant up in her hometown.
Rick Stein’s Bannisters is part of Bannister’s, a boutique hotel with a wonderful cliff top location above the beautiful Mollymook Beach on the NSW South Coast. Its celebrity-chef status have made this a must-do destination when visiting or passing through the area.
To get to the restaurant, you push through the doors into a cosy lounge area, sporting a number of Rick Stein cook books in a clean simple setting.
Having just eaten a large late lunch, I was hoping the portion sizes were small. I went and proceed to order the lightest dishes on the menu.
We were provided a complementary slice of sourdough bread with olive oil and seaweed butter. It seems like Australians love their sourdough. where ever you go, sourdough seems to be the bread that is always served. the bread itself was nice and crunchy on the outside and fluffly on the inside as sourdough should be. the seaweed butter was something new which I have never encountered before. picking up the saltiness from the seaweed. It was like by all at our table, but I certainly enjoyed it.
Olives – a selection of olives were also provided. A good touch I must admit.
Raviolo of Balmain Bug with Spinach and Basil – Was exactly as I was expecting. One very large ravioli, with wonderful rich flavours. the ravioli was well seasoned. It had just enough sauce .
Large chunky Balmain Bugs sported the ravioli which were cooked to perfection. succulent and tender. I was crying for more.
Grilled Hervey Bay Scallops in the Shell with Toasted Hazelnut and Coriander Butter was average to say the least. half shelled scallops topped with coriander butter giving it a slight salty but buttery taste. the scallops were smaller than I was expecting for Australia. but nothing extraordinary.
Grilled Fillet of Snapper with Clams, Mussels, Spinach and Chervil – when it first came out I was thinking, is that going to full me up? I was mistaken. the snapper and the shell fish were cooked to perfection. A simple yet tasty, and perfectly prepared.
Madras Fish Curry of Blue Eye Trevalla, Tomato and Tamarind was very spicy, lacked any flavours. The curry was fairly watery. The most disappointing dish we ordered that evening.
Indonesian Seafood Curry with Ling, Squid and King Prawns – the fish was mahi mahi -quite a firm fish served with a few large sweet prawns. Served with green beans with fresh coconut and steamed rice, it was flavoursome without being rich or heavy, and spiced just enough to get the brow glowing.
The green been and coconut salad was crisp and refreshing. However if you added it to the curry, it would have drowned in the curry sauce.
Roulade of soft Meringue, Pistachio, Lemon and Lavender cream with fresh citrus fruits – the meringue roulade was excellent, beautifully presented.. the meringue had a slight crispy outside with a soft centre.
Honey and Cardamon Panna Cotta with almond and Coconut Granola and Stewed Apricots – The panna cotta itself was creamy, the granola provided a good crunch to the pannacotta.
There were a couple of stand out dishes, but apart from that, the meal was over priced for something not so impressive. I thought the cover change of $10 per person was outrageous. I don’t think I will be coming back in a rush any time soon.
Location: 191 Mitchell Parade, Mollymook, NSW, Australia