Driving over the new Batemans Bay bridge for the first time and looking out over the Clyde River, I had a hankering for some fresh, fat local oysters.
The South Coast is renowned for its fresh seafood and Sydney Rock Oysters are by far my fav.
So when I pre-ordered the seafood tower for my husband and I the day before we arrived at Corrigans Cove Resort, I must admit I had high expectations.
Ccooks @ Corrigans restaurant is tucked in off the main road with a relaxed dining area on the deck overlooking the resort pool and beyond to the ‘pirate’ cove and Snapper Island.
It was casual and welcoming. The sort of place where you can kick back with a beer or cocktail after a day at the beach.
A recent renovation has seen the addition of a shiny new cocktail bar, complete with bubbly staff and a comprehensive list of cocktails, from the usual Espresso Martini and Margarita on the Rocks to the pirate-inspired Corrigans Cove featuring spiced rum, mint, lime and ginger ale on ice.
But, being on holidays, it was The Breeze that took our fancy. The blend of Malibu, banana liqueur and pineapple juice garnished with shredded coconut really hit the spot.
My husband couldn’t resist also trying the spiced rum number as we watched the rain clouds roll in over the ocean, just waiting for that pirate ship to emerge from the mist.
The couple at the table opposite watched in awe as our towering feast was brought to the table. The woman rushed over to take a closer look. She was impressed with the three layers of seafood and fresh fruit. As were we.
The retro-style seafood tower is apparently making a come-back in city restaurants as diners seek fresh produce that isn’t over-complicated with other flavours, spices and sauces.
This creation reminded me of the seafood Christmas dinners we had at my nan’s beach house in Ulladulla growing up, but this time I didn’t have to fight my cousins for the prawns!
The bottom layer was a pile of fresh prawns, caught locally the day before. And you could tell they were local – and fresh – because they were sweet and tender.
I liked how the chefs left the head and tail on, removing the centre shell and legs, making it far less messy. Although part of the enjoyment of a seafood platter is making a mess, right?
The dozen oysters I’d been anticipating didn’t disappoint. They were big, buttery and loaded with flavour. They were grown in the Clyde River and shucked that morning at the Oyster Shed on Wray Street, just around the corner. Note to self: stop on the way home and buy some more oysters from the farm gate.
The seafood tower was reasonably priced ($159), so it wasn’t surprising that both the bug and the lobster had been frozen. The price for locally caught crayfish would have been through the roof, so I was happy to settle for a tasty Bodalla Cheese lobster mornay instead
The top layer of the tower was piled high with a mix of cooked seafood, including the most amazing, tender and lightly salt and peppered calamari. Three seafood and vegetable kebabs with a thin beer batter finished the feast. The cooked food was crisp and wasn’t greasy.
Served with fresh lemon, homemade seafood sauce and just a few chips, it was in no way pretentious. Just simple, fresh, good.
Not only does Ccook’s feature this stunning seafood tower, it showcases a host of local produce, including local king snapper fillet, Braidwood ribeye beef and gelato that’s made in Bermagui using fresh strawberries and lime.
After slurping down another cocktail, the classic Toblerone, we couldn’t fit in the homemade apple pie or brandy snaps with chocolate-dipped strawberries and homemade mousse – another reminder of Christmas dinner at nan’s.
We didn’t taste the wine or beer, but the drinks list at Corrigans is extensive, with two beers on tap, boutique beers, cider and a good selection of wine from Australia and New Zealand.
When I go to a restaurant, particularly while on holiday, I like to try the local beer and wine, so a few South Coast labels would be a good addition to enhance the local experience.
The location is good, but being inside the resort it’s a bit hard to find. The owner, Andrew Johns, is putting up some new signage to encourage the public to come in for breakfast, drinks and dinner. If you’re in the Bay over summer, it’s definitely worth heading to Batehaven and tracking it down.
“We are open to the public seven days a week, with cocktails all day,” Andrew said.
Andrew has owned restaurants previously, and loves to cook in his downtime, so he has a big influence on the menu.
“We are so lucky to live in a part of the world where we have access to such a diverse range of fresh food,” he said.
Ccooks Restaurant at Corrigans Cove Resort in Batehaven, just south of Batemans Bay is open seven days a week for breakfast and dinner.