I moved to the Centra Coast about seven years ago and had the amazing privilege of living just off the beach in Terrigal for a year and then beachfront at Copacabana for another year. It was bliss and while I still worked in Sydney every day it was like going on holiday every afternoon – as soon as you take that Gosford turn off from the highway you escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney stress. Every afternoon I would relax and enter a more peaceful mindset but every afternoon to get home I would have to drive past the massive, on-the-waterfront THE COAST BAR AND RESTAURANT.
Back then it was called IGUANA JOES and was shut down the entire time I lived on the Coast. Things went pear shaped for the previous owners from what was then called “Iguanagate.” A former Robertson federal MP had an angry outburst and it was captured on film and plastered on all the news outlets. Not sure that this needed to effect the venue but it did. The venue is MASSIVE – I mean Marina sized, RSL sized, it could have a helipad massive sized. It needs people and events to succeed.
The new owners (I think) took over in 2017 and after a rocky start THE COAST BAR AND RESTAURANT is flying strong with views millionaires long for, a menu that accommodates entire families with pizzas, pastas, grilled mains, epic steaks and seafood so fresh it might as well have been caught from the venue. I visited in late June and took my work experience kid and his mum to join their PR lady (and good friend) MJ for a lunch that was just sublime – they fed us so much food that after I waddled on out I needed a break before doing the drive back to Sydney for fear of food coma.
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THE COAST BAR AND RESTAURANT VENUE – AND WHAT A VENUE IT IS!
You’re on the Central Coast Highway and you take a rise, the Central Coast Stadium is on the left, with Brisbane Waters filling up the right of your car window. There’s some small grass fields and there perched on a wharf over the water is the monstrous, the executively appointed, THE COAST BAR AND RESTAURANT.
It’s a venue that demands long Sunday boozy lunches, live music, and a lot of seafood. There is so many places to sit, drink and/or dine. Nice lounges, long tables near the wood pizza over, outdoors undercover looking over the water, at one of the two bars, or more romantic white washed tables for two against a window that looks over boats and waters to the train-line that meanders along the coast to and from Sydney.
It has the feel of a Yacht Club venue that hosts a lot of functions. You seriously cannot beat that view. I am just annoyed it was closed the entire time I was living on the Coast – all the long drunken Sundays I missed while the venue searched for new owners!
It does have a fair few car spaces to park but if you can public transport it there it would be more suitable (or a designated driver) – you really want wines and beers and cocktails with your meal and you don’t want to rush.
THE EXTENSIVE AND ACCOMMODATING MENU:
The menu is huge at 75 items listed – it has everything. Seafood, burgers, pizzas, salads, pastas, a grilled meat section, great kid’s meal options and delicious desserts. For the style of the menu think CRINITI’S, modern Australian with a little influence from the world. There is something on there for everyone however it is a little light on vegan dishes. Their Veggie Burger looks amazing and if you take off the halloumi it would make an epic vegan burger. There is enough food on the menu you can select from a little light lunch snack with a beer through to full a la carte Aussie styled Four Courses of deliciousness.
As we were invited we had Chef Peter Featherby select our dishes. Glad we did – they were all AMAZING – all 12 of them.
WHAT WE WERE SERVED:
CHARCUTERIE BOARD – Home made pork and pistachio terrine, sliced 18th month prosciutto, hot Calabrese salami, mild cacciatore salami, marinated olives, camembert cheese, manchego cheese, tomato relish, pickled onions, grilled ciabatta bread
WOODFIRED CAMEMBERT – 125gm roasted camembert, rosemary, thyme, pizza bread served with blistered vine ripened cherry tomatoes
SPICED SOFT SHELL CRAB TACO – Two soft tortilla, southern barbeque corn salsa, shredded iceberg, chipotle aioli, fresh lime and coriander
HOMEMADE SALMON THAI FISH CAKES – Kaffir lime sweet chilli sauce
CACCIUCCO – Blue Swimmer crab, Spring Bay mussels, calamari, salmon, barramundi, prawns, clams, baby octopus, rich napolitana sauce, fresh chilli, grilled ciabatta bread
BRAISED JUNEE LAMB SHANKS BOURGUIGNON – Roasted garlic, sautéed Swiss brown mushrooms, crispy rosemary potatoes, honey and thyme roasted root vegetables
300 g m PORK CUTLET – Spiced sweet potato purée, buttered broccolini, caramelised brandy apples, toasted pistachio crumble, red wine jus
SEARED CONE BAY BARRAMUNDI – Red wine braised octopus, buttered potatoes, cherry tomatoes, chives, lemon emulsion
PASSIONFRUIT CRÈME BRULEE with a Brandy Snap
LEMON CURD TART and Creme fraiche
LOCAL HONEY, MIXED BERRIES PANNA COTTA with Honeycomb and fresh strawberries
WARM CHOCOLATE FONDANT with warm ganache and vanilla ice cream
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
We had to start this epic feast somewhere and with a wonderful Charcuterie board it was. It had a great selection of cheeses, pickles, meats and olives – everything you need. Chef’s Home Made Pork and Pistachio Terrine was one of my favourite things of the day – it was out of this world and I NEED IT AGAIN!!!
The Woodfired Camembert was nice with the herb flavours. But I would prefer to see the Camembert more melty – perhaps it hardened a bit while taking pics – but a heated camembert demands a huge stringy cheese that oozes and stretches for days. The Soft Shelled Crab, on the other hand, was perfection in a tortilla. I could live on these – the crab was as soft as it could be and the toppings were extra generous – that salsa, chipotle aioli, lime and coriander is what dreams are made of. I have some friends who still live on The Coast – this is their favourite dish.
Then there was the Home Made Salmon Thai Fishcakes. These immediately gave me a flashback to my childhood. I didn’t get a Thai feel out of them – I got Mum’s Salmon Rissoles out of them. Something I need to make myself again since visiting. They were nothing like a traditional fish cake and more like a home made family Thursday night dinner – highly recommend.
I think we were already full at this stage but alas it was food and I love food haha. We kicked it off with the pot of seafood, the Cacciucco. For those who don’t know, as I did not – thanks to Wiki. Cacciucco is an Italian fish stew native to the western coastal towns of Tuscany and Liguria. It is especially associated with the port city of Livorno in Tuscany and the town of Viareggio to the north. I do not know if it technically matches a proper Cacciucco as traditionally a Cacciucco has five types of seafood in it, one for ever letter “C” in the word. I dug that fun fact :). It was generous and bloody delicious however totally messy sucking that crab dry while wrapped in my beard whiskers. (Ewwwwww TMI JK).
While we all shared the mains the Braised Junee Lamb Shanks Bourguignon was my dish. I just can’t say no to a lamb shank, especially if it falls of the bone like autumn leaves in a wind gust. It was cooked to Chef’s Hat excellence. The veggies were a delicious accompaniment as was the sauce but it was all about the meat for me. The Pork Cutlet likewise was scrumptious but the veggies for this one beat out the meat for being the best thing on the plate. Spiced sweet potato purée, buttered broccolini, caramelised brandy apples, toasted pistachio crumble and red wine jus – YUM!!
The Barra looked appetising but I actually didn’t get to try this one. One of my guests whoofed it down and enjoyed it.
We had four desserts delivered on a sampling platter – they were all divine but I could only manage a bit of each as was about to pass out from over eating. The Passionfruit Brûlée won out for table favourite. I am a Lemon Tart freak but the Warm Chocolate Fondant won me over with it’s super oozy rich centre. The honeycomb on the Panna Cotta was divine and the Panna Cotta itself was unique and flavoursome, it was like a berry filled yoghurt, I want it for breakfast on my cereal!
THE COAST BAR AND RESTAURANT has me considering moving back to The Central Coast. I could waste entire weekends here drinking wonderful wines and beers, sitting in the sun, and inhaling the freshest of seafoods overlooking a view the rest of country would envy.
THE COAST BAR AND RESTAURANT DEETS:
PH: 02 4323 0216
12 Dane Drive, Gosford Waterfront 2250
BOOKINGS: HIGHLY Recommended
PRICING: Medium to High – most expensive dish is the Black Angus Eye Fillet for $47- or the Seafood Platter for Two at $120-.
OPENING HOURS – 7 days, 11:30am til late
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
LOCAL DELIVERY: NO
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** Spooning Australia was invited to dine by the Venue ***
For more reviews of Central Coast Venues – check them out HERE
All photographs Copyright by Spooning Australia and Jason King Food Photography – please feel free to share with full credit provided.