Bangalay Shoalhaven Heads
A hidden oasis at Shoalhaven Heads
I was invited to a wonderful “game meat” dinner last month at Bangalay Shoalhaven Heads in their restaurant. I was so excited as it was a night away to relax, eat and drink with no requirement to drive. I was looking forward to seeing Sally Burleigh, the PR who invited me, and good friends Raff and Aleney from Boy Eats World, who introduced me to Sally, as they were going to be in attendance. A calamity of errors and plague saw me dining by myself; Aleney got Covid and is still upset she didn’t make it, Sally was further up South and didn’t make it and the worst, the torrential rain saw the game dinner get cancelled, but I was determined to go after being cooped up during the rains, I even drove through about 500m of flooded road, safely of course!!
Was it worth it? Hell yes!! This dining experience has been the second best of the year so far, and the luxury villas were magnificent, I literally want to move here!
A scenic 2hrs south from Sydney and positioned on the beautiful Shoalhaven coast between Kiama and the white sands of Jervis Bay. Set amongst a stunning coastal backdrop on one side, picturesque Shoalhaven Heads Golf Course on the other, and conveniently located close by to the many attractions of the Shoalhaven and South Coast; Bangalay is the perfect blend of nature and the finer things in life. Each of Bangalay’s 16 private self-contained villas feature golf course or garden views with a sun-filled north facing deck, encouraging rest, relaxation and getting back to nature.
It should be marketed as an eco-retreat, the compound blends so well with nature. Only one story throughout and it looks like repurposed wood used in the construction, either that or it has weathered into the surrounds. The office is a tiny little room, I can imagine the impact on the surrounds would be minimal.
The accommodation is better than where I live, offering an open full kitchen, amazing deck, and a wonderful sealed fire with faux flames, it made it so cosy during winter. The bathroom was a good double-the-size of mine at home with a satisfying waterfall nozzle to melt the day away!
And the min bar options were epic, offering Lark Whiskey and some other epic choices!
Simon Evans was previously the chef/owner of Caveau restaurant in Wollongong, a stalwart of the Wollongong dining scene since 2005, winning a chef hat in every year it was open. After working in the restaurant for several years, Simon bought the Caveau in 2017 and lead it to a more local and native ingredient focused menu, and relaxed service style, maintaining the coveted hat and increasing its score in the subsequent years. Strong relationships with the suppliers and growers and a passion and understanding of native ingredients allowed Simon to create modern dishes using ancient ingredients and techniques with ingredients such as magpiegoose, emu, crocodile and green ants appearing on his menus.
And he has brought this style of cooking to Bangalay – most dishes I ate you feel were caught and/or foraged within walking distance.
Simon might be the head chef but he didn’t cook the night I was in – instead I had the pleasure of being cooked for by Bryce, who I believe is the sous chef, I literally can’t fault anything, it was exquisitely cooked and assembled.
And as for my wait staff, the manager, Jacquie, was a delight and Anita was great, they had a great night I am sure, watching me get gradually more slurry as the night progressed. They wifi is non existent in the dining venue and phone reception as bad so what was I to do? Eat, review, take pics and enjoy the liquid libations of course.
The food is undoubtedly Australian as it gets, not fish and chips or pies Australian, 5 Star Australian. Besides the dishes to the right Chef brought me a bonus course of some oysters served in finger lime that were epic!
My favourite dishes would have to be the Emu Tartar and the the Crab served on the bread base.
The nuance and attention to detail in making the little things count is what wins for me. The plum and beetroot sauce with the duck was sublime, the dessert was a gift from the gods, and the cucumber was superb.
I do want to return if they ever have the game dinner in the future because I can only imagine what they would do with a crocodile, emu and camel, just droooooooool.
What I was served…
• Emu tartar | saltbush | karkalla | lavosh
• Compressed cucumber | goats’ cheese
• Shoalhaven bonito crudo | nasturtium | tarama
• Blue swimmer crab | apple | daikon | sorrel | dill | buttermilk
• South coast yellow tail kingfish | miso | leeks | pomelo
• Wessex saddleback pork loin | black barley | pumpkin | pine mushroom
• Southern Highlands duck glazed In Illawarra plum | beetroot | radicchio
• Kangaroo Valley burnt honey custard | persimmon | honeycomb
Bangalay is heavenly, you would do better here for three or more nights so the surrounds start to leech into you. Be sure to walk past the restaurant, across the road and do a wonderful morning beach walk, it is refreshingly wonderful. Staying in any season would be marvellous, you have fireplaces for winter and are sheltered and shaded by the trees during summer. I want to sit outside during a summer breeze reading a book and forgetting anything else exists. Perfect.
*** Some more accomodation pics below ****
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets & 1/1 bonus
*** Spooning Australia was invited, with thanks, to this meal and overnight stay by https://sallyburleigh.com/ ***
All photographs are Copyright by Spooning Australia and Jason King – please feel free to share with full credit provided.
02 4448 7729
30 Staples St, Shoalhaven Heads, NSW 2535
Medium to High – most expensive dish on their website is the Southern Highlands Grass Fed Sirloin for $56-
Breakfast Monday – Sunday 8 am – 11 am
Lunch Friday to Monday 12 pm – 2:30 pm
Dinner Monday – Saturday 5:30pm – 10pm
Bar Monday – Saturday 3pm – 10pm Sunday 12pm – 5pm
Yes – but limited
Only for picnics and make at home dining
Yes – limited – call to discuss
Full Licensed Only