PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
A makeover of the old surf club has led to an attractively modern, glass-wrapped, upstairs space overlooking the beach. A casual and popular lounge, tapas and cocktail bar sits to one side of the entrance and a formally-presented restaurant to the other. The luncheon menu is an extensive listing of fairly mainstream cafe fare while at dinner the very good, mostly French-influenced food makes excellent use of quality local produce like chickens, game and free-range pork from nearby Mt Gnomon farm. With new owners and a young chef, Dane Kendal, in the kitchen, this is now one of the best dining establishments on the north-central coast.
If they're on, try the rich gamey flavours of the wild rabbit and mushroom tartlet, the pithivier of confit chicken, a silky duck liver parfait with a brilliantly clear and tart cranberry jelly or the ocean trout on black rice in a coconut and mirin broth. Even better at a recent dinner was a lusciously rich and tender braise of wagyu beef shin. The darkly-sauced meat was boned, rolled and topped with contrasting pale helmets of chicken mousse. Finishing with an intensely-flavoured cappuccino creme brulee with whipped cream and two shortbreads on the side, plus a couple of glasses of local wines from the smallish but adequate list, the meal was very good.