It is a Friday night in Ettalong, not long after COVID lockdown restrictions have eased, and Safran Restaurant is bustling with activity. To be honest, it’s very easy to see why.
First opened by Chef Suleyman “Sulo” Kirbancioglua and his wife Natalie in 2013, and earning its first AGFG Chef’s Hat in 2020, Safran has become a bit of an institution for Central Coast locals. Specialising in Contemporary Turkish cuisine, Safran will be quite a revelation for those only familiar with late-night kebabs, food truck gözleme, and chips dipped in humus. Here, Chef Sulo shows us the true wonders of what Turkish food can offer.
Over the past few years, Ettalong Beach — a quiet village on the shores of Brisbane Water where it meets Broken Bay — has become quite an exciting place for new food venues. Far from the bustle of Terrigal and with ample parking, there’s plenty to love here, including wood-fired pizza, Indian, Thai, as well as modern-Australian, modern-Turkish and modern-Italian with a more casual-meets-fine dining aesthetic.
Osteria Il Coccia fits firmly into this last category: Italian food with a modern Australian twist, prepared by Chef Nicola Coccia using the freshest ingredients and with an emphasis on wood-fire cooking.
Nestled in the backstreets of Wickham, a quiet suburb of Newcastle on the New South Wales lower-north coast, Flotilla is a restaurant with all the culinary excitement – but none of the pretension – of similar quality venues in Sydney. Lead by Head Chef Shayne Mansfield (formerly of The Long Apron and Restaurant Botanica) and Restaurant Manager Eduardo Molina, Flotilla offers a seasonal menu driven by the freshest local produce, and supported by an impressive wine list from around the globe.