• Reviews

    FOUR HANDS TAPAS & PIZZA BAR: Spoilt for Choice in Terrigal

    Four Hands Tapas & Pizza Bar Logo
    Four Hands Tapas & Pizza Bar Logo

    Share plates and casual social dining are a big thing on the Central Coast. We’ve got plenty of options, and mostly they’re all pretty amazing. Many, though, are quite cuisine specific. Lebanese and Turkish mezza. Greek mezé. Spanish tapas and Mexican feasts and Italian pizza and antipasti. It’s all here on the coast, but rarely can you walk into one place and have so much choice.

    Luckily for us, Four Hands Tapas & Pizza Bar is that place!

    Four Hands Tapas & Pizza Bar has been operating in the same space at Terrigal for just over a decade now. That’s no small achievement for any hospitality venue in this day and age, especially when you take into account the number of venues at Terrigal that have come and gone over the years. But when you visit you’ll know as soon as you arrive why Four Hands has the staying power.

  • Recipes

    Ragù alla Bolognese

    Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe
    Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe

    Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic dish all around the world. Especially us Aussies and Brits with our “Spag Bol”. We all grew up eating it. Near every Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant we went to served it, and our mums made it near every week. But, there’s one place in the world where you’ll never find Spaghetti Bolognese… Italy!

    That’s right. Spaghetti Bolognese is not, and has never been, a thing in Italy. In fact, most of what we’ve been cooking, or is served, as Bolognese Sauce outside of Italy is nothing like proper Ragù alla Bolognese at all!

    What we get most of the time is more likely just cooked beef mince swimming in a tomato sauce. That’s the exact opposite of what a good Ragù alla Bolognese should be.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I think ‘Spag Bol’ has long since become a dish all its own. There’s nothing wrong with cooking up a big pot of Aussie Bolognese sauce full of tinned tomatoes, garlic and half a bottle of Masterfood’s Italian Herb Seasoning. Piling all that on top of spaghetti (all covered with cheese) and mopping up the sauce with garlic bread is an Australian institution!

    But, it is time we separated the Italian-inspired dish we created from the authentic dish named after the Bologna region Italy where it was invented. So here, as traditional as I can make it with but a couple of slight variations, is my recipe for Ragù alla Bolognese.

  • Reviews

    YELLOWTAIL: Quin Wines Wine Dinner

    Amongst all the hustle and bustle of Terrigal’s waterfront district, it would be easy to miss Yellowtail Restaurant‘s nondescript entrance. I beg you not to, because it’s here that owner Scott Price and Head Chef Alastair Burke are serving up some of the Central Coast’s finest dining.

    Opened in Spring of 2016, Yellowtail’s small and intimate 35-seat dining experience, quickly became a must-visit destination for lovers of Modern Australian cuisine. The menu always tends towards an experimental blend of Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours featuring fresh local produce that lends itself perfectly to wine pairing. Which is partly what makes this wine dinner collaboration with Barossa Valley winemaker Andrew Quin all the more intriguing.

    NOTE: This is a review of the Yellowtail + Quin Wines dinner held Thursday 22nd June 2023, and does not necessarily reflect their standard à la carte menu.

  • Reviews

    THE COWRIE: Fine Dining with a Fine View

    Overlooking Terrigal and ocean from The Cowrie balcony.
    View from The Cowrie balcony.

    On a clear sunny day there is no finer view on the Central Coast than the one you’ll find looking out from the balcony at Terrigal’s The Cowrie. Nestled high on the hill overlooking the bustling Terrigal beachside, the restaurant offers stunning panoramic ocean and bay views.

    What’s better is that their fine dining cuisine is even more magnificent than the vista!

    At just on 18 months since taking over the iconic Central Coast venue, Owner/Executive Chef Dimitris Aronis and his Head Chef Reece Timora have transformed The Cowrie into something special. Championing locally sourced and seasonally driven produce, the menu is as light, fresh and modern as the revamped décor.

  • Reviews

    LITTLE MISS MEZZA: Elevated Modern Shared Dining

    The décor at Little Miss Mezza is light, open and warm with a modern touch.

    Little Miss Mezza is West Gosford’s recently opened sister to Motel Mezza at Wyong, but there is nothing little about this venue or its food. The blend of traditional Lebanese flavours with Modern Australian techniques, coupled with a great wine and cocktail list, make a fresh and welcome addition to the Central Coast food-scene.

    Debuting at the beginning of February 2023 in the newly refurbished West Gosford Village shopping centre, Little Miss Mezza is the mastermind of Meraki Group Director Tara Senam, her business partner Nick Waldon-Howe, and Executive Chef Joshua Grant.

    It’s worth noting that the word ‘Meraki‘ is a Greek word that roughly means “something done with great care, love and passion”. It is a meaning that explains a lot about how the Meraki Group venues are operated, and this especially shines through at Little Miss Mezza.

  • Recipes

    Gnocchi di Zucca con Ragù di Agnello e Funghi
    (Pumpkin Gnocchi, Slow-Braised Lamb & Mushroom Ragù)

    Gnocchi di Zucca Con Ragù di Agnello e Funghi - Pumpkin Gnocchi with Slow-Braised Lamb & Mushroom Ragù with Carillion Sagrantino red wine
    Pumpkin Gnocchi with Slow-Braised Lamb & Mushroom Ragù

    Most of the time, I’m not the one at The Grape & Grain to choose the wine. I do the cooking, and generally leave the wine pairing to my wife. She’s so much better at it than I am.

    Occasionally, she’ll throw me a curve-ball and message me with a wine selection before I’ve had a chance to come up with the menu. “Here,” she says. “I’d like you to cook something to go with this!”

    That’s always much harder for me: working backwards from Wine to Food. It’s not a process I enjoy and would rather just cook the food.

  • Articles,  News

    Vintage 2022 – A View from the Vines

    Vintage 2022 is getting underway in wineries all across New South Wales — and progressively in other states as well — as summer turns slowly towards autumn. All across the country, crews are out picking fruit that will be turned into our favourite wines.

    But, in the wake of years of intense climate change, recently broken droughts, devastating bushfires, and a wet and humid La Nina year, how are things looking down there in the vineyards?

    To get the answers, I asked some of the best winemakers from the Hunter Valley, Mudgee, Orange and the Southern Highlands wine regions their thoughts. The responses I received were as varied as their winemaking styles and personalities but consensus is clear that, given a little luck with the weather, this year should be a cracker for good wine.

    Here’s what they told me…

  • Reviews

    SAFRAN: A Turkish Jewel on the Central Coast

    Pomegranate Margarita, and a Turkish Delight Martini

    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.

  • Reviews

    OSTERIA IL COCCIA: A Taste of Italy by the Sea

    Osteria il Coccia's warm interior
    Osteria il Coccia’s warm interior is like an old Italian Hunting Lodge

    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.

  • Articles

    Carillion Wines – Sounding the Bell for Mount View

    Carillion Wines in the Hunter Valley
    The view from Carillion Wines

    Ask most people about the New South Wales Hunter Valley, and they’ll think of the central tourist district of Pokolbin. But travel just 15 minutes south via Oakey Creek Rd, and you’ll find Mount View.

    The short trip is well worth it, because Mount View is one of the most gorgeous parts of the Hunter Valley Region. It has breathtaking views and some really distinctive wineries producing exceptional wines.

    Carillion Wines, at the Tallavera Grove Vineyard on Mount View Road, is one such place. The Cellar Door and attached Bistro Molines just ooze French Provincial charm and the view across the vineyards is breathtaking. But…you really should visit for more than just the vista, because the wines are something special too.