A Weekend in Central Coast, New South Wales

 It’s a glorious day in the Central Coast.
But what makes this weekend special is the company of good friends.

~~~~~~~~O~~~~~~~~

Do you need an excuse for a nice weekend away from your usual routine?

I don’t need one but it seems that some friends have found a reason to celebrate milestone birthdays for The Monk and I.

It’s supposedly a colour for the ‘new age’ guy but Magenta is also a coastal suburb in the Central Coast of New South Wales.

Just over an hour’s drive from Sydney, Hotel Pullman Magenta Shores Resort is a sprawling web of holiday villas set within a clubhouse, restaurant, tennis courts, swimming pool, indoor lap pool, sauna, 18-hole golf course and of course, a 5-minute stroll to the white sands of Tuggerah beach.

Thelonious and Doctor Kidney are definitely not new age so it appears paradoxical they have invested in a modern holiday villa in the middle of nowhere with all the modern conveniences to pamper their friends from time to time.

“Make sure you bring some good drops” the Monk says to us all. After all, a milestone birthday does not happen all that often.

Magenta Shores, Central Coast New South Wales

Entrance into Pullman Magenta Shores Resort, Central Coast, New South Wales

Entrance into Pullman Magenta Shores Resort, Central Coast, New South Wales

Mysaucepan and I have been here on numerous occasions previously and the comforts and convenience of a modern holiday villa is a big bonus.

Whisky and Champagne for the weekend

Chivas Regal Aged 18 years, Sullivans Cove Single Cask French Oak, 2000 Moet & Chandon, Johnny Walker XR Aged 21 years, Suntory Yamazaki Aged 18 years

Chivas Regal Aged 18 years, Sullivans Cove Single Cask French Oak, 2000 Moet & Chandon, Johnny Walker XR Aged 21 years, Suntory Yamazaki Aged 18 years

The Monk is celebrating his milestone birthday and brings a few heavyweight from Tasmania and Japan.

Tasmanian distillery Sullivan’s Cove was named the world’s best single malt whisky at the World Whiskies Award held in London recently.

Theolonius and Clarevoyages have given me a bottle of Johnny Walker XR Aged 21 years for my milestone birthday.

Roasted kale chips

Roasted kale chips

It’s going to be an indulgent weekend.

So instead of munching on potato chips and all sorts of unhealthy snacks, I have prepared roasted kale chips as snack for our whiskies. If it is supposed to be a super food to cleanse the liver of toxins, then we need to eat a tonne of kale this weekend.

Pluck the kale leaves and discard the stems. Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle salt on the leaves and toss in a large colander until the leaves are coated with oil.

Spread the kale leaves on a baking tray and slow-bake in the oven at 130 degrees Celsius (265 Fahrenheit) until it is crisp. Watch the leaves as they can burn easily if left unattended.

2005 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville, 2004 Clos de l'Oratoire, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru,  1998 Chapel Hill The Vicar, 2006 Peter Lehmann Cabernet Sauvignon

The first evening's indulgence ~ 2005 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville, 2004 Clos de l'Oratoire, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 1998 Chapel Hill The Vicar, 2006 Peter Lehmann Cabernet Sauvignon

A 2005 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville courtesy of Clarevoyages was my favourite among for reds after the first evening.

A blend of 77% Zindandel, 17% Carignane and 6% Petite Sirah, I found a palate that is complex with dark berries, black pepper with very soft tannins and a good finish.

Pan-seared lamb cutlets

Lamb cutlets marinated with fresh rosemary, lemon juice, salt and black pepper

Lamb cutlets marinated with fresh rosemary, lemon juice, salt and black pepper

What would life be without lamb cutlets and a glass of cabernet sauvignon?

It was a unanimous decision among everyone to have these beautiful cutlets for lunch and I have volunteered to do the cooking.

Unless roasting a whole lamb rack, I prefer these cutlets with that beautiful layer of fat compared to French-trimmed cutlets. The thick layer of fat might give your cardiologist heart palpitations but there’s a tasty method of rendering fat.

Season cutlets with fresh rosemary, thyme, freshly cracked black pepper and a few generous pinches of sea salt and let it marinate for about twenty minutes.

Cevapi sausages and marinated lamb cutlets

Cevapi sausages and marinated lamb cutlets

Cevapi sausages (or chevap) come without the skin and it’s best for the BBQ when seasoned with salt, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

Lamb cutlets ready for the frying pan

Lamb cutlets assembled in '69 position' ready for the frying pan

While the frying pan is being heated, assemble cutlets to stand on its flat edges.

Alternating the cutlets in ’69 position’ enables them to lean on each other so they don’t collapse.

Searing lamb cutlets on its side to caramelize fat

Searing lamb cutlets on its side to caramelize fat

When the pan is very hot, swirl in just two teaspoons of EVOO to coat the entire pan. When oil begins to smoke, gently place the cutlets onto the pan, edge side down.

The meat should immediately sizzle and the fat begins to render and caramelize.

Lamb cutlets sizzing in the pan

Lamb cutlets sizzing in the pan

Once the edges are golden brown and caramelized, most of the fat will be rendered into the pan which is why very little olive oil is required when pan-searing these cutlets.

Flip each cutlet over when each side is browned. Be cautious to not overcook as these cutlets are most tender and succulent when seared to medium rare. It’s always better to err on the rare rather than overcooked side. Ensuring the pan is very hot will reduce the chance of these cutlets ‘stewing’ especially when searing many at one time.

Corn on cob & cherry tomato and butter lettuce salad 

Corn on the cob and salad of cherry tomatoes, butter lettuce, onions and cucumber

Corn on the cob and salad of cherry tomatoes, butter lettuce, onions and cucumber

To me, there’s no better way to eat steamed corn on the cob than melting some butter and sprinkle salt on it.

These cobs have been steamed for fifteen minutes. Still nice and hot, they are screaming out for a knob of butter.

Salad of cherry tomatoes, butter lettuce, onions and cucumber

Salad of cherry tomatoes, butter lettuce, onions and cucumber

I quarter about twenty cherry tomato into wedges and cut a Spanish onion and three cucumbers into thin slices to mix with a couple of roughly torn butter lettuce.

This salad is simple and one of my favourites during summer BBQs.

My salad dressing is to simply whisk the following:

  • Half cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Apple tart and vanilla ice-cream

Apple tart and vanilla ice-cream

A couple of hungry wolves are eyeing an apple tart and vanilla ice-cream for dessert while nursing their reds.

A walk along Tuggerah beach on a beautiful day 

Track to Wyrrabalong National Park, Central Coast, New South Wales

Track to Wyrrabalong National Park, Central Coast, New South Wales

Tuggerah beach is a five-minute walk from where we are.

There is also a leisurely fifty-minute return walk to Wyrrabalong National Park nearby.

Tuggerah beach with North Entrance in the horizon, Central Coast, New South Wales

Tuggerah beach with North Entrance in the horizon, Central Coast, New South Wales

It turns out to be a perfect day ~ clear blue skies with a crisp wind though the sun is warm against our backs.

From the top of the sand dunes, we can see as far as the township at North Entrance.

An afternoon walk on Tuggerah beach, Central Coast, New South Wales

An afternoon walk on Tuggerah beach, Central Coast, New South Wales

Unlike Sydney beaches, this one is deserted save for a few die-hard surfers trying to catch a few waves.

Getting a bit of sand between our toes is a wonderful way to walk off those lamb cutlets we had for lunch earlier.

Wines for the weekend

2008 Leeuwin Estate Riesling 2008 O'Leary Walker Riesling 2006 Petauma Riesling 2008 Pewsey Vale Riesling

2008 Leeuwin Estate Riesling 2008 O'Leary Walker Riesling 2006 Petaluma Riesling 2008 Pewsey Vale Riesling

Starting with the whites, we have a few cracker rieslings ~ Leeuwin Estate from Western Australia’s Margaret river as well as a Petaluma and Pewsey Vale from the Clare and Eden valley in the Barossa which is home to some of the finest of this varietal in Australia.

2011 Bannockburn Chardonnay, 2012 EVOI Reserve Chardonnay 2001 Bannockburn SRH Chardonnay 2006 Devil's Lair Chardonnay 2009 Tyrrell's Vat 47 Chardonnay, 2008 Toolangi Reserve Chardonnay

2011 Bannockburn Chardonnay, 2012 EVOI Reserve Chardonnay 2001 Bannockburn SRH Chardonnay 2006 Devil's Lair Chardonnay 2009 Tyrrell's Vat 47 Chardonnay, 2008 Toolangi Reserve Chardonnay

The line up for chardonnay is no less impressive and it includes an aged 2001 Bannockburn SRH that promises to be among the best in this stable.

1997 Rosemount Estate Mountain Blue Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 1998 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 1996 Lake's Folly Cabernets, 1997 Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

1997 Rosemount Estate Mountain Blue Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 1998 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 1996 Lake's Folly Cabernets, 1997 Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

1998 was one of the great vintages in the Coonawarra region for cabernet sauvignon and a Wynns Coonawarra Estate from this vintage entices among a 1996 Lake’s Folly Cabernet Sauvignon from the Hunter and a 1997 Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot from Margaret river.

1997 Rosemount Estate Mountain Blue Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 1993 Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz?, 1996 Henschke Edelstone Shiraz, 1987 Penfold's Grange Hermitage, 1998 Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz

1997 Rosemount Estate Mountain Blue Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 1993 Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz?, 1996 Henschke Edelstone Shiraz, 1987 Penfold's Grange Hermitage, 1998 Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz

The Penfolds Grange and Henschke’s Hill of Grace are arguably two of Australia’s greatest shiraz and this weekend, we have brought a 1987 and a 1996 respectively.

Dinner at Barretts Restaurant, Hotel Pullman Magenta Shores Resort

Chefs at work ~ Barretts Restaurant, Magenta Shores, Central Coast, New South Wales

Chefs at work ~ Barretts Restaurant, Magenta Shores, Central Coast, New South Wales

The Barretts Restaurant at the Pullman Hotel clubhouse has a modern Australian menu and the chefs have their work cut out on this busy Saturday evening.

Dining room, Barretts Restaurant, Magenta Shores, Central Coast, New South Wales

Dining room, Barretts Restaurant, Magenta Shores, Central Coast, New South Wales

The dining room is spaciously spread over an elevated position that overlooks the golf course and the 18th green.

2001 Bannockburn SRH Chardonnay

2001 Bannockburn SRH Chardonnay

The Monk brings his 2001 Bannockburn SRH Chardonnay to dinner and it does not disappoint.

After 13 years in the bottle, the colour of this wine is a vibrant gold. There is complex stonefruit aromas with a velvety palate and long oaky finish. This bottle is truly one of the great interpretations of the varietal.

Garlic bread

Garlic bread $8

Garlic bread made from a baguette is crisp and warm with a generous lashing of butter and some herbs.

Fresh oysters $4 each

Fresh oysters $4 each

Oyster farms along the New South Wales coastline are plentiful and we have tried some truly amazing oyster during our trips to the South Coast.

A dozen fresh oysters are sitting pretty on a bed of rock salt with a few lemon wedges.

Fresh oysters $4 each

Fresh oysters $4 each

Unfortunately, these oysters are lacklustre and far from their best.

Pan seared sea scallops with sweet corn, oyster mushrooms, broad bean and butter sauce $22

Pan seared sea scallops with sweet corn, oyster mushrooms, broad bean and butter sauce $22

Scallops are beautifully seared to golden brown and still succulent with a sweet corn and butter sauce.

Duck breast with carrot puree & pickled carrots, pear chutney and petite herb salad $20

Duck breast with carrot puree & pickled carrots, pear chutney and petite herb salad $20

Mysaucepan‘s slab of duck breast can be a lot more tender though she would disagree with me as I am comparing it with Chinese roast duck, one of my absolute favourites, apart from Peking duck.

Rocket and pear salad $9

Rocket and pear salad $9

Rocket and pear salad is a safer bet among the entrees we have had.

It is difficult to go wrong with crunchy walnuts, slivers of Spanish onions, olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan.

Seared breast and confit leg of chicken with creamed potato, chicken and vegetable broth and glazed young  leeks $31

Seared breast and confit leg of chicken with creamed potato, chicken and vegetable broth and glazed young leeks $31

Theolonius reports that his seared chicken breast in a hearty vegetable broth and glazed young leek accompanied by creamed potato hits the mark.

1996 Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz

1996 Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz

A 1996 Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz is dark crimson and musky on the nose. The soft tannins with ripened plums add good complexity with a lingering finish.

Grilled sirloin of beef, Jerusalem artichoke puree with glazed shallots, game chips and beef jus $40

Grilled sirloin of beef, Jerusalem artichoke puree with glazed shallots, game chips and beef jus $40

The Monk and I both had the grilled sirloin with dollops of artichoke puree, glazed shallots and game chips.

Grilled sirloin of beef, Jerusalem artichoke puree with glazed shallots, game chips and beef jus

Grilled sirloin of beef, Jerusalem artichoke puree with glazed shallots, game chips and beef jus

This steak took a while to arrive and while nicely charred with a blushing pink in the centre, it’s a rather tough piece of meat on the jaws.

Tasmanian ocean trout with lemon gel, sautéed samphire, fennel juice and steamed chat potatoes $35

Tasmanian ocean trout with lemon gel, sautéed samphire, fennel juice and steamed chat potatoes $35

Mysaucepan‘s Tasmanian ocean trout is crisp on the skin and beautifully paired with slivers of samphire, fennel juice, steamed chat potatoes and bursts of tangy lemon gel.

After dinner drinks while watching FIFA World Cup 2014

After dinner drinks while watching FIFA World Cup 2014

After dinner, we strolled back to our villa and it was time to crack open a few big guns.

Personally, I am not a fan of single malt whiskies and prefer the smoothness from a blended one. The Sullivan’s Cove might be voted best single malt but I am definitely in favour of the Johnny Walker XR.

A few nips later and the entire house is cheering on their favourite team on TV.

Warning signage ~ Tuggerah Beach, Central Coast, New South Wales

Warning signage ~ Tuggerah Beach, Central Coast, New South Wales

The next morning turns out to be yet another cracker of a day.

Path leading to Tuggerah Beach, Central Coast, New South Wales

Path leading to Tuggerah Beach, Central Coast, New South Wales

Clear blue skies greet us as we head down the wooden path towards Tuggerah beach from our villa.

Tuggerah beach with North Entrance in the horizon, Central Coast, New South Wales

Tuggerah beach with North Entrance in the horizon, Central Coast, New South Wales

It’s a relatively private stretch of public beach and as we head south, the small community at North Entrance comes into view.

Footprints heading south on Tuggerah beach

Footprints heading south on Tuggerah beach

The sand is soft under my feet while the wind is cool against my face.

Footprints heading north on Tuggerah beach

Footprints heading north on Tuggerah beach

Footprint in the sand, Tuggerah beach

Footprint in the sand, Tuggerah beach

Seashell in the sand, Tuggerah beach

Seashell in the sand, Tuggerah beach

Children at play on Tuggerah beach

Children at play on Tuggerah beach

Morning walk on a glorious day at Tuggerah beach

Morning walk on a glorious day at Tuggerah beach

Breakfast after a morning walk

Bacon rashers ready for the grill

Bacon rashers ready for the grill

Since I am an early riser, everyone is happy for me to prepare breakfast today.

Bacon and eggs for breakfast

Bacon and eggs for breakfast

And the easiest way to cook for a crowd is to let the kitchen appliances do most of the cooking, especially after a late night with a few more drinks than normal.

Scrambled eggs and grilled bacon

Scrambled eggs and grilled bacon

Scrambled eggs, bacon and toast is one of my favourite breakfasts during a weekend away.

Streaky grilled bacon

Streaky grilled bacon

How do you like your bacon? Crispy or a little chewy?

Pine trees at Tuggerah beach

Pine trees at Tuggerah beach

Callistemon at Central Coast, New South Wales

Callistemon at Central Coast, New South Wales

After brekky, it was time to head back home to Sydney. Thanks everyone for making this weekend a memorable one.

Tuggerah beach with North Entrance in the horizon, Central Coast, New South Wales

Tuggerah beach with North Entrance in the horizon, Central Coast, New South Wales

So dear readers, which do you prefer, the North Coast or the South Coast of New South Wales?

Barretts Restaurant 
1 Magenta Drive, Magenta
New South Wales

http://www.quaywestmagentashores.com.au/dining-en.html

Barretts Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tel: +61 2 4352 8137

Breakfast Monday to Sunday 7am – 10.30am Lunch Saturday and Sunday from 12pm, Dinner Monday to Sunday from 6pm

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4 Responses to A Weekend in Central Coast, New South Wales

  1. I quite like the Sunshine Coast. :) What a fabulous weekend away and what a celebration for a milestone birthday. With a group like that, food is good but friendship is better.

  2. I love both the north and south coasts – depends on what you are after – south better for food experiences and north beaches. But hey, I’ll take either if you are offering:)

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Rachel,

      I agree the South coast has so much more to offer in terms of good restaurants and food experiences. The beaches and fishing spots are just as plentiful as well. The advantage of the North coast is the closer proximity to the Hunter though there are a few notoable vineyards in the south too.

  3. Lovely… and those lamb cutlets… mouthwatering.

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