Mollymook might seem like an odd place to find one of the world’s most prominent celebrity chefs, but Englishman Rick Stein has been an occasional local for more than a decade. You won’t find Stein in the kitchen full-time, but it’s not uncommon to bump into the seafood-fixated chef emerging sandy and tousled from the nearby beach.

His namesake restaurant forms the bottom level of Bannisters, a long-standing boutique hotel on the headland between Narawallee and Mollymook. The dining room is spacious and broad, decked out in sandy tones to complement the views.

Stein’s rationale for opening on the South Coast was, of course, its abundance of seafood, which he highlights via his broad selection of oysters which might be from Batemans Bay and Narooma through Merimbula, Ralston and Tuross Heads. The tuna – which might be sliced into sashimi, or marinated with passionfruit, chilli, lime and coriander – comes from Jervis Bay, about an hour north.

But the standout dish is probably the grilled fillet of snapper, fresh from the trawlers in Ulladulla harbour, served with hollandaise-sauteed spinach, lemon butter sauce and steamed potatoes. If you want to go knees-up, go for the classic French-style lobster thermidor, with Eastern Rock Lobster from Jervis Bay. The meat is cut from the shell, cream and white wine sauce are added, the meat is replaced, and the lobster is browned under the grill for extra flavour.

A word to the wise: Rick Stein is extra special during lunch service, especially if you’re seated on the balcony, where the view is accompanied by the ocean breeze. Or, head there for dinner, just as the sun is going down.

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Updated: June 9th, 2023

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