Just steps away from the beach, Wollongong’s Diggies is a great spot for a morning coffee, post-swim brunch or afternoon Mimosa. That’s exactly what owner Stan Crinis wanted it to be when he launched the seaside cafe back in 2004.
“We’d been looking for another location for a while with an iconic site, surrounded by the ocean, for a venue we could turn into a destination for tourists and locals. This blowhole site ticked all those boxes,” says Crinis, who also opened Dagwood Bar + Kitchen in Wollongong and co-owns the Robertson Public House in the Southern Highlands.
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The cafe is on Blowhole Point adjacent to the visitor centre perched atop a low hill with views of Kiama Harbour, the neighbouring lighthouse and the Pacific Ocean.
Just like the original Diggies, this one is light and airy, with soft neutral tones, pastel accents and an abundance of plant life. Artwork and photos that celebrate the beachy lifestyle cover crisp white walls, and timber Thonet seats backed with rattan complement the terracotta-toned floors. The courtyard’s all-white exterior contrasts the area’s pine-green trees and the nearby ocean. The fit-out was designed by Rebecca Riles of online homewares boutique Roots and Wings Design in nearby Berry.
“The view is the hero in this location. We wanted to create a space that didn’t compete with that,” Crinis says. “It’s quite clean, light, fresh and airy.”
The menu doesn’t deviate from the Aussie-summers-by-the-beach formula. There’s beer-battered flathead fish served with chips, tartare and a wedge of lemon; fresh king prawns, aioli and salad in a soft bun; and a burger made with a Wagyu beef patty, bacon, egg, pickles, smashed avocado and cheese.
For brunch you can order either leg ham or smoked salmon under poached eggs and hollandaise on sourdough; fluffy buttermilk pancakes served with either fresh strawberries or banana slices (option to add fresh ricotta); breakfast tacos filled with refried pinto beans, fried egg, smashed avo and pico de gallo (salsa).
“From the beginning in Wollongong, we sourced inspiration from traditional beach kiosks,” Crinis says. “Our menu is fresh and simple – beachside classics and great, healthy salads with high-quality local produce.”
On the drinks side, there are coffees, almond-milk turmeric lattes and lavender-infused hot chocolate with marshmallows, as well as freshly made juices, smoothies and milkshakes. The bar makes Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Mojitos and Aperol spritzes, and pours wines from the South Coast and beyond.
“We love [Kiama] and the seaside feel it has. It’s like a quiet seaside town, but it’s still busy,” he says. “It's definitely getting more and more Sydney visitors, so we tried to create a space for Kiama where you can come in straight from swimming in the rock pools, or visiting the blowhole.”
1 Blowhole Point Road, Kiama
0436 353 370