Rick Stein at Bannisters
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 honorary local for 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. The choice seats are on the balcony, where the view is accompanied by the ocean breeze.
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 from Batemans Bay and Narooma through Merimbula, Ralston and Tuross Heads. Mussels served with their traditional accompaniment of white wine, garlic and parsley come from Eden, about two hours further south.
The standout dish is probably the grilled fillet of snapper, fresh from the trawlers in Ulladulla harbour, served in a Malaysian-style sambal. But if you want to go knees-up, the classic French-style Fruits de Mer presents a smorgasbord of shellfish and seafood, served on ice, with a side of mayonnaise and shallot vinegar.
A word to the wise: Rick Stein is best appreciated during lunch service. That view counts for nothing after the sun goes down.