Happy Easter to all. We are still open 7 nights over Easter with our usual Fri Sat Sun Lunches. We are unbelievably excited about the Four Winds Festival and wish the organisers and artists every success.
So moving on to food, what a tomato summer it was. There were so many plump red local tomatoes, it must have been the right rain and the right sun because we were still being given them right into March. Travis's much sought after toms from Coolagolite were delicious again this year, perfect for an insalata caprese and a tomato risotto with basil and mascarpone and rosemary.
And now we have moved into Autumn with a downpour and hello to the mushrooms on the pizza and the risotto with thyme and mascarpone.
John at Coolagolite has opened his roadside stall once again and we never pass without stopping to get the first crunchy apples and the small dark matsuma plums and then his wonderful figs. White and Black figs straight from his tree that morning. Simply grilled with honey for dolce and we are serving them in a very popular new dish with the ricotta gnocchi with chilli, lemon and cream.
In Wendy's garden, the first pommegrannate and the apples and quince are falling by the bucket load, The Fennel has gone to seed and we have had little fingers working to collect the fennel Seeds to use throughout the year. She counted 29 very large pumkin that have usurped the lower garden so the pumpkin crespelles won't be leaving the menu anytime soon. We are looking forward to the abundance of citrus growing in the orchard.
Steve has been supplying us with Kingfish & Matt is ever reliable with the Blue Eye. The big fish are coming in. We are serving our local catch with a herb crust, saffron potatoes and peperonata. We are also looking forward to the tuna boats going out again so we can start to use the Yellowfin & the Albacore.
On the staff front, Emily has returned to LA, we all miss her but are very happy to pass on that she and Henry have tied the knot! Big Congratulations. Helen has returned to Canberra to uni & a new job, Matt is moving north again & we wish him well. Hannah is making plans for her life & it seems a move might be imminent there too. We welcome three experienced new staff members - Mel who has just moved to Bermi, Paul who has a lot of experience in local restaurants and Oz from Dignams Creek. Sam Davis from "Strangers in paradise" is making a few guest appearances, which always makes life a little interestingÉ.
Glorious Spring, how we are ready! We reopened the restaurant on Friday the 2nd of September. There is a lot of spring on the menu, but having this wonderful South Coast climate means we can still have some of the tail of winter too.
There remains plenty of citrus on the trees here, still picking those amazing Meyer lemons for the Semifreddo, now from Wendy's orchard and there are lots oranges and grapefruits to come. We haven't even begun to make marmalade.
We can't quite yet say good bye to celeriac, cauliflower and fennel; we are doing a delicious lasagna with artichokes, leeks, ricotta and almonds. Some Roasted Baby beets with caraway on the plate are next to what will be a changing bed of Spring greens. Local Cabbage for the salad with pecorino.
Seafood from the Bermi waters, blue eye from Matt, which we are serving with clams. Kingfish from Steve for a carpaccio and a kingfish pastrami for the plate. Oysters that can't be improved, from Shane.
We are starting off with a lamb rack with with green olive, fetta and oregano and hope to have lamb throughout the spring.
Leeks and fennel from Wendy, and as always, her amazing herbs everywhere, en masse in the salsa verde with the eye fillet. The hens are laying well at the moment and giving us some of the worlds best eggs which we will serve with asparagus a little later in the spring.
We are now coming into our second winter in Bermagui. The days are beautiful and clear and the fires are burning again. We have said goodbye to the local pears and quinces but are still getting delicious local granny smiths from Wendy's trees. We have also been using some local Bega Valley Pasture fed chicken which was great so we will be ordering some more of those. Stacey and Jeanette gave us huge buckets of jerusalem artichokes and jars and jars of olives but unfortunately they won't be ready for about 10 months to year. We will keep you posted on those.
The currents have abated and once more Matt can get his baits to the depths he needs to bring in lots of beautiful Blue Eye for us. We are doing it in the pan with fennel, garlic, lemon, rosemary, mint, butter and white wine. It is perfect for mopping up with a Wild Ryes panini.
Shane's oysters are eating really well. They had a spawn and lost condition for a while but are now looking nice and plump again, fantastic with Guy's caramelised red wine shallot dipping sauce or nude just with lemon.
With the winter comes the need to eat hearty slow cooked sauces. We have been doing lamb shoulder ragu with pappardelle and also a duck ragu. We were delivering the lamb ragu to tables full of trepidation that anyone would actually be able to finish the mound of pasta put down in front of them....everybody invariably did. The need for the extra layer of insulation is universal!
Guy & Merika came up with a new quail dish with cabbage, pancetta & duck stock which was received very well by the customers. The return of the cauliflower, taleggio & anchovy pangrattato risotto has been successful and it is one to try if you're wondering what to have. A much maligned veg, the brussel sprout is back in season and is featuring on the antipasti plate, starring with pancetta.
Janinka from the Horse & Camel has been developing an Italian wine list that we can have in the restaurant so people can have more choice if they feel the need. We'll keep you posted on this development. We are enjoying the Massena Primitovo 2010 from the Barossa Valley. Belgrave Park's 2009 Peak Alone Sangiovese is nearly at an end but the good news is that Warwick and Ann have a Barbera in the Vat which we are excited to try.
We have been working with the Richard Lambert of Flying Monkey Designs to do some new il Passaggio cards, logos & menus. This is a relief after handstamping/cutting hundreds of business cards ourselves!
We plan to close the restaurant for the month of August to give ourselves and staff a bit of a break. This time is invaluable to keep everyone fresh and to get new ideas. We must make a point of eating out as much as we can!!
The whole family is going to Lord Howe Island to keep the family Windsurfing business in business. We are going to an island in the middle of the windy & rainy season, who knew? We'll catch up with friends over there and get some sailing done, which should blow out the cobwebs.
Seaside Fair Special - Free glass of wine with any main 12th/13th March
This month, Brian has very kindly been giving us his wonderfully crisp new season apples that have been used in the apple crostata served simply with double vanilla ice-cream.
We are all still enjoying the Wapengo oysters, and now have Shane's son Matt working with us at the restaurant
Wendy has been giving us the incredible eggs and sweet cherry tomatoes for the linguine. Our simple green salad is picked daily from the lettuces in her garden. The broad leaf sage is going on the crespelles with the butternut pumpkins from John's stall (on the way to Cobargo Wed/Sat/Sun). We are also deep frying the sage leaves in batter for the plate. His white figs have been picked at exactly the right moment and are exquisite with the local spotted-gum honey.
We are using flathead from Game Reason, Mahi Mahi from Carmello and Blue Eye from Matt.
Time to go back to Eric and Elizabeth to check the fig trees.
Thank you to all who attended the fundraiser for the floods it was a great night and $750 was raised for the flood appeal. Well done Jack!
Open Valentines Day Mon 14th Feb
We have been tasting apricots for a while now and finally we found some delicious, firm tree-ripened ones from Wyndham. We have been poaching them with brandy and vanilla and serving them with a biscotti crusted ricotta tart.
The Wapengo oysters are the best they have been, big and creamy.
Wendy has been giving us kipflers and dutch cream potatoes and masses of broad leaf sage and basil and buckets of cherry toms and more of the worlds best eggs.
Janet at Cobargo farm has given us lovely yellow zucchini for the antipasti plate and Bruce's telegraph cucumbers are great in the cucumber lemon mascarpone, chilli and mint salad. Janet's gorgeous roses are still in the dining room.
Buttered leeks from Ray are being served with the local flat head and his strawberries are back too.You can buy Janet and Ray's produce at the Coop on Thursdays and Saturdays.
We are still going to Eric and Elizabeth's to check the figs each week, hoping to jump in before the birds.
On the 13th of Feb Jack McKnight is organizing a fundraiser at the restaurant for the Queensland floods. Jesse Pumphrey, Sam Fletcher and Daniel Champagne are playing. There will be a $10 door charge and a raffle with prizes donated by the local businesses the funds are going to be donated through the Premiers Disaster relief appeal.
Wendy is providing us with wonderful green beans, lettuce and our broadleaf sage. She still has citrus and small amounts of asparagus and brocolette. Her zucchini's are going crazy.
We have been waiting for quite a while for Trav's tomatoes and they are better than we remembered from tasting them last year. His amarosso are an exquistite variety. They are a real tomato, in flesh and flavour. We have them on the front bar so you can smell a real tomato on your way in.
As usual we are using Matt's beautiful local Blue Eye Trevalla.
We are also getting Shane Buckley's fantastic oysters from Wapengo Lake. We went down the other day to his shed and had a full tour of the lease on his punt. He showed us how he catches the oysters, and then all the stages up until the finished product. There are 3 grades â€“ Bottlers, Bistro & Plate. Three years is the time it takes to grow the finished oyster.
We are getting the bistro size and are shucking on the premises to order. They are truly an inspiring product to have. Wapengo Lake is one of the few places in the world where the oyster farmer does not need to depurate ie. sit the oysters in purifying tanks for 36 hours and run treated water through them.
Ray's Strawberries were damaged in the hailstorm last week but hopefully he will be back on deck soon. He sells his strawberries and other produce at the Fishermen's Co-op on Saturday mornings.