Ferry Road Cafe - best brunch spot for Ettalong daytrippers
The last couple of years have been a welcome - and overdue - boom time for the Woy Woy peninsula, as retirees, commuters fleeing Sydney property prices, and young people enticed by the area's relative proximity to the city have injected a definite unique flavour into its formerly winced-at beach suburbs. Cocktail joints, trendy burger bars, and a glut of quirky vintage stores have sprung up around Woy Woy, Ettalong and Umina, and are joined by the Ferry Road cafe, a family business whose laid-back style doesn't detract from the quality of its food and drink, but instead complements the menu to make for a perfect weekend getaway meal stop.
Dropping in at Ferry Road, next door to the wharf carrying daytrippers to Palm Beach, and so a convenient stop for a pre-ferry coffee, is best while the breakfast menu's still on offer, before 11:30. Missing out on the impressive variety of traditional cafe lunches and more modern fare - the nachos feature an unusual and enticing sweet bean chili - is more than made up for by the peace and quiet of the garden setting and beach-scented air in the mornings. The breakfast/brunch menu is no less appealing than its later counterpart, anyway, with an impressive array of lighter snacks up to sizeable portions of surprisingly healthy-looking meals. There's a welcome level of care taken to include veggie options, with both the bruschetta and vegetarian breakfast arriving with fresh avocado, perfectly grilled tomatoes and excellent Turkish sourdough. Meat-lovers will also find little to fault with the bacon, ham or salmon generously piled onto the eggs benedict or toast.
With a slight but noticeable recent overhaul - the formerly wobbly tables have been re-lacquered, the hole-in-the-wall pay point now takes EFTPOS, and the menu's been shaken up a bit - one might have expected a shift to pricier cafe fare aimed at Barrenjoey Peninsula visitors. Instead, a hearty breakfast and a chai latte - worth singling out - will set you back no more than $20, with maybe an extra five bucks for a lunchtime visit, where the portion sizes will leave your sides bulging. While the relaxed service can require a bit of patience - we didn't receive an extra side order until our meal was all but finished - it's not the sort of place to go if slick city-style dining is your thing, but rather a great addition to a chilled-out Sunday. Catch the ferry, wander through the markets over the road, maybe do a spot of fishing nearby, and chat over a filling and thoroughly enjoyable brunch at the Ferry Road Cafe.