Arrival: We were glad we made a reservation for lunch, as we were seated at a great table by the window facing the beautiful Wollongong Beach. People were streaming in for the lunchtime rush. Looking out, we could see the waves, the iconic lighthouse on the hill to the left, ships out on the horizon, and beach-goers.
The space: The restaurant is large and open, oozing with seaside chic. Nautical fabrics, modern styling, striking lighting and beautiful greenery adorning the stylish fixtures. We loved the high ceilings, large windows and saw there was plenty of seating inside and out on the veranda.
The staff: We met the friendly wait staff, who offered some excellent suggestions, such as choosing 3 or 4 entrees instead of a main to sample more of the menu. It turned out to be a fun way to take advantage of the in-season organic produce on offer. Throughout our visit, the staff were attentive and efficient.
The food: Soon, our table was pleasingly crowded and full of vibrant colour for us to take in. We had freshly shucked oysters with ponzu sauce (Serving of 3 oysters for $12.50), wood fired marinated split king prawns with garlic and paprika chips ($27.00), wild mushroom and blue cheese pithivier, with watercress and orange segment salad ($16.50) and a stunning vegan saffron-fried cauliflower with puffed black rice, sauteed kale, roasted peppers, eggplant puree & heirloom tomato salsa ($26.00) for myself. It took me a while to decide upon this dish, due to the plant-based choices on offer, such as yellow curry with Thai basil and pickled ginger and the Moroccan roasted vegetable shish kebab.
Options: We were searching for a modern Australian restaurant that had plenty of options for both of us. Mission accomplished! Being a plant-based eater, finding a menu with plenty of options is so refreshing and I would recommend Steamers as a place to go for a relaxed meal, with an extensive menu that expertly caters to a variety of dietary needs.
Something for every diner: Carnivores can enjoy the fact that Steamers dry-age and wood smoke organic, OBE beef in-house. (OBE is Australia's oldest and one of the world's most respected producers of certified organic, grass-fed beef). Pescatarians can feast on the extensive seafood on offer, perhaps enjoying the popular Steamer's Seafood Plate, or a selection of wild-caught seafood including barramundi from Kimberley, Western Australia, scallops from Harvey Bay or snapper from Port Philip Bay, Victoria. Gluten-free diners have over 21 options to deliberate over. Vegetarian and Vegans can relax with a choice of over 15 dishes without the fuss, all clearly marked on the menu.
Cheers: You can head over to the well-stocked bar, if you fancy a bold Cabernet or a refreshing cider. For something special, perhaps try one of their cocktails, such as the Earl Grey Martini, Canadian Club Manhattan, a Hemingway, or an Illawarra Iced Tea, while you continue to unwind surrounded by a friendly, beach atmosphere.
Dessert: For dessert, you could try a chocolate silk tart with freeze dried mandarin, crystallized violet flower with mascarpone. ($13.00)
The decadent chocolate silk tart
Breakfast/Dinner: You can also enjoy breakfast here, with a fresh cold-pressed organic juice on the ample terrace overlooking Flagstaff Hill. The breakfast menu is extensive, including exciting dishes such as Banoffee Bircher, Quinoa and Buckwheat pancakes, Corn and Courgette Fritters, or for the hungry – The Steamers Breakfast. Dinner too, would be equally good for the location and seaside ambience.
Inspiration: Steamers was initially inspired by the local area itself. Excess fresh produce was grown and loaded onto steamships at what is now known as Belmore Basin, then sailed off to feed the ever-increasing population of Sydney.
Produce: All produce is organic and locally harvested from their farm in Jamberoo Valley, taking advantage of the nutrient-rich soil, ensuring all their dishes are flavoursome and fresh. Joining the farm-to-fork movement has never been easier. "The flavour of the food is completely different when it is home-grown" says Executive Chef, Paul Hamilton.