EARL’S KITCHEN AT HOTEL GOSFORD
Hotel Gosford, established in 1926, has served the local community for almost a century. Having recently undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation, the new Hotel Gosford is still full of charm and character. The revamped bistro, Earl’s Kitchen, is artfully arranged around a fireplace, and is all exposed brick, steel and raw concrete that creates a timeless feel. Earl’s Kitchen is a good place to enjoy cranked-up pub classics such as chicken schnitzel or fish and chips before heading into the Saloon, which is all richly dark and burnished inside. Curl the corners of your moustache before joining the friendly locals in The Saloon for a warming whisky flight.
Corner Mann and Erina Streets, Gosford.
THE GILDED ANCHOR
There are two dining spaces at The Quarters, the newly renovated accommodation close to Forresters Beach. Sure, the mercury never dips too dramatically on the sunny Central Coast, but those who like to chase the sun should take a staycation in a light and bright room at The Quarters, before heading to The Pantry to enjoy all-day brunch options such as panko-crumbed flathead and corn fritters on the sunshine-blasted alfresco terrace. The Gilded Anchor next door also has a terrace and garden, where you can soak up the sun. But the most inviting place to be is inside the New Orleans-inspired bar and restaurant enjoying warming plates of Korean fried chicken or USA-style pork ribs.
960 Central Coast Highway, Forresters Beach.
There’s a local secret in Wyong that is in the vault. Literally. Motel Mezze is inspired by all the romance and nostalgia of stepping into the lobby of a 1930s motel to be wined and dined. Located in the old bank building in Wyong, Motel Mezze has had a makeover that has transformed it into a contemporary dining space serving food worth getting excited about. In winter, the restaurant is a cosy crackling fire kind of place to hole up in. It’s done wonders for Wyong and is worth travelling across cities and suburbs for. Build your own banquet of Middle Eastern-inspired fare such as hummus, fattoush salad, falafel, kebeh, beef skewers and Lebanese rice or order a la carte dishes such as the Savage Garden bowl of fried broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant and zucchini.
98 Pacific Highway, Wyong.
THE ENTRANCE SOCIAL CLUB
Located on the foreshore of Tuggerah Lake just near The Entrance bridge, is where you will find The Entrance Hotel that’s been a pit stop for thirsty travellers between Sydney and Newcastle since 1927. Regarded as one of the Central Coast’s loveliest hotels, it’s recently hit refresh as part of a phased interior architecture project by Pike Withers. And, just in time for winter, there’ll be Mrs May Bistro & Bar and The Pavilion upstairs, a beautiful new space with a fireplace. Keep an eye on The Entrance Social Club, which trumpets its daily specials – such as $20 rump steak on Mondays and $30 fish tacos and margaritas – on social media, along with your favourite TV sports events. Find a puddle of sun on the sprawling deck on the promenade for a relaxed and comfortable corner.
87 the Entrance Road, The Entrance
The Cowrie Terrigal is a much-loved local restaurant hidden in the hills behind Terrigal. And it’s been undergoing a clever turnaround ever since restaurateur and executive chef Dimitris Aronis took the reins in November 2021. In addition to a fresh blast of white paint on the balcony and a Tuscan yellow colour theme that cuts the mustard, he has installed a handful of seats at the bar to make the space feel more inviting. The produce-driven menu sources sustainable produce such as fish and baby vegetables from local farms and has a lot more local and imported wines on the menu, as well as local gins from Distillery Botanica. Try the ocean trout tartare and Aquna Murray cod for starters.
109 Scenic Highway, Terrigal
THE BEACHCOMBER HOTEL
The Beachcomber Hotel is known locally as ‘the Beachie’ and it’s had a serious makeover, morphing into a fab place to eat, drink, stay and play on the Central Coast. Located in the heart of Toukley, the Beachie has transformed into a sprawling hangout with a Hamptons beach club vibe. The southern end of the Central Coast has the Boathouse at Patonga and the north now has the Beachie located in the heart of Toukley. As well as being a great place to hang in summer, it’s a top spot for a cosy weekend in winter with heaters and blankets in abundance, as well as north-facing al fresco areas on the waterfront, ideal on sunny winter days. The Beachie is a choose-your-own adventure kind of place, with multiple eateries and bars and a pool club exclusive to guests. Head to the Pelicans fine diner with its focus on seasonal produce before heading to the veranda with water views, under a giant fig tree festooned with fairy lights. The Beachie is located on the waterfront near the junction of Tuggerah and Budgewoi Lakes, and it’s as warm and inviting as the friendly Central Coast locals.
200 Main Rd, Toukley
WORDS CARLA GROSSETTI