ARC RESTAURANT, Terrigal
Where boho-luxe meets Bali
Sometimes you just want a classic: a meal or cocktail that’s stood the test of time, rode the fads and is still a resounding favourite because it’s just so damned good. That’s what Arc delivers: traditional, bistro-style food and drinks that are tasty and assured. The kind of dishes you order with confidence. But, here’s the golden twist, they’ve taken the dishes out of the bistro and have instead paired these favourite flavours with a gorgeous resort-style setting and table service that sings. The decor is boho-luxe meets Bali. Think woven raffia cushions, carved wooden tables from India, seagrass and rattan pendants and antique entry doors.
The menu is packed with timeless dishes, such as slowroasted pork belly with creamy mash, honey-glazed Dutch carrots and Madeira mustard sauce, and 100-day grain-fed beef sirloin served with chips and café de Paris butter. They even have a prawn cocktail, a favourite of the ’60s. It’s made from Australian prawns, iceberg lettuce, avocado, Yarra Valley salmon roe and cocktail sauce. And people love it.
Most of the dishes have a French or Italian influence, but they occasionally dip into the Asia Pacific (tempura prawns and oysters with wakame and wasabi mayo), or Peru (kingfish ceviche), or the Med (oven-roasted chicken with house-made labneh, baba-ganoush, harissa and pearl couscous).
There’s no smoke and mirrors or fancy garnishes; it’s quality ingredients and trusted mixings. And when it comes to cocktails: shaken, stirred and poured straight up. Make ours a Margarita.
Shop 7 and 8/18 Church Street, Terrigal; 0451717607. arcterrigal.com.au/
PHAT PLATTER, everywhere
One look at Phat Platter creations and you’ll be coming up with any excuse to have people around to celebrate the arrival of summer with a perfectly poised picnic platter to share with your nearest and dearest. From baby showers and birthday gatherings to kids’ parties and corporate events, Phat Platter crafts a smorgasbord of delicious treats to impress. We’re talking a slab of honeycomb atop of wheel of brie snuggled up to a generous serving of prosciutto and plump strawberries.
‘I have had a passion for food and design my whole life,’ says owner Stevie Larsen. ‘Living overseas in London, then Canada, opened my eyes to the amazing restaurants, one being a wine and cheese bar called Basalt in Whistler, where I worked,’ she adds. ‘This is where I learnt about amazing cheeses and cured meats and found my love for grazing boards.’
The Wamberal local started the business in 2017 and uses a range of mostly Australian produce, with a few French and Italian cheeses, and makes extras such as caramelised nuts. Her most popular product is currently the cheese and charcuterie box, but the grazing tables and picnics are flying out the door as Covid-19 restrictions ease. It’s no wonder. Stevie sets up the most glamorous picnics with rattan furniture, glassware, floral arrangements and plenty of throws. She also creates tiered grazing tables with a mix of sweet and savoury, plus boxes of goodies you can pick up or have delivered for a semi-DIY experience.
SWEET CAROLINE, East Gosford
Beautiful, fun and perfect for summer flings with friends, Sweet Caroline is one of the newest, hippest venues on the Central Coast. Launching in August (2020), owners Tony and Eliza Benvenuto describe their East Gosford café as a quirky wonderland, with casual, creative dishes. The daytime menu features breakfast delights such as an eggs benny croissant and Italian baked eggs, while lunch is about classic options done well: fish tacos and spiced calamari, for example. The casual eatery turns into a funky neon-lit restaurant at night, where the chefs step it up a notch with more-ish meals including truffle mushrooms, and Italian pork and veal meatballs. Pair your dish with a pinot grigio or Aperol spritz and you’ll be enjoying la dolce vita without travelling to Europe.
Not long after tying the knot in February, the Sydney couple lost their jobs as a result of Covid-19. As soon as they could, over the following months, they got back to visiting the Central Coast where they had family, and knew it was a good fit.
‘We’ve previously had cafés in Sydney and felt this was the perfect opportunity to express our creativity while also setting up a future on the Coast,’ Tony says. ‘We looked for venues for a few weeks until we found our little gem, and once we saw it we knew we could create something special with the space.’ Once a plant nursery, the café still has a cheerful abundance of plants in its outdoor setting, quirky neon lights, and a mirrored waterfall. Inside, there are comfy vintage chairs and a sofa that make you feel right at home.
Shop 12/36-40 Victoria Street, East Gosford sweetcarolinecentralcoast.com.au/
A line of people greets the Bouffant team most mornings at opening, and it’s a constant that remains for much of the day. People come from far and wide for their baked treats, whose
images they’ve seen loved, reposted and storied on Instagram. Bouffant is co-owned by Andrew Mansfield and Markus Kunz, the same duo behind East Gosford’s Oomph café. In March they opened their first bakery in East Gosford’s main shopping precinct. It was called The Bakery, and it quickly gained popularity when people saw they could buy a pastry there for less than $2!
They do this by creating a croissant pastry that they then use to create multiple treats. They still use quality ingredients and each croissant is still rolled out by hand, but they’ve worked out how they can skip some of the more time-consuming tasks in order to create a beautiful product fast, and at a price point that ensures they can deliver their ‘fluffy goodness’ to all.
The concept took off, and in July they adopted the name Bouffant and opened a second shop in Gosford. Located in a historic sandstone building on Mann Street, the shop’s pastel-pink panelled countertop is lined with almond croissants, Portuguese tarts, salted caramel-filled doughnuts and white chocolate-and raspberry muffins. Pastel pink colours everything – from the pendant lights and splashback tiles to the coffee cups and plant pots – rendering a space that’s Insta-worthy in every sense. As we went to print, the Bouffant team are set to to open their third shop in Terrigal… and we have no doubt that it won’t be their last.
38 Mann Street, Gosford
LOADED DOUGH, Terrigal
At Loaded Dough they make cookies. But these aren’t just any cookies – oh no, no. These are giant New York-style cookies stuffed with fillings, drizzled with chocolate and topped with fudge brownies, M&Ms and marshmallows!
Loaded Dough’s beginnings read like a classic from Disney. Mitch Connor was a construction worker, and on days off he liked to bake. Each week he’d take his hard hat, steel-capped boots and a bunch of cookies with him to the site. As he says, ‘It was costing me $100 a week to make these cookies for my mates.’
People seemed to like them, so he and his partner, Kasinda Croser (a real estate agent), bought some ingredients and decided to try their luck selling a few through Instagram. They sold out in a day. Within three weeks they’d both resigned from their jobs and started baking full-time. And then, in October, just three months since launch, they signed the lease for their first standalone digs, a shop at Terrigal Beach.
Their cookies are incredibly popular, and it’s easy to see why. Their Loaded Rocky Road cookie, for example, is made from their ‘secret loaded dough’, crushed Scotch Fingers, milk chocolate and diced red frogs. It comes with a Nutella and marshmallow centre, and it’s topped with drizzled chocolate and a marshmallow! They also create custom Cookie Pizzas, which are gaining cult status among in-the-know teens looking for a birthday ‘cake’ with a difference. It’s quartered into four flavours and is packed with some 16 different treats! It beats the half-and-half any day.
Loaded Dough: Shop 3/1A Campbell Cres, Terrigal Beach
WORDS JENNIFER ENNION & KATIE STOKES