The South Coast thirty years ago saw metropolitan visitors calling into a cafe for a coffee and being asked "Nescafe" or "Pablo" with the addition of "Nescafe is 10 cents more...." It was with great relief that the very first coffee machines arrive on the coast. Most remarkable was the huge steaming unit installed at the Air Raid Cafe in Moruya. Back then if you wanted a coffee it was at Sam and Anna's pizzeria in Batemans Bay or later on the Air Raid Tavern in Moruya . Back then if you wanted anything more than a hamburger or a sandwich for lunch you were lucky. The idea of smashed avocado on sourdough washed down with an organic beetroot, celery, apple and tumeric juice would have seemed ludicrous rather than the de rigueur it has become Restaurants of any interest were few and far between up and down the Shire. Many old timers might remember the French delights of Moruya's Old Bank Cafe hosted by Brian and Warren. Then there was Winterwood Blues that dared to offer nouvelle cuisine. Several years later came Jamieson's on the Pier in Batemans Bay and The River in Moruya with the exquisite menu of Ploys in Tuross that bought diners from outside of the shire for weekend soirees. But exceptional food was still a rarity on the south coast and it was a constant bugbear to those who made a seachange to the area to find that the cafe scene was somewhat behind in offering what were now standard metropolitan choices. In more recent years there has been a steady raising of the bar. In Eurobodalla there are now several exceptional eateries delivering consistently high standards. Of these we now have national award winners and menus are being delivered with a true sense of pride. Batemans Bay, Moruya, Tuross Head, Bodalla, Mossy Point and Narooma, each with their own award winning cafes and restaurants, lift the bar further still. Behind this groundswell is our local TAFE, educating our youth and passing on quality back of house and front of house skills. Hospitality is one of our primary employers in Eurobodalla. Sadly we are viewed as being a seasonal destination and as a consequence we have a very high under-employment rate in the off season which adds further to having one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the state. The Beagle celebrates our local cafes and restaurants that support apprentices and trains, retains, and nurtures their staff. The Beagle will be bringing you articles in 2017 that feature our local establishments, their chefs, their apprentices, their front of house people and the food they are preparing and presenting. We will be looking at where ingredients are sourced and how the kitchens are supporting local farmers and providers. We have come along way from instant coffee served in an old cream coloured mug with it's chipped edges and hamburgers that had tomato sauce, a page of iceberg lettuce, two slices of tomato, a patty, a fried egg and slice of half melted cheddar cheese on a high topped white bun (though the chips were always hand cut) or the more exotic choice for a night out with sweet and sour pork and combination rice, long before the arrival of Vietnamese, Thai, Italian and Spanish and long before the arrival of sour dough, muffins, fresh juice combos and... good coffee. Back then vegans were unheard of, there were no gluten freerers, very few if any food allergy sufferers and nearly everybody smoked before, sometimes during, and then after their meal. And back then the wine of choice at the dinner table was a humble moselle, porphery pearl, asti spumante or the very exotic liebfraumilche. Times have changed and Eurobodalla is coming of age.
Above: Burrata with ox heart tomatoes, crushed sunflower seeds, basil and gastrique from The Mossy cafe at Mossy Point.
Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. The gastrique is caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar,