Delectable describes the taste and the aromas and sumptuous describes perfectly the plating and atmosphere of this revitalised South Coast landmark. The Pickled Octopus in Tuross Head recently changed management, waving goodbye to Greg and Cath Ferguson after nineteen years of solid service to the Eurobodalla hospitality industry and we now welcome Grant and Bee Creevey to the helm. In just under a month Grant and Bee opened up the restaurant with wide sliding doors, a lick of paint, freshly polished floors, a revamp of the kitchen and a revamp of the menu that now includes Thai. Staying true to the origins of the Pickled Octopus menu the restaurant continues to offer fresh south coast seafood dishes chefed by Jacko who is a master of the traditional Pickled Octopus menu. New to the Pickled Octopus Cafe menu is the Thai cuisine which is where this review will focus. Did I say delectable … well that is an understatement. But first an introduction to the new owners Grant and Bee. Grant has known of Tuross most of his life and has returned to it often over all the years of travelling and working overseas, specializing in international hospitality, especially in Thailand. That is where he met his wife Bee. When the opportunity to take over the Pickled Octopus came up it was a perfect choice for the pair who wanted to move permanently to Tuross and have present the cuisine that they love. In the kitchen you will find husband and wife Thai chefs, Rang and Swan who originally come from the Khon Kaen area of North East Thailand. This area is renowned for its cuisine that is focused on the use of fresh herbs, limes and grilled meats whilst also adapting the signature dishes of the south adding their own regional vibrancy. And the result is divine.
Above (L to Right) Grant and Bee Creevey and husband and wife chefs Rang and Swan
Before covering the dishes enjoyed over a long lunch it is important to note that Bee and Grant are committed to local produce. The seafood is all local or Australian where possible and is exceptional quality, the beef is grass fed from Mogendoura and the local vegies are sourced from the SAGE markets and from local farmers with the Tuross oysters just metres away. Offering the exceptional quality of produce that we have in the Eurobodalla adds to the story behind each the meal
Arriving at the table (for three) came perfect hand rolled prawn and crab spring rolls soon followed by a Crying Tiger beef dish, a Massaman curry, a green curry with chicken, and a prawn Pad Thai
Above: Click for larger images The Crying Tiger is thinly sliced grass fed Mogendoura rump tossed in lime juice, roasted chilli powder , crushed roasted rice and fresh mint coriander and served with slices cucumber. Our preference was for added chilli which bought a coolness to the back of the eyes while still allowing for all the subtleties of the herbs and lime infusing the beef to be noticed. One of the pleasures of Thai cuisine is that it is generally meant to be shared and served fresh and hot off the wok and this is exactly how it came from the kitchen, first the Crying Tiger then the two curries followed by the Pad Thai. From one to the other it was just pure heaven with the crisp freshness of the beef dish in its lime and herbs to the thick richness of the Massaman that paid absolute respect to the beef that just fell apart at the fork. The Pad Thai noodles were perfectly done and the traditional tamarind, egg and palm sugar sauce was well balanced, served with bean sprouts and a good squeeze of lemon bringing it all together with the generous portion of Port Lincoln green prawns.
The green chicken curry announced its arrival at the table with its aromas of fresh basil and the chicken, in the rich soft green sauce with its bamboo shoots and kaffir lime leaf, was tender and tasty. A tiny additional detail to the dish was not overlooked. The little green "peas" in this dish, that pop as you bite them, are eggplant peas, grown in Batemans Bay, adding a further touch of authenticity to the dish with both texture and taste. Close your eyes and you could easily be in Khon Kaen. As you can imagine there was no room for desert which will be remedied next time we visit as the deserts also are local – very local in fact, coming from next door at the Red Box Pantry where Deb Skelton crafts designer cakes and between orders batches up specialised deserts. Today’s selection according to the blackboard was mille fuille, salted caramel tarts, lemon lime tart and chocolate cheese cake. The Red Box make these exclusively for Bee and Grant, all made with Tilba milks and creams, organic butter and local free range eggs sourced from the SAGE Farmers markets. Being licenced Grant takes pleasure having a good stock of beers and wines that he offers. The go-to house selection is Falls Wines from Canowindra made by vigneron Chris Derrez and Lucy. Chris learnt his trade in the Burgundy region and the whites and reds in the Falls range reflect that classic French heritage. Much to Grants joy he also offers a selection of higher end wines for those who enjoy a fuller palette wine with their meal. A must return - five stars. The Pickled Octopus Seafood & Thai Cafe
93 D Trafalgar Road, Tuross Head NSW 2537
LUNCH :WED-SUN 12.00 -2.15 PM
DINNER : WED-SUN 6.00 PM -8.15 PM
(02) 4473 6084 Disclaimer: The reviewer was a luncheon guest with Bee and Grant. The meal was free, the company was much enjoyed, and the above review of the food is honest and without bias.