Slowing down and enjoying the local fare in Bermagui

  Friday 18th May, 2018

This article was originally written by and published in the Newcastle Herald. Download the original article here.

When you have lunch in a NSW South Coast backwater such as Bermagui — well, the place, despite its immense beauty, is a bit off the beaten tourist track — you hardly expect the food to be prepared by someone who has cooked for Bill Gates, worked in the kitchens of renowned British chef Rick Stein and a couple of super-yachts, and been on the team of My Kitchen Rules.

But that’s what you get when you stop at the recently opened Eastwoods Deli, which has turned out to be quite a foodie mecca that sells a range of gourmet cheeses, patés, antipasto and cured meats, as well as offering a limited but delicious menu, great coffee and soon-to-come cooking classes.

Kelly Eastwood has stopped at Bermagui, perhaps to catch her breath, perhaps for good. She certainly likes the place, and, for the first time in her life, has the time and inclination to adorn her walls with some paintings. Farewell suitcase.

I relax first with a coffee, roasted in Stanmore by Five Senses. It is excellent — packed with flavour but certainly not bitter.

That’s paired with a good, old-fashioned jaffle — in name at least — but filled with exceptional ingredients such as double-smoked ham, béchamel sauce, pickles and cheddar cheese, and lovingly browned into a delightful package of goodness. Well, I like to think it’s as good for me as it tastes.

After a quick drive around Bermagui, I return for a second-course. I have another coffee, this time accompanied by a burger-style offering filled pan-fried, rather than deep-fried, chicken schnitzel, laced with sriracha chilli sauce inspired by the Vietnamese and Japanese mayonnaise, and topped with a mountain of fresh salad.

I suppose Kelly’s path to Eastwood Deli was paved by the River Cottage Australia TV cooking class/show which was run by Fox for some 18months, based in the town of Tilba, about half an hour from Bermagui.

Kelly loved her role in that and decided to re-create the classes when Fox pulled the plug. They will commence in the shop in June, using a number of personnel from River Cottage Australia.