With the weather warming up so quickly, what better place to have lunch than by the beach! And to mix it up a bit, we took a day trip down the coast to Thirroul (just above Wollongong) to try out Flanagans Dining Room. The whole trip from Central station only takes 1.5 hours and the ride is quite pleasant as you depart the city and see the vast ocean from the train.
Flanagans Dining Room is located right on the beach and from our seats we had the best view of the Tasman Sea. There are a couple of sample menus available but we’re told that they only use the freshest seasonal produce, and that no two days are the same. The menu is designed daily so it was quite exciting not knowing what we were eating!
Clyde River Oysters – $16
Seared Scallops – $22
We kick start the meal with a couple of seafood entrees. The oysters are light and refreshing accompanied with pink shallots and a white balsamic dressing – definitely better than most of the oysters that I’ve had in Sydney. The same can be said for the scallops; these are big and succulent and seared to perfection. There is a sambal chilli paste underneath which is a homemade sauce and definitely on par with authentic Malaysian restaurants. It’s so good some of us are even requesting if they package the sauce for sale.
Salt and Pepper Local Fish (choice of John Dory, Snapper, Rock Cod, Bream) – $28
For our mains, we’re treated to one of each of the local fish, which is served fried salt and pepper style with hand cut fries – essentially a high-end fish and chips! We pick at them carefully as each fillet has quite a lot of bones, so it definitely isn’t the most child-friendly dish. The stand out was the John Dory which was the most tender of them all, but overall their flavour was quite mild as each dish was only served with a lemon wedge. I also found the chips a bit disappointing – there was only about 6 chips per plate which simply isn’t enough to satisfy our chip cravings.
Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder – $28
The other main we try is the lamb shoulder which is served with blanched kale and parsnip puree. The lamb is soft and tender as you would expect from the style of slow cooking. What surprised me the most though was the puree. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a parsnip puree as I don’t commonly encounter parsnip, but I personally thought it tasted like pear, which was great as it added sweet undertones to the dish.
Creme Brulee – $9 | Sun Dried Figs – $9 | Kadaifi Pastry – $9
To round off the meal we are served three desserts. The creme brulee is a classic vanilla bean flavour; it is smooth and creamy with some raspberries on top. The sun dried figs are stuffed with walnuts and then topped with cream and maple syrup. It contains a unique combination of sweet, crunchy textures and milky cream which works really well for the dessert. But the stand out is definitely the kadaifi pastry; this is a light layered pistachio pastry (imagine a croissant texture) enveloped with syrup throughout each layer. A thick and heavier dessert but so delicious!
Overall, our day trip to Thirroul was well worth it. Not only did we get the most amazing weather and ocean views, but the food at Flanagans Dining Room is of high quality, and the allure of an ever changing menu paid off. I’d definitely consider staying down in this area on a long weekend sometime and popping in to try their dinner degustation.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Flanagans Dining Room
Flanagans Dining Room
Thirroul Beach Reserve, Cliff Parade Thirroul NSW 2515
Ph: (02) 4268 1598