Well, it’s me, Strop, and this is a special off-the-map guest blog, because Andy refused to write while on holidays.
The daughters, the g-daught, the son-out-law, Andy and I have all been on a summer holiday. This outing was planned as a last night celebration of our two weeks together in Brunswick Heads.
We’ve been to fatbellyKaf twice before, and we’ve never found it wanting – so we are really looking forward to this treat.
One of the best things about Brunz is that you don’t really need to drive anywhere, ever. It’s all walkable.
For instance, the Brunswick Hotel, as some of you may know, is perfectly located on a bend in the tidal creek. It is well-appointed, with many tables and seats under generously proportioned poinciana trees, a variety of beverages and tasty food. It is perfectly designed to entice on the way home from the beach.
The IGA has everything you might need, including local delicacies, and the fruit and vege stall down past the Bowlo offers a wide range of fresh and often local fruit and vege (surprisingly).
And then there are the choice swimming locations: our preferences are for Torakina, a small beach inside the Brunswick River’s breakwalls, or a couple of locations on the Creek. The surf beach is often a bit wild and wooly, not so good for 2 year olds, whereas Torakina has very good sand for drizzle castles (one of my personal favourite activities at the beach) and in fact many other type of sandy constructions – there was a sand car there one day! The creek’s depth fluctuates from very deep to very shallow depending on the tide, so about half of any day there are plenty of places to swim.
The only real reason to get in a car is to visit the splendid farmers markets in New Brighton (Tuesdays) and Mullumbimby (Fridays). They are a must if you have a vehicle, the local food on offer inspires great holiday cooking, in our family at least.
So, on our last night in Brunz we head for fatbellyKaf, which is a short walk along the old highway from our homely accommodation (what a different place it must have been when trucks went hurtling through day and night). We got their right on 6pm as we had the g-daught to feed.
Straight away we were warmly welcomed and settled. It is a family-run business and super toddler-friendly – probably missing their own kids, as we find out later in the night that their kids have been evacuated to the grandparents in Adelaide for the silly season. Within minutes of the g-daught sitting down, a pink cup, plate and eating-irons are delivered especially for her – nice.
We um and ahh over the menu, eventually taking the son-out-law’s lead of several cocktails – I have a whisky sour, mmm-mm. The others enjoyed their fbK specials: Rubejito (manzanilla sherry, mint, lemon, bubbles) and Vissitini (vodka, Cointreau, lime, rose, sour cherry)
Uncharacteristically, at least for me, we opt for a banquet: The Fisherman or O Psaras, for 4 with the addition of a Greek Salad and a Dry Aged Binna Burra Beef Rib Eye Steak with Bravas Potatoes. I’m usually reluctant to commit to a banquet because I expect them deliver the cheapest, least authentic and most mundane options, so Andy is a bit surprised at my willingness here, but I figure that fatbellyKaf will be aiming to showcase the very best of their Mediterranean-influenced sharing fare…
After our delicious, colourful cocktails arrive but before the food, (and before all the other people arrive to detain the him with their needs) out Host comes over to ask, “Is it ok if the kitchen takes a bit of artistic licence?” We all nod enthusiastically.
Through the meal, the bestest Aunt and I take turns to go for an occassional wander with the g-daught – I fail miserably at the first hurdle, bringing her back with not one but two bleeding knees. She is pretty stoic and brave, so is quickly settled with bandaids from the ever-accommodating staff.
The delicious food arrives, perfectly paced and impeccably presented. Happily there are no food fights (though there was one slight altercation about eating the tiny candle before the actual food arrived). The g-daught enjoys many tasty morsels, though there is a bit of bribery action to encourage her to try everything, including the spicy calamari. Her inducements are pretty jewels of pomegranate.
Here is the list of food (Andy would never do this) – but imagine that eating them is even better and more delectable than they taste in your head:
- Garlic Bread
- Plenty of local oysters some raw, some lightly chargrilled with various delicious dressings such as Pomegranate and Tomato; Finger-lime Pearl; Gin and Fried Onion Butter Gratin – salivating yet?
- Tuna á Crudo with Fennel Tomato and Sherry Vinaigrette
- Chilli Spiced Calamari with Mojo Picon
- Beef ‘Pinchos’ with Olive Oil potatoes
- Clear Water Scallops with Confit Duck & Pea Skordalia
- Ocean Trout with Fragrant Salt, Fennel Salad& Tunisian Tarator
- The beef I mentioned above and the simple tasty salad …
The following words were uttered between smacking lips and splitting everything 5 and a quarter ways: “stunt cooking with terrific local ingredients” – “so delicious, its ridiculous” – “exceptionally good food” – “so much better than anything we’ve had (so far) on King Street”.
My only regret … was that I didn’t order a serving of the extraordinarily delectable and creamy Greek Custard Pastry scented with Orange Blossom that I had last time. Our banquet came with rich buttermilk ice-creamy cone, but I immediately got food envy when a huge serving of the custard was delivered to a neighboring table and my mind flashed back to the extreme deliciousness of this desert.
So, if you are ever in Brunz be sure to make time to eat at fatbellyKaf – try to book if you’re there in the silly season, it was packed out Thursday night, but the service was super.
If there is next time in Brunz for us, we’ve vowed to visit fatbellyKaf earlier in our stay, instead of leaving it to the last night – it is such a wonderful treat.