Back last year when we announced that we were decamping to the far south coast, a couple of things happened. Some people burst into laughter, others into tears – but some gave us vouchers. Gift vouchers to be exact, for restaurants in our new neighborhood. I suppose they thought that otherwise we would never get a decent meal again, or that we, and this blog, would fade away, with nothing to sustain us but the gorgeous Sapphire Coast scenery.
We received three vouchers: one given to me by the Stropette and the Stropolina, and two others given to Strop by her bookish mates. As the vouchers were received into our hot little hands well before we were actually due to depart, it was obviously important to keep them safe. I naturally found a cunningly secure place to store mine. I put it in my spare wallet – the black one that I keep in the top drawer. And I backed up this repository with an internet-wide reminder system that would beep and flash, reminding me to look in said spare black wallet, once we were safely relocated, and in a position to enjoy the fruits of the voucher. Foolproof. Obviously.
Strop stuck her two vouchers to the fridge door with magnets. Very strong magnets admittedly, but still, its a system that is basically lacking in any type of cunning. And where is the back up?
It wasn’t until I began to pack up my office that the fatal flaw in my cunning plan became apparent. I was going to have to pack up my top drawer, which meant moving the spare black wallet from it’s safe place to another safe place. Easy. Except when we arrived at our beautiful new abode, and started opening all the boxes, the spare wallet wasn’t where I thought it would be. The opening of each box from then on, was greeted by a rapidly inflating bubble of hope and desperation, which then burst as my scrabbling fingers reached the bottom. There was no sign of the wallet. The wallet had gone into the void, over the event horizon that forever separates lost from found.
Meanwhile of course, Strop’s two vouchers were back on the fridge, waving gently every time the door was opened. Hello, they seemed to say, here we are. Let’s eat.
In the end it didn’t matter because everything is on the internet and the Stropette just emailed a new copy and Strop printed it out. Surprisingly she made something of a point of putting it on the fridge with the others.
Anyway, the vouchers were a very generous set of gifts, and they have given us a running start at the local eateries.
Our first voucher-fueled outing was to the Mimosa Winery restaurant, which is down the road a bit. About 15 minutes drive. (We now live in a spread-out world where distance is measured in driving times rather than in walking times.)
We dragged our friends Zena and Peter along for this outing. They are locals now, refugees from Canberra, and have been our guides to living on the south coast. We stayed with them when we first started looking for somewhere to park our escape pod, and we fell in love with their local area.
Our visit to Mimosa Winery was on a perfect Sunday. The way you always imagine autumn weather: blue skies, warm, and no wind.
The restaurant is perched on a hill overlooking vineyards and surrounded by artfully backlit coastal forest. You enter the restaurant from a courtyard on the high side (excellent accessibility), and proceed through to a large deck over looking the vineyards.
Now Peter is a man of strong opinions and an Irish complexion, so he was initially wary of the table we were offered on the deck. However, after a bit of umbrella heaving we settled ourselves down at the newly shaded table and began the nattering. This largely consisted of valuable advice on how to survive life on the Far South Coast.
Where did you get your firewood from? Oh him, he’s all right, but there’s this bloke in Quaama that will do you a truckload for the same price. Fresh fish? There’s this place down a back street in Narooma. Doesn’t look like much, but it’s bloody good value. Jam? If you’re not making it yourselves, the 777 supermarket in Bermi have all those Eastern European brands. (These are what our family has lovingly referred to as Chernobyl Jam since that unfortunate incident with the radioactive cloud.)
It took the arrival of the waitress to bring our attention back to matters of immediate consumption. That was when the irresistible force of Strop’s desire for a glass of Rosé met the immovable object of Peter’s disdain for pink wine.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
His objection seemed to be based on the fact that Rosé is an abomination, neither red nor white, and definitely not complex enough. Zena I and felt compelled to maintain our respective party loyalties, so a demarcation was established down the middle of the table with Shiraz on one side and Rosé on the other.
For entrée we split down the middle again. Szechuan squid vs Porkbelly, but this time Zena and I had our money on the squid. Unfortunately porkbelly was the clear winner, even though the squid held its end up gamely.
Zena and I again teamed up for the mains, opting for the fish of the day – Blue-eyed cod – while Peter went for confit duck breast, and Strop went for local mussels. Zena thought her cod was a bit overdone so the event ended up a tie between the duck and the mussels. Both of which were excellent.
There were only three competitors in the dessert round, Strop having decided to rest on her laurels. Zena and Peter with their chocolate mousses in martini glasses vs my plucky little passionfruit semifreddo. Luckily for me the semifreddo kicked it out of the park. It was strong and clear and very passionfruity. A real zinger.
The afternoon, and Mimosa Winery, proved to be worthy of the generosity of our friends and family. It was also heartening to see the restaurant relatively busy. It wasn’t full by any means, but there were plenty of punters willing to make the drive and enjoy a terrific lunch.
So thanks be to the voucher givers. You know who you are.