Going down south (Gerringong)

The August 2006 issue of delicious magazine had a guide on Illawarra and Wollongong which was the inspiration for an overnight stay and drive down to the BellaChara resort and spa down in Gerringong (10mins from Kiama).   We stopped for devonshire tea (as is compulsory for any country drive!) in the historic terraces in Kiama.  Really friendly owners who insisted on remaking my mocha when my elbow accidentally knocked it.  Perfect country-style home-made scones too ($4.50 for 2).  Nearby, we visited the Crooked River Winery, where we picked up some white port and some delicious olive oil (which I’ve been having with woodfired bread).

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We were lucky enough to be staying on a Sunday night for Bella Bake – a set $25 three course roast dinner (with entree and dessert) – a bargain!! More so by the fact that the chef is formerly of MG Garage, est and Level 41!  The restaurant is a trendy dim room with a lounge area sectioning off both sides of the room, and a large communal bar table which also serves as the buffet table for breakfast.  Entree for that day was a ham and barley soup – which came with a warmed bread roll (which required prompting as the staff were run off their feet that night).  It was hearty and extremely filling – and probably would suffice me for dinner on its own!  The smokey ham pieces had shredded spinach (or some green vegetable) in it; and was thick with barley.   For the main, roast of the day was lamb, which I don’t like, so I opted for the alternate, the barramundi with a lemon butter sauce.  Both came with a mezzaluna of baked sweet Jap pumpkin, green beas, sweet potato and chat potato.

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And finishing off with the pear tart (sliced pear baked on piece of puff pastry, with a dollop of creme fraiche and caramel sauce).  Very full indeed but with not much to do except hire a video from the reception and watch it in bed on their 60inc (?) plasma screens in the room. 

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The next day, the promised continental breakfast turned out to be a buffet – YUM, with hot selection of crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, thick and sweet French toast (which I ate with the fruit compote designated for the yoghurt), and garlic mushrooms.

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Pastries were croissants, danishes and pain au chocolat, as well as all you can eat banana bread and tomatoes with cheese (served cold).  Four different types of bread were self toasted; and juices were apple and orange.  Obviously, I had to leave self control at home because I’m on holidays right??

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Finally, on our drive home, we passed by Diggies in Wollongong which delicious recommended as a great brunch place.  I ordered the chicken burger which I was disappointed to discover was deep fried (was wanting to detox!!); and the beef and mushroom pie was a beef casserole topped with an attractive looking piece of puff pastry as well as a scoop of creamy, soft mash.  Sadly we walked past the cabinet of homemade pies, cakes and tarts baked that morning on the premises. Oh well, there’s always next time!



  • Bellachara Boutique Hotel and Spa – 1 Fern Street Gerringong
  • Diggies – 1 Cliff Rd, Wollongong
  • Crooked River Wines – 11 Willow Vale Road Gerringong

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