Tag Archives: Sapphire Coast

Jewels of Sapphire Coast!

Having spent the June long weekend at Merimbula we taste-tested a few eateries while we were there. Merimbula is an interesting spot; with an almost perfect temperate climate, and with both coastal beaches and inland lakes, it attracts visitors from New South Wales and Victoria as well as the Canberra region. To that end there’s a plethora of restaurants and cafés to choose from, and that doesn’t include the big clubs and pubs. The following places not only have great food, but are also willing to accommodate dietary requests when they can. One thing that did surprise me about the cafés and restaurants is that they all seem to close rather early, often well before 10pm. So check opening hours before you book.

Waterfront Cafe Merimbula

Burgers at Waterfront Cafe – image by LFW

Waterfront Café: This is a bit of an icon in Merimbula and is usually packed to the rafters, so you need to get there early if you can. Serving up great breakfasts, and a range of lunches including salads, fish, burgers, and pasta; with friendly staff who actually know what’s on the menu and what’s in it. There’s also a good wine selection, and our once-upon-a-time barista family member scored the coffee 9/10—believe me, that’s good for her! Waterfront Café is open for breakfast (until 11.15am) and lunch (11.30 – 3pm) seven days a week.

Thai fish cakes 1

Thai fish cakes with spicy dipping sauce

Thai Noodle House: We stumbled across this place by accident. Leaving the Sapphire Club after a late’ish gig we just wanted something close and this was it … plus we love Thai food. First comment, the decision between choosing Tom Yum or Thai fish cakes for entrée—ended up with the fish cakes (the best Thai fish cakes I’ve tasted outside Thailand) and Satay chicken. We then ordered a main each, plus rice, which on reflection was a bit over the top as the meals are very generous—we could have easily got by with two mains and rice for the three of us. Service is good, but they do close at 9.30pm.

Seafood bird's nest dragon lake

Seafood Bird’s Nest at Dragon Lake

Dragon Lake Restaurant (at Crown Apartments): This restaurant is located right in the centre of the town at the Crown Apartments. It serves the usual Chinese food but also does a few that you won’t come across anywhere else—such as Seafood Bird’s Nest, a Chinese banquet dish often served at weddings and celebrations. Chock full of fresh seafood, the nest is usually made of noodles or taro (a modern version is fried potato), and fried until crispy and crunchy. Certainly worth a try!  At long weekends and during holiday time the restaurant gets very busy and bookings are recommended. Open for lunch and dinner until 8.30pm.

fish and chips

Simple but yummy fish ‘n’ chips

Hungry’s Café: You might think this is a bit out of whack, but when you’re at the coast you have to have fish and chips! This café is tiny and can get busy (and full) very quickly. I must admit we hesitated a bit as, well, it’s just a fish and chip shop where you can, if you’re lucky, manage to get a table. No fancy add-ons here, no tablecloths, no silverware, no wine glasses—no wine … but the fish and chips are awesome! As well as fish and chips they also serve up wraps, burgers, and often ring the changes with the occasional spicy curry, yummy pies, schnitzels, and heart-warming soups. But again, an early close at 8.30pm.

You can get more info on where to eat, what to do, and where to stay at www.sapphirecoast.com.au

It’s JAZZ time on the Sapphire Coast!

The Merimbula Jazz Festival celebrates 36 years of jazz this year. That’s right! Thirty-six years of swinging, singing, and stomping on the Sapphire Coast over the June long weekend, and it’s getting bigger every year! By Aine Dowling

MJF Ball

As well as some fantastic jazz from great performers from Canberra, Victoria, and New South Wales, there are two main features of the Festival this year. First up is the black tie event; the Jazz Festival Ball on Thursday 9 June at Club Sapphire where you can dance the night away to the Festival All Stars, enjoy a great cabaret show, and relax with a glass of bubbles and yummy three course meal; all included in the ticket price. Bookings for the ball are essential.

Another fantastic initiative is the Jazz Quest which has been running for the past four years and has been a huge success. The Quest is open to musicians aged 25 years and under, and its aim is to encourage young and up-coming musicians in the world of jazz, and to help their musical development along with competitive experience. Two of the previous winners include singer Liam Budge, and jazz pianist Kade Brown—both of whom have gone on to huge success and acclaim in their fields, with Kade selected for the Julliard Winter School as both student and mentor.

Jazz Quest 2015 Winners

Jazz Quest 2015 Winners

The Quest is held at the Lakeview Hotel at the end of the Saturday night program. Judges usually include five of the top musicians at the Festival who view the performances of each competitor. There are a number of categories including confidence in performance, technical ability, entertainment value, and the ability to perform different styles and instruments through two different performances to show their ability. Cash prizes are awarded to the winners, and second and third placements, and both the Quest (and the prize money) goes a long way to help the career of young jazz musicians around Australia.

The popular jam session follows the Quest and gives everyone the chance to get on stage and perform with all sorts of musos and singers. If you can keep the pace going until 2am you’re welcome to join in the fun!

The Jazz Festival runs from Friday night (10 June) until Sunday night at four main venues around the town, and local Canberra acts heading down for the weekend include smooth jazz duo In 2 Deep; check them out if you can.

In 2 Deep - photo by Hot Shots Photography

In 2 Deep – photo by Hot Shots Photography

Big bands include Connextion Big Band, In Full Swing, and the Royal Military College Big Band, plus some terrific school bands. Vocal ensembles include Rhythm Syndicate (who also perform at the ecumenical Gospel Church Service on the Sunday), and Shades of Monday, and you can check out some great swing dancing from Canberra Swing Katz.

If you like the south coast and you love jazz … what more could you want?

Get more info on the Merimbula Jazz Festival from their website or Facebook page.

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