Monday, December 8, 2014

Murray Brewery and Port Stephen Winery

All right, if you are travelling from Sydney to Port Stephens, one you are off the highway, it is not easy to miss the big banner for the Port Stephens Winery. As you enter the winery, and make it to the reception, it is the Murray's Brewery for beer and the Port Stephens Winery. Coincidentally, I had been here  few years back, in a bus tour to Port Stephens. I remembered this place too well for its fantastic fish and chips. This time, some one told me to look out for Murray's brewery and I was overjoyed upon arrival to realize it was the same place.

Big area with lawns for the family, another outside seating with barrels as tables and then the main area with a white canopy and tables underneath. Coming around in December, there was a festive spirit in the air. Big groups of families and friends partying. The bar was decorated with Christmas trees and Santa hats. The white canopy had big tables reserved with the Christmas spread. Live music made it even better.

Well, we were starving and decided to quickly dig into the food. The menu had a lot of options, but knowing me, it was more about trying out a few dishes, although I do get carried away and over ambitious at times. I started with the chicken wings for starters. What was interesting is that most of the food here had beer or wine in some form or the other. Be it the golden ale which is used in the pizza crust to lighten it, the beer BBQ sauce, or the battered fish. Well I simply ordered the chicken wings, the fish and chips and the Punch and Judy’s Pizza.

Let’s start with the chicken wings. Very very crispy and crunchy. It was served in a small steel bucket, along with a chipotle BBQ Sauce. The sauce was overwhelming. A very dark brown thick sauce. One dip and you realized, that the sauce had a dark mysterious enchanting smoky flavor. I tend to make it sound mystical, but well this chicken wings and the sauce was legendary. I have had chicken wings, and I loved this one, due to the crunch, but the smoky flavor of the sauce was too good to be true. One small tub had about 9 or pieces.

Next came the fish and chips. The fish was battered with the whale ale, and served in a wooden tray with crispy pieces of the fish. This fish is undoubtedly one of the best and the same as I had a few years back. Very crispy. Served with shoe string fries and two dips, one of tartare sauce and the other was a green one- which I believe was for mushy peas. Very tasty again and I would love to come back here again for the fish and chips.

The Punch and Judy Pizza, was the tandoori chicken pizza, with avocado, rocket, jalapenos and yogurt. Now yougurt was an interesting twist, but this woodfired pizza was yum and it was full of fresh ingredients. I loved the pizza. 

A word of advise, the portion are quite generous. The pizza was huge and so were the 

All the three dishes were really really good and I would highly recommend this as a must stop for all travelers. The bar was decorated for Christmas. The festive spirit, and the live music, just made it a perfect stop over.

Phone: 02 4982 6411
3443 Nelson Bay Rd, Bobs Farm NSW 2316

Murray's Brewery on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Only Place, Nelsons Bay, Port Stephens

All right, our first day into Port Stephens. We watched the sunset over little beach and then head back into nelsons bay main street near the market. Park the car and we were roaming around aimlessly into the market and then crossed the street into the D’Alboro Marina, where it was quite the atmosphere. Live music and the buzz. Anyways we were figuring out what we wanted to have and decided to settle for Indian. Now there were two options, one called our place and the other Taj Tandoori. While only place was in the basement, the other one Taj Tandoori was nearby on the first floor, with no lift.

I looked at both places, and Taj Tandoori seemed a bit quiet and the fact it was on first floor with no lift access, made it a bit difficult option for my mom. We went to Our place and this was in the basement of a shopping market. Now the fact that al other shops were closed, the restaurant had created a seating outside in the common area and had curtains and plants as a makeshift arrangement. This was quite unique and interesting and there were quite a few people, hence we decided for this one.

We were surrounded by mostly Aussie folks and another Indian couple. Now as we settled in and looked into the menu, we ordered for a tandoori chicken as the starters. I asked the waiter to reduce the artificial red and orange colour in the tandoori chicken. I did see the one served at the next seat and it was so red. In terms of the mains we ordered for the karahi chicken. For the next mains there was no goat served here. We wanted to take a pick form the prawns, and the options were the garlic prawns or the prawn malabari. We decided to settle for the prawns malabari.

Now the tandoori chicken arrived after quite the wait. In between, we were told that the full chicken had finished and only a half was available. The chicken was just too colored to be honest. Unnatural red. The outer layer of masala was ok, but it wasn’t well marinated. Inside it was bland white chicken and not too hot inside. It made me think it was pre cooked and microwaved. Not good to be honest, just ok.

Then again the very long wait for the mains. After a very long wait, the mains came over. The karahi chicken which was recommended was just about ok. Brown gravy with capsicums and diced onions. The quantity and quality of chicken was descent. However, the taste again was about average. Nothing that I would remember too distinctly. However, as I said, just about average.

Next came the malabari prawns. Now this one was nice. It had a coconut based gravy, with mustard. This had fresh beans and diced potatoes along with fresh prawns.  I would say the gravy was really nice, creamy and tasteful. The prawns were fresh. I liked this dish the best out of the lot.

The breads again were a mix. The garlic naan was good, the roti was about ok. The keema naan, which I really expected to be awesome was somewhere in between. Traditional keema naans in Australia have a filling of minced lamb. It was different from what I expected. The keema naan in this case was a mix between an aloo parantha with some keema in it. It was different from what I thought it would be, but it was too less in terms of stuffing, and even more stingy with the meat filling.

I did speak to the owners and they are a nice couple from Maharashtra, who have been here quite many years.

Overall, there were quite a few English families and may be it suffices to the palates for the aussie folks for curries, but for me, not really. Just about very average. Would I come here again? Most likely not.

10/17-19 Stockton St, Nelson Bay NSW 2315
(02) 4984 4414

Only Place on Urbanspoon