July 6, 2013

Now THIS is Cuisine

One of the great pleasures of our regular trips to the Central Coast is the Empire Bay Tavern. It's fairly unassuming from the outside, with groups of leathery-looking locals sucking on fags after a hard day's work. But once you get inside, well... it's still fairly unassuming, being stark and unadorned and kind of blokish*. Men hang in the bar drinking schooners and watching Fox Sports, and firemen come around offering lottery tickets and meat trays.

It's hardly haute cuisine.

But I love it. My GOD but I love it. Because the food is bloody awesome.

Call me unsophisticated but I love simple food. Cheeseburgers and chips, steak and chips, fish and chips, schnitzel and chips, or chips and chips and chips, are my all time favourite dishes. I can go out to a fancypants restaurant and have a nice time, but I am at my happiest eating a giant burger somewhere with sauce dripping down my chin and cheese stuck to my nose**. Or eating a steak bernaise and using the chips as a spoon to mop up all the sauce.

I'm salivating right now.

This is a BURGER. Even I know that.

And the atmosphere of a restaurant is important. I have eaten at places where I am - quite literally - frightened of the food, and even more frightened of the waiters. When it takes a degree in gastronomy just to be able to understand the waiter's explanation of the dish (not to mention identify the correct utensil with which to eat it) I become intimidated. I live in fear of accidentally eating the inedible plate decoration, or drinking with a spoon when I should be sipping directly from the bowl, or ordering a dessert wine with my incomprehensible entrĂ©e.

The tavern takes me away from such concerns. I am comfortable there, getting food on my face and eating with my hands. The kids can run around in the playground, we can all share the little packets of vanilla ice cream that come after the children's meals, I can get a glass of cab sav for about a dollar, and I can sit back with the self confidence that comes from knowing that I understand every dish on the menu. Because all they offer is burgers, steak, fish and schnitzel. Oh, and chips chips chips and chips.

And really - what else could one possibly need?

*not that there's anything wrong with that.
**okay, so that's not essential to my having a good time, but it does tend to happen a lot.


  1. Ohhh I LOVE steak with bernaise. Haven't had that in AGES. Those are the type of places we go to all the time, pubs or RSL bistros, because it's easier with kids. And we're bogans.

  2. Damn I just remembered I haven't had lunch .... you tease you lol. I'm with you nothing beats a good hamburger and chips. There is a place in Sylvania which does them the old fashion way and you have to queue, but it is worth it once you get to the counter. Yum!!!

  3. Detachable PrincessJuly 6, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    My favourite menu stuff-up was at a pizza joint. I'm sure they were aiming for "chicken breast" but what was written down was "breast fed chicken". My mind, it boggled.

  4. I love a pub lunch... some of the best tasting and cheapest meals I've ever had are in pubs... my favourite at the moment is the $9 Steak and Mash from the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel... SO YUMMY... and did I mention it's only nine bucks!

    [Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored comment - but if the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel wants to give me a freebie, I won't be too proud...]

  5. Couldn't agree more. And I'm very happy that I've just discovered 2 places in Canberra that do really great burgers and chips. Mmmm.

  6. I'm a sucker for a club chicken parma...mmmmmm

  7. You've convinced me; or at least that picture of the hamburger has! Burger just might have to be on my lunch menu tomorrow! Hurry up tomorrow!

  8. I love simple food too! Sometimes when I watch cooking shows I just wish for a simple one that shows me how to grill the most amazing burger.

  9. Ain't nothing wrong with a good bogan!

  10. YES! Instead of fluff a la broth.

  11. And you really only need one place!

  12. Oh yes! My post isn't sponsored either. But ditto!

  13. Yeah, you have to queue to order at the E.B. Tavern too!


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