Review: Pavilion by the Pier

If I ever get married* I would like to have my reception (or after-party) at Pavilion by the Pier. (I know that’s what all of you have been wondering! 😉 )

ImageMostly it’s because of its location. And its fairy lights. Because I truly have a thing about fairy lights.

I’ve actually never eaten dinner there as I seem to dine out during the day far more often than in the evening, but… I must make the effort to get down there one night because I’ve heard good things.

I recently wrote about my brekkie at Bayaroma Cafe, which I’ve frequented a few times after my Saturday morning yoga class. I love a good eggs benedict and – until recently – it was the only place I’d found in Hervey Bay (or Maryborough) that offered a gluten-free option.

However, I’ve now dined at Pavilion by the Pier a couple of times and their eggs benedict is also gluten-free. Yay! It comes with either ham or salmon – I actually prefer bacon, but think that getting the GF hollandaise sauce right is far more important.

As is often the case I take along my own gluten-free bread rolls (which my mum picks up for me almost weekly from the Bell Hilltop Bakery in Maryborough) and they’re happy to use them instead of bought-GF bread.

As an aside… I haven’t found many (any?) cafes / restaurants locally which make their own gluten-free breads / rolls or buy them from bakeries. Mostly it’s the tiny pieces of bread you buy from retailers. (Which is fine. Having some GF bread is far better than not having any at all!)

mineoOf course, some greenery would make this look far prettier, but I ask them to hold the spinach cos, well… spinach! #blergh!

BLTToday’s breakfast companion had the BLT and said it was nice, but not quite as nice as the last one she had there (which I guess happens from time to time!).

Service is mostly good though I’ve experienced a few ‘new’ staff there on my visits and guess that’s typical of holiday locales. The ambiance and the views however are what keep me going back. Plus the GF options of course.

Check out Pavilion by the Pier on Facebook, or the website for opening times and location.

Have you been there? Are you a fan?

* This is as likely as pigs flying or Australia finding a humanitarian AND bipartisan way of dealing with asylum seekers! 

Brekkie at Bayaroma

Just after I started this blog I set up a corresponding Facebook page. Bizarrely I’m far more active on it than I am on either of my (main) blog pages, but for some reason it engages me more.

People occasionally ask where I get all of the information and – sadly – there’s no secret source… it’s just from other Facebook pages and the local paper (Fraser Coast Chronicle) / Twitter etc.

Occasionally I receive a request to promote a business on the page and I will try to share most stuff I receive, but in reality the site is more about sharing info than business promotion.

I am conscious however that I’m often sharing pics or updates from the same places again and again – and it’s really only predominantly because THEY share updates regularly, or provide gorgeous pictures that I can’t resist.

One such place is Bayaroma Cafe, which is HUGELY active on social media (something I, obviously, love!)

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I’d actually had several ‘business’ meetings at the cafe before finally lunching there a couple of months ago.

I’d been keen to dine there as I regularly salivated over the pictures they posted at lunchtime of their various specials (examples from the FB page above!). Indeed, the day I dined there with friends our lunches were enjoyed by all.

I have however, more recently been a few times for breakfast and it’s become my fave Hervey Bay breakfast locale because – VERY IMPORTANTLY – they have gluten free eggs benedict. I hadn’t previously located any GF eggs benedict (guess it’s all about the hollandaise sauce and bacon / ham and GF toast) on the Fraser Coast. In Brisbane I had a local haunt at Bulimba, where I devoured their eggs benedict (made on a potato rosti!) so I’m stoked to have found a local option.

On Saturday I also tried a smoothie. I’m not a huge devotee of homemade juices or smoothies (read: I hate fruit and green leafy stuff!), but I decided I was willing to try the watermelon smoothie and it was delicious!

PicMonkey Collagebayaroma

I know I probably need to try something different next time, or perhaps I’ll go for lunch… but, the crowds don’t lie (and Bayaroma is certainly always busy); and with a great spot on the esplanade in Torquay, with heaps of parking (etc) it’s a great breakfast, lunch or brunch destination!

Are you a Bayaroma fan?
Are you a lover of eggs benedict?

Hervey Bay Seafood Festival

Today, along with 45 million other people, I ventured along to the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival. (Yes okay…  I may be exaggerating. A little. There were only 35 million.)

I had such an amazing time at the Relish Food and Wine Festival I was quite excited by the prospect of one of the Whale Festival‘s premiere events – and it didn’t disappoint.

Of course I don’t really eat seafood, which is kind-of a bummer when you are attending a seafood festival – but in this case it didn’t matter.

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Festival admission cost $5 for adults (free for kids) and it had something for everyone with free kids’ activities as well as some jumping castles and the like. My friend’s little boy was delighted with a balloon creature wound tightly about his wrist lest it drift off into the ether.

I wasn’t sure how three stages would fit into Fishermen’s Park but it somehow worked with the main stage (very loud and very popular) along with cooking demonstrations and a smaller stage with more *ahem* refined music (at least while I was there).

dinnerThe Tastes of the Bay dinner booked out quickly and everyone I glimpsed inside the tent seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Not to be outdone, my friends and I partook in a frozen margarita drink – perfect given how bloody hot it was.

We were all Seafood Festival virgins, so unprepared for the crowds. Unlike Relish where food and drinks could be consumed anywhere, the area in which alcohol could be consumed was more limited (which was a bit of a shame) and with chairs and tables taken long before, we stood about uncomfortably to scoff our very-welcome drinks.

Without our own seating or rugs it was a bit difficult to just ‘hang around’ and the queues at most food stalls meant we decided against eating there.

We did order some wine from Kingaroy’s Crane Wines who were again popular and I’m already anticipating the arrival of some sparkling shiraz in coming days or weeks.

I’ll definitely head along to the Festival next year, although I will be more prepared (having had my Seafood Festival-going cherry popped this year). Getting in early to find  a ‘base’ or taking your own chairs / table / rugs seems sensible and would permit you to get comfortable and stay longer. Of course, booking early to get to the Tastes of the Bay lunch could also be ideal for seafood lovers.

I love that so many locals and visitors (alike) turned out to support the Festival and now eagerly await the remaining Whale Festival activities.

I hope other attendees had a fabulous time and will be back again next year!

Dessert… just add Salt

36055-img_2835editedHervey Bay is a very relaxed, beach-side tourist location. I love the lifestyle, but it’s not particularly conducive to showing off my fabulous shoe collection. So when I was invited to the opening night of Salt Cafe‘s dinner service, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve enjoyed coffee and lunches at Salt before, so was looking forward to trying their new dinner menu coupled with a fantastic view – it wasn’t just about the shoes.

62913-img_2824editedArriving at the restaurant, I was greeted by my friends wrapped in cozy blankets that were kindly provided by the restaurant. It is winter here in Hervey Bay, and the 17 degrees at night feels cold (though I know my northern hemisphere readers will baulk at this idea). Ideally the restaurant also needs heaters, as while the blankets definitely helped, it was still a little on the cold side. I believe they were looking into this, and hope it has been implemented – no doubt they will be able to be utilised on the colder days as well, as the majority of seating is outside to catch the sea views (and the breezes are also welcome on warmer days).

639bb-img_2823editedI decided to forgo an entree to save room for dessert, but my friends choices looked absolutely delicious. With one friend a coeliac, Salt has a number of gluten-free options. I got to taste the gluten-free version of the oven-baked Ciabatta loaf with garlic confit in balsamic olive oil and chilli and it was delicious at $7 and enough to share.

Another friend enjoyed the roasted pumpkin, spinach and goats cheese mille-feuille served with a baby tomato, basil and garlic confit. I got a taste and it was absolutely delicious and a reasonable $14.00. It was somewhat enormous for a starter, albeit light, the goats cheese was absolutely divine – I was excited to find something this delicious and enquired where it came from, so was disappointed to discover it had been imported from Belgium, as I’m yet to discover anything quite so flavourful locally (though I’ll keep trying just in case). The star of the day had to be the famous Hervey Bay Scallops on cauliflower puree with crisp prosciutto and caper vinaigrette, stunning at $16.00.

f0c96-img_2825editedMains were slightly less successful though. Choices were split down the table, between the duck and the steak. The duck servings were small, especially considering the $27.00 price tag. It was cooked through, and both of us who chose the duck would have preferred it pink – we did suggest they ask diners how they would like it served, as they would with steak. While the menu stated it was a seared orange, honey and chilli duck breast, there was no discernible warmth from the chilli, and the more subtle orange and honey flavours were over-powered by the mild Thai citrus dressing over the mint, coriander and bean shoot salad (and in the current weather, hot vegetables would have been preferred).

20a3b-img_2826editedThe other diners chose the eye fillet wrapped in prosciutto with a wild mushroom and brandy cream sauce on seeded mustard smashed potato with blanched broccolini. The serving size was enormous by comparison with the duck, though it was $34.00. And though both diners ordered their steaks medium-rare, they both came out blue. Personally I would have had to send it back, but they were both happy to dine on.

My highlight was definitely dessert. I chose the tasting plate, and while I shared some spoonfuls with my companions, it was certainly an indulgence at $29.00 (though it was utterly delicious and I wouldn’t hesitate to get it again). The Chai Panna Cotta with a petite citrus salad and pistachio shard was eye opening. I don’t normally like panna cotta – it’s a texture thing – but this was delicious, and the citrus salad, flavoured with ginger powder and mint was a delightful balance to the creaminess. I normally find white chocolate a little sickly sweet, but in the mousse served at salt, it was divine, and I loved the mini toffee apples that came with it. My favourite was definitely the triple chocolate semifreddo with crushed praline which had a great balance of cocoa and an added dose of nostalgia with the coconut wafer served with it. I’m sure you’ll agree it was beautifully presented.

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There was quite a delay before we were served all our courses – 45 minutes from ordering before our entrees arrived and about 20 minutes between entree and main, though it was a relaxed gap before dessert was served.

I expect most of our issues were due to the first night of a new menu being served, and I would certainly be willing to try the dinner menu at Salt again. With a couple of glasses of wine, a coffee and tip, my bill came to $80.00, so my main concern would be the prices, as I think at this level, there are other venues in the area that offer stiff competition on the flavour and style stakes.

Cheers, KangaRue 🙂

All views are my own.

Breakfasting in the borough

I’m almost certainly a social media addict. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not one of those people constantly attached to their phone and I am, quite frankly, horrified that people can go to Twitter jail*, but… I do tend to rely on social media on a daily basis.

When I lived in this State’s capital, Brisbane, I depended on a few different twitter accounts (SEQ Incidents and Qld Rail for example) for advice on traffic conditions and public transport hiccups. And when I moved back to the Fraser Coast I searched out all possible local Facebook and Twitter accounts to follow. Which is why last Thursday I put out a Facebook question about breakfast dining options in Maryborough.

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Sadly suggestions were minimal but… during my day’s online trawling I came across reference to a Maryborough cafe which: 1. Opened early; and 2. Showed some social media savvy.

cafe cru

Cafe Cru is obviously a bit of a hidden gem as my mother (a long-term Maryborough resident) and a couple of other people I spoke to had no idea the place existed or where it could be found (near the Mary Poppins statue, incidentally!). But, after a call to check that gluten-free options were available it was the planned venue for Friday’s breakfast.

However… although the ambience is great (I loved the look and feel of the place including the eclectic furniture), the menu was more limited than I expected.

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If you’re extremely a tad fussy like me you may struggle. Although GF bread was available none of the three or four bruschetta breakfast options tempted me. Mum was happy to have a ham and cheese croissant but, rather than ‘make do’, we decided (albeit reluctantly) to go elsewhere.

Having said that, Cafe Cru obviously attracts a lot of regulars, several customers being greeted by name as they picked up their morning coffee. Plus… some of the stuff on their menu (for non coeliacs) looked AMAZING! (‘Like’ the Cafe Cru Facebook page if you don’t already and you’ll see what I mean!)

AllikatsInstead we ventured into Allikats on Kent. On arriving I confirmed GF options were available and was happy that they were easily able to run through my choices. Both mum and I settled on bacon and poached eggs on toast and enjoyed our respective breakfasts.

I noticed that Allikats also had gluten-free cupcakes and cake in their window – had I been there for a snack rather than brekkie.

I have to say I was surprised what a struggle it was to find something open (before 9am) in Maryborough for breakfast. My mother dines out fairly regularly (mostly lunches and morning/afternoon teas) and always asks after gluten-free options on my behalf. She knows I’ll groan if the only choice is the seemingly popular orange and poppy-seed cake which graces many-a-cafe-shelf.

So, while I’ve found a few faves in Hervey Bay, I’m going to have to keep investigating Maryborough cafes, coffee shops and restaurants to find my go-to options. *Sigh*… such a chore! 😉

I’m happy to receive suggestions in the interim!

* Sad, but true. You can only send a limited number of tweets a day. Apparently.