Monday, April 4, 2011

Terrifically relaxed at Terrigal

I don’t know what it is about Terrigal, about an hour and a half north of Sydney. It’s not so different any other beachside town with tanned beach bods, busy car parks and a bounty ice cream stores. But there’s an atmosphere of genuine relaxation that seems to permeate everything – and I mean that in a good way.

Most places were heaving on the Saturday night, especially the outdoor seats on the Esplanade footpath with locals dressed to the nines for weekend celebrations. We take the short stroll around the block, seeing almost everything on offer, and settle on an upstairs Thai restaurant on the block behind the Esplanade.

It ticks all the boxes: pun name, waiting queue, BYO and spice aromas wafting out the door. When we get our table at N’Thai Sing, we decide quickly after having inhaled tempting food smells a while already.

Satay chicken from N’Thai Sing, Church Street, Terrigal
The satay chicken skewers are blanketed in a red-hued satay sauce, sweet and nutty with quite a spice kick. The diced vegies on top are an unusual touch, but the sauce encouraged us to wipe clean the plate.

Thai fish cakes
The fish cakes are, as ever, satisfying with the sweet chilli sauce. Not sure that they were fresh made (are any?) but a good entry point to the night’s meal.

Chicken wings
Another entrée of chicken wings was surprisingly miserly and unattractive. The two deep fried chicken wings, while tasty in a spice coating, were a little dry and just not very exciting on the plate.

Tom yum soup
The red hot, sour and clear soup with prawns, mushrooms and other vegetables was surprisingly spicy for a little neighbourhood Thai diner, with the chilli hitting the back of the throat rather effectively.

Som tum salad
The shredded green papaya salad was cool relief from the chilli, with the sweet, tart dressing quite soothing along with julienned carrots, tomato wedges, green beans, peanuts and dried shrimp.

Chicken pad see ew
The wide rice noodles of the pad see ew had that smoky wok flavour and glossy sheen from the oil. With lots of chicken pieces and green vegetables, this was a favourite that disappeared quickly.

Thai fried rice
I don’t normally have fried rice with Thai food (I think steamed rice more than suffices, especially with curries) but this version may well have put me off Thai fried rice for good.

Featuring pineapple pieces among other fried rice regulars – egg, carrot, shallots – the rice was cooked with coconut of some form for an extremely rich, rather cloying dish that wasn’t so enjoyable.

Prawn pad thai
The Aussie classic – this was an acceptable rendition to a decent standard, a filling tangle of tasty thin rice noodles with whole prawns, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, lemon wedges and shallots.

Our final dish was a green curry of scallops - another new dish for me, I’ve never really had curried scallops before, but here was the option (among the usual chicken, beef, pork, seafood options with the usual various curries).

It was a bit of a fishing expedition to find the tiny scallops, past the big chunks of pumpkin at the bottom of the sauce-filled bowl, and they weren’t anything special so I wouldn’t recommend this more expensive option over, say, a chicken curry.

The wall of flavours at Terrigal Ice Creamery, Church Street, Terrigal
We skipped desserts at N’Thai Sing, having earlier spotted the Terrigal Ice Creamery just downstairs. They had Ben & Jerry’s on sale by the tub, but that’s no fun when there are fridges full of colourful ice creams just waiting to be scooped.

They also offered the fabulous idea of serving half scoops – so one-and-a-half, two-and-a-half and so on. I love my ice cream, but on a cone, I’m a one-scoop girl. I’m way too scared of my top scoop rolling off, so a half scoop really reduces the risks here.

Chocolate sundae
Terrigal Ice Creamery also does a selection of ice cream sundaes – this one, a chocolate lovers one with three scoops of chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, chopped nuts, chocolate sauce, wafer triangles and a chocolate flake stick - phew. A picturesque sugar hit indeed.

Sweet Solutions, The Esplanade, Terrigal
But not enough sugar, it seems. The next day we make a beeline for the previously spotted olde sweet store, Sweet Solutions. With shelves lined with lolly-filled glass jars, this was the closest I’ve been to the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory sweet shop where Charlie buys his chocolates.

I know I won’t be finding any golden tickets, but the sheer pleasure of being able to walk about and grab jars, or the pre-packed packets behind the jars, or lolly bars from the huge selection is fantastic enough.

A trip to the beach is rarely complete without a trip to nearby eateries – be it fast food or perennial favourite, fish and chips. What is it about having fish close to its place of origin?

Seafood platter from The Snapper Spot, The Esplanade, Terrigal
The Snapper Spot at the start of the Esplanade fills up early at lunch, presumably mostly with tourists. There are a few outdoor tables, or the option of takeaway on the beach. And then there is the option of fresh seafood, cooked packs or the very popular seafood platters.

The platter is a no-brainer: oysters two ways (or in our case, just Kilpatrick), grilled octopus, grilled prawn skewers, calamari rings, battered prawns and scallops, fish cocktails and a load of chips that would settle any grumbling tummy. We shared the platter for two between three, and were all quite stuffed afterwards.

We ambled along the Esplanade back to the car, maybe stopping along a frozen yoghurt store to end what was a terrifically relaxing weekend – so much so that I can’t wait for my next trip to Terrigal.

N'Thai Sing on Urbanspoon

Terrigal Ice Creamery on Urbanspoon

The Snapper Spot on Urbanspoon


joey@FoodiePop said...

Love Terrigal, such a pretty place and not overly crowded with tourists.

chocolatesuze said...

woahhh that is one impressive sundae!!

sugarpuffi said...

omg so many icecream and candy!!

Adrian in Food Rehab said...

haha good choice with the Terrigal Ice Creamery instead! Whta a mama of a sundae and check out all those fillings...

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That sundae looks very appealing indeed and I like the idea of half scoops. It's all about trying as many flavours as possible for me!

Julie said...

oh gosh that lolly place looks awesome!!

Tina said...

Hi joey - Definitely, and relaxed not like some beaches which are actually stressful.

Hi suze - Twas. The eaters thought so too..!

Hi sugarpuffi - Yeah, not exactly healthy...

Hi Adrian - It had it ALL!

Hi Lorraine - I don't like mixing my flavours, but can handle a half scoop mixed in :)

Hi Julie - It was like a dream :D

Jacq said...

I love going up to the Central Coast! The last time I went to The Entrance I found an old lolly shop with all the jars and bags of old school lollies like the one you found in Terrigal - candy heaven!

Laura said...

i was in terrigal on saturday. i love it up there. my relatives have a place in copa!

Corinne @ Gourmantic said...

I must make a note to pop into the Terrigal Ice Creamery when I'm there next. I wouldn't be able to resist all the flavours!

Tina said...

Hi Jacq - Wny don't they have anything like that in Sydney...?

Hi Laura - It's beautiful, isn't it?

Hi Corinne - Yep, plus they stock Ben & Jerry's as well :)

Anonymous said...

I'm heading up to Gosford this Easter break. I think I might convince my friends to pop up to Terrigal to visit their ice creamery. Yum!

Tina said...

Hi happynomnomnom - A pretty good pit stop, I'd say!


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