PAYNESVILLE | One of the things that I was most looking forward to on my little road trip before the NSW part had to be canned due to COVID border closures, was fresh oysters from Bateman’s Bay.
Thankfully, I got my fill of the good stuff at chef Mark Briggs’ (ex Vue de Monde, Sharing House) lauded East Gippsland restaurant, Sardine Eatery + Bar. The restaurant is one that constantly comes up as “must dine” whenever anyone talks about where to eat in this part of Victoria, and for good reason.
Sardine offers pared back fine dining, with a focus on sustainability, lesser utilised fish, and the bounty of produce around him. I opted for the degustation, and left the menu decisions in Mark’s hands.
Freshly shucked rock oysters with shallot vinegar are as fresh as you can get. Sea salt Khorosan sourdough with cultured Gippsland Jersey seaweed butter is an umani laden delight.
The crispy zucchini flower with goats cheese and Raymond Island honey is divine. As is the garlic panisse with whipped cod’s roe and Yarra Valley Caviar. Even something as simple as the hand filleted sardines with herb oil, and toasted sourdough are outstanding.
A palate cleanser of strawberry done three ways (fresh, freeze dried, sorbet) is surprisingly memorable, and you can’t go past a dessert of peanut butter parfait chocolate sorbet, gaufrette biscuit.
The wine list is tops and skews local, and for beer lovers, Sardine offers the best Sailor’s Grave craft beer can selection of anywhere I visited on my week long East Gippsland trip.
Sardine Eatery + Bar
Tue – Thu: 5:30pm to 10:00pm
Fri – Sat: 2:00pm to 10:00pm