The Blue Swimmer Restaurant | Gerroa
There are certain things which are just meant to be served together-duck and pinot, fresh cream and jam on scones, and the same can be said for certain dining experiences like the sensory euphoria of eating a meal near the ocean. It’s a combination of fresh sea mist, sand between the toes and the crash of waves that instantly seems to lift the spirits, bringing back childhood memories of family holidays on coast, and an induced appetite for golden battered fish fillets and chips dazzled with sea salt flakes.
The Blue Swimmer in Gerroa, has mastered the combination of capturing that relaxed, seaside romanticism by bringing together a homely seaside atmosphere with a contemporary Australian menu that pays homage to the produce of the Shoalhaven region, from both the land and the sea.
Spare seats are as a rare as a car spot at Bondi in the middle of summer, as a mixed crowd of chilled locals and sunburnt tourists flock to the neighbourhood favourite. Perched half way up a suburban hill, it’s location is unassuming, with nothing but holiday homes, cottages and the ocean in its sights.
It’s unpretentious rustic charm can be found in every aspect of the space, from the first step inside to the last bite of the night, as diners graze and chatter over starters and cold craft beers.
The menu changes with the tides, with seafood served from anywhere along the from Jervis Bay to Pambula and beyond. For diners who are not so fond of scales, fins and shells, there are a mix of meat and vegetarian dishes which are served with just the same amount of finesse and creativity.
Light bites to start with feature a mix of local oysters, lamb ribs and for something different native olives. Entrées are light and focus on well-planned flavour combinations that showcase the natural flavours of the produce.
A ceviche of tuna comes to the table sliced thinly with a jug of ‘Tigre de leche’, lime and the fresh and fruitful inclusion of passionfruit and pomegranate. It’s a well-crafted balancing act of salty, savoury, big bang zest and the pureness of the tuna.
Hearty and vegetarian, the halloumi stuffed eggplant is wholesome, served with a sweet potato hummus, fennel and radish salad. A meatier main is the fall off the bone chermoula spiced lamb rump, served with a crimson beetroot puree and crunchy summer vegetable salad.
For the seafood classicist, you cannot go past the Fishermans stew, a bowl of pure comfort and some of the freshest seafood you will have the pleasure of tasting. Filled with pieces of fish, sweet prawns, plump shellfish like mussels, chickpeas all served in a bouillabaisse-style sauce, complete with a side of toasted sourdough to soak up every last drop.
Deserts are anything from house-churned ice cream ( flavours changing daily), a tart made from seasonal fruits or the very indulgent and moreish halloumi donuts.
You will find the wine list well equipped with a mix of both local vineyards like Mollymook’s stunning Cupitt's Winery and the nearby popular Coolangatta Estate mixed with interstate and international labels.
The Blue Swimmer is also open for breakfast (7-11.30am) and lunch (11.45am-3pm) featuring a variety of waffles, eggy delights for brekky and lighter versions of the main dishes for lunch. Coffee is Single O and is the wake-up weapon of choice by many a local and traveller.
If you haven’t already experienced the abundant food, wine and natural tranquillity the Shoalhaven has to offer may I suggest packing a bag and getting out there. Make a weekend of it and taste your way through authentic cuisines that capture the region's mix of oceanic and paddock rich landscapes.
19 Riversleigh Avenue