A few weeks ago we had a night in Greenwell Point, a town of just 1,200 people in a fairly unknown part of the NSW South Coast. After waking up in the caravan park we looked for somewhere to have breakfast. Being in such a small town our expectations were low however, we were very pleasantly surprised.
Pelican Rocks Cafe is a very short stroll from where we stayed at Angler’s Rest. It is basically a takeaway fish and chip shop that has an ‘out-the-back’ dining area so is also a cafe. The business certainly looks very ordinary and unassuming from the outside, (and even from the interior), however, what impresses you immediately is the friendliness of the owner and his staff, and how you’re greeted like you’re part of the family.
The owner’s parents bought the property when he was just a few days old and a few years ago he took it over and began a takeaway business specialising in fish and chips. But it is so much more than fish and chips as this is quality seafood cooked expertly. The business has a regular trade of people from Sydney who have discovered this hidden gem who drive the two hours it takes to get there to have lunch, then turn around and head back to Sydney.
The owner even told us about an elderly lady from Sydney who for many years took all her children and grandchildren to lunch on her birthday at Sydney’s iconic and very expensive and well-known seafood restaurant. However, having accidentally found this very unassuming cafe, she now brings her family down to Greenwell Point where they stay for two nights in the motel across the road, and celebrate her birthday with a seafood lunch at the cafe. The weekend away with accommodation and lunch ends up costing less than having lunch in the iconic seafood restaurant in Sydney.
But sadly, we weren’t there for the seafood lunch, we were there for breakfast. We sat in the newly extended outdoor courtyard of the cafe that is pet friendly. Due to the overcast weather there weren’t many people in the cafe that morning however, the owner told us that normally, the cafe is bursting at the seams and definitely, if wanting to come for the seafood lunch, you need to book.
Breakfast is available until noon and the menu has everything you would expect. Service is speedy and all the portions, generous. The little guy started with an iced chocolate that when presented, reminded me of a step-back in time; like a nostalgic touch from a retro milk bar.
I had a hot chocolate that was so good I was thinking how wonderful it is when you come across a place that far outweighs your expectations.
Alfie ordered the Belgian waffles with mixed berries, maple syrup and ice cream however, with eyes bigger than his stomach and a strong urge for a sugar fix, he asked for chocolate topping as well. It arrived piled up to the sky with plenty of ice cream and topping and a bowl of berries and cream.
I ordered the Eggs Benedict with bacon. It was well presented, the poached eggs were runny and there was plenty of hollandaise sauce. The amount of bacon was also overly generous and was shared around the table with little Rosie also enjoying a bacon breakfast as well.
Drew ordered the Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. He complimented the owner on what a wonderful breakfast it was and what a delightful surprise it was to find such a great cafe in such a tiny, off-the-map town.
Next thing the owner brought to the table a complimentary plate of his very famous crumbed calamari. He said we couldn’t go back to Sydney without trying it. It is very well known for being extremely tender and the owner said that is because he employs girls from the local high school to come to the cafe after school where, with their fingernails, they peel the transparent outer layer from the calamari. He said it’s very time-consuming but makes a world of difference as to how tender the calamari is.
Drew and Alfie tried the calamari that was dipped in a homemade aioli and wedges of lemon. They both agreed it was the best and most tender calamari they had ever eaten. There were big regrets around the table that we couldn’t stay in Greenwell Point long enough to experience the seafood lunch.
Pelican Rocks Cafe is a classic small-town Aussie cafe that serves food at a standard over and above its humble setting. Service is friendly, servings are generous and the prices very reasonable. The cafe is also licensed with a limited range of beers and wines on offer.
Very definitely, we have a plan to return to the Pelican Rocks Cafe to experience the seafood lunch – and following the owner’s advice, we will be sure to book.
Verdict: A wonderful surprise
Pelican Rocks Cafe: 115 Greenwell Point Road, Greenwell Point, NSW
Ph: (02) 4447 1471