In little over 12 months, Sean Grobbelaar has given the foodies on the Coast a shake-up. Under his guidance, The Lakehouse at The Entrance has raised the bar, giving diners a culinary experience that has been recognised by the Hospitality Industry with the award for 2018 Best Informal Restaurant Regionally in NSW.
Sean has now set his sights wider, taking hold of Toowoon Bay’s Coast89 and renaming it after his partner Cecilia. Being only a short walk from home, and having already become a fan of The Lakehouse, the news of Cecilia’s new owners had my partner and I checking the calendar for our next date night.
Cecilia’s has kept the coastal feel, is crisp and sharp with an open kitchen. We were welcomed at the door and taken to our table.
On this gorgeous Wednesday, we find ourselves at one of the large, road-facing windows, watching the tourists scramble by. It was a quiet evening though we arrived quite early, and I feel we were missing the ‘buzz’ of a fuller room.
The menu gave us a tough decision to make, with each option sounding better than the nextl. The starters sounded lush, especially the seafood – Beetroot Sake cured Salmon with smoked avocado, Robata Scampi Tails with Yuzu butter and kombu, Grilled Scallops with chilli salsa and sweet pickled apple – just imagining what these Japanese influences would be like excited us both.
We decide to focus on the mains. Too many times we tend to over order and under eat, it’s shame to waste good food. There is a selection of proteins on the menu, and again it was difficult to choose. Personally, I went for the Duck Breast, mainly because I very rarely eat duck, and I wanted to see just how good it could be.
How good was it? It was |……………THIS……………| good. Just the presentation on the plate when placed in front of me was the business. Finely prepared vegetables, crispy skinned breast blushing at me, it felt wrong to disturb their placement. The breast had retained all its juice, perfectly cooked, the skin rendered to a joyful crunch. So THIS is how good it can get. I cut a slice and passed it to my partner…. her eyes just rolled back, “Yeah, that’s delicious.”
Opposite, in front of my partner was a 1½ inch pork loin sitting proudly in a flavoursome ramen broth, adorned with thinly sliced cucumber, radish and pear puree. Another dish that looks so special. My partner could not fault it, with the Asian flavours, juicy pork and pear, and the vegetable crunch creating the perfect combination. “Wholesome goodness” was a comment my partner made, and having shared a taste, I had to agree.
Both meals were next level, a point that my partner and I commented on. Coming from those who look after The Lakehouse, this quality is what I was expecting but today, it exceeded my expectations. Way beyond my expectations. Price point for the meals were up there, just creeping over the $30 for mains. It is also true that my two local pubs have meals hitting that price. The difference is that your $28 stuffed chicken breast at the pub just doesn’t come anywhere near your $32 Koji Marinated chicken breast at Cecilia’s.
That’s what you are paying for, stunning food that is worth every cent.