We neither surf nor fish but it has become a tradition for us to pack dogs, kids and way too much gear, and head down to Angourie for school holidays. We rent a place for a week or two and recharge our batteries basking in the glorious natural beauty of the Clarence river estuary. Over the years, we have tried and tested many of the cafes in town and on this trip, I have decided to share my well-caffeinated knowledge. This is my personal selection of Yamba delights.
Sevtap Yuce is the diva of Yamba’s cafes: with her excellent food and trademark red lipstick, she has been feeding locals and travellers alike for many years. She cooks with “off the trawler” fresh ingredients and distinctive Turkish flavours and serves her meals on white tables with luscious bunches of rambling roses. We have at least one brunch at her place every time we come. On this trip, my favourite was her poached quince on a bird’s nest of shredded pastry accompanied by organic yoghurt, pistachio nuts, rosewater syrup and dots of rosella jam. Sensational! Her cookbooks are good too: beautifully produced and full of well-tested recipes. We have her “Turkish Flavours” at home and yoghurt-based cakes and baked eggplant with chicken have become part of our repertoire.
22 High St, Yamba, 2464
T. 02. 6646 9781
The best place to eat in Yamba is not – technically – in town: “Barbaresco” is nestled in the heart of the surf enclave of Angourie, just out of town and it is the brainchild of Tourinese chef Davide and maître de Adrienne. Good service and proper northern Italian food makes for a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience. We had beef carpaccio with truffle oil, pine nuts and shaved parmesan and char grilled Yamba prawns, pumpkin veloute and crispy leaks for starters. My wife’s sirloin stake with green peppercorn jus and polenta chips was great and I was tossing up whether to try the osso buco or the pappardelle with braised veal and porcini mushrooms but was stirred away by the special of pork rib-eye with baked apples, potatoes, pancetta and red wine reduction. A bottle of Ornellaia Le Volte Sangiovese and a bowl of shoe-string chips with parmesan and truffle oil tidied us over. Excellent food and generous portions meant no pudding although the panna cotta did look pretty yummy. Highly recommended.
Barbaresco Kitchen Angourie
Adrienne Smith & Davide Adorno
12-13/16 The Crescent, Angourie 2464
T. 02. 6646 3745
If you are not walking on the breakwater, the best place to enjoy the sunset is from the balcony of the Pacific Hotel. Perched high behind main beach, the Pacific Hotel is the perfect spot to welcome a new evening, watching the fishing boats go out to sea, while enjoying a pint and the company of your loved one.
18 Pilot St, Yamba NSW 2464, Australia
T. 02. 6646 2466
When I want excellent food but I am not in the mood for a Turkish treat, I head for Leche: a well-run establishment, which supports visual and musical local artists. The food is fresh, healthy and flavorsome and the back garden is perfect, if you are traveling with young ones (or listening to a gig, in summer). On this trip, we had roast chicken with caramelized baby carrots and oranges in a bed of mash beetroot as well as homemade bake beans with crispy bacon and poached egg and both dishes were truly delicious. Our best café meal this trip.
One could be excused for feeling intimidated by Irons and Craig’s vibe: Chet Faker on the sound system, when I last visited & blistering cool, pristine 50s décor… But the food is good and the service is friendly so, what is there to be scared of? We had piping hot pumpkin soup and pulled pork sandwiches with home-made hollandaise sauce on this occasion and both were excellent.
Irons and Craig
29 Coldstream St, Yamba, 2464
T. 02. 6646 1258
Bean Scene café
The Bean Scene is an excellent spot for afternoon tea: the service is prompt and unobtrusive, the atmosphere relaxed, the wi-fi connection is fast and the food is well-executed traditional Australian fare. I had green tea and carrot cake on my visit and both were perfect. I sat in peace with my computer for a good 40 minutes and really enjoyed being there.
Bean Scene café
4/8 Yamba St, Yamba, 2464
T. 02. 6646 2619
Yum Yum Angourie Store
If you are a surfer or are traveling with young kids, the Angourie store is for you: it makes good coffee from as early as 7am and sits next to some of the most beautiful beaches on the NSW coast. Chris and Morgan have given the old store a facelift: they still stock surf-life essentials but have added beautifully presented fresh produce, flowers, jars of treats for the kids and colorful crockery.
The jam drops we tried were melt-in-your-mouth buttery and the raw hazelnut mousse was surprisingly good. Controversially, they have swapped the traditional recipe for fluffy pancakes for a more modern crepe-style one. Have a try and see what you think.
Yum Yum Angourie Store
Chris & Morgs
17 The Crescent, Angourie, 2464
T. 02. 6646 2467
Sassafras is a well-run and friendly family restaurant. Great spot, if you are traveling with children. Book in advance: it is popular.
Pasta and Pizza Restaurant
T. 02. 6646 1011
Thai Payu Restaurant
The best take-away we have found in Yamba is from Thai Payu, which serves fresh and consistently good Thai food year in and year out. We get dinner from them at least a couple of times a week, while on holiday.
Thai Payu Restaurant
From 4.30pm. Dinner Tue to Sun (open 7 days during holidays)
3/18 Coldstream St, Yamba, 2464
T. 02. 6646 9156
Don’t head out of town without stopping for supplies at the Palmers Store, which stocks a carefully edited selection of plonk, treats from near and far and makes excellent brownies and damn good coffee.
Having watched the owner rolling pastry at the back of the store, we shopped a picnic for our pilgrimage to Lawrence (we go every year for a ride across the Clarence on the car ferry) and cleaned up the Palmers store pies in no time. The spicy pork pasties were particularly scrumptious.
1078 Yamba Rd, Palmers Island, 2464
T. 02. 6646 7741
OK, Belinda’s is not a café but it is worth a mention anyway. Belinda’s is a beautifully curated independent ladies’ clothes store. If you are traveling with your better half or are in the market for a gift, drop in: in an era where EVERYTHING is on our internet shop shelf, having someone’s good taste selecting just a few items is a refreshing experience.
24 High Street
Yamba NSW 2464
Phone: 02 6646 8466