I have always known Wollongong to be a popular getaway destination for Sydneysiders looking for that short break. As a kid, we would often come down and visit family friends that camped out at Bulli Van Park over the Christmas break.
Superb beaches, lots of adventure and activities. A stunning escarpment that runs the length of the whole region and provides magnificent views and beautiful walking trails. Those and many more reasons to make a visit to ‘The Gong’ exist, but that’s not the subject matter of this tale.
I am writing about two of my all-time favourite things. Food and music, and Wollongong is embracing them both with absolute gusto! The days of locals having to travel to the big smoke for the ultimate dining experience are all but over.
In Wollongong, the food and music scene is going gangbusters. Across the board the choices and standard of what’s on offer are surpassing the old and I am going to feature four passionate and diverse players with music being the link between the food chain.
Level One – Harbourfront
Harbourfront is location, location, location on the water
Without doubt Level One has arguably the best location of all the dining options in the region. Sitting right on the edge of Wollongong Harbour, the outlook is as delicious as the fare.
The driving force behind Harbourfront is Angelo Scioscia. Angelo joined the team in 2001 as trainee manager and soon become part of the ownership group. Sixteen years on and he thrives on providing guests a menu that encapsulates the best of both land and sea.
My ‘lazy Sunday’ experience certainly delivered on that promise and much more.
It was a glorious sunny winters day, and the freshest local produce acquired mainly within a 50-km radius was on offer. Local musicians entertained us with a lovely mix of covers and original material and that superb view just topped it all off.
The menu choices also hit the mark and the variety of choice is outstanding. Tapas was the go for me and I was happy to share with some friendly locals who had invited me to join them.
The Salumi Plate is very generous with the perfect mix of prosciutto, truffle salami, capocollo, garlic and fennel salami and the most delicious buffalo mozzarella I have ever tasted.
With its waterside location, I just had to indulge in some seafood. The presentation of the Hiramasa Kingfish was delightful, but the melt in your mouth texture with the combination of ruby grapefruit, avocado, Thai basil and a fermented chilli dressing was supreme.
A final dish of delicate and moist pork and chive dumplings and we were all feeling extremely satisfied! It just so happened that happy hour had begun, so I spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the live music with a cold beer until a spectacular sunset signalled to me my job was done.