Apollo Bay has been a sleepy holiday spot for as long as I can remember, and that easy going feeling I experienced as a child is still as breezy as the occasional winds that whip that unspoilt coast.
We spent a week here in nearby Marengo, with the whole family in a house with a sea view that is really a must in these parts, for no matter what the weather, a view will always make you feel completely relaxed.
Here are my recommendations on the local eat spots in town.
Line up early for the legendary Scallop Mornay Pies at the Apollo Bay Bakery and for once, this is a bakery item that lives up to the hype. Fresh plump seafood swimming in a creamy bechamel enclosed in a crisp flaky crust. The Curried Scallop, Prawn and Salmon pies are also just as good. It’s the beachy lunch of choice around here!
The Apollo Bay Distillery is the only distillery on the Great Ocean Road and all the gins are branded to link with the area’s history and local qualities.
We enjoyed a Meet The Maker session for six, which was a guided gin tasting through the full range accompanied by a platter of local cheeses. The gin still was bubbling away in the background so we got to taste it neat too…pow!
I loved the saltbush tones in the Ocean Gin and the spiciness of the navy strength Captain Chapmans.
It’s a lovely way to while away the afternoon, but make sure you are able to walk home…
P.S> COFFEE ALERT – They are also a stockist of Hello Coffee, roasted locally and so a good spot for your caffeine fix!
You can also get St Ali coffee at Icaro Cafe where you can sit cross-legged on the lawn at low tables and enjoy it in the sun.
Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant has been the local destination restaurant for over 40 years. Situated high on Beacon Hill the sea views on a clear day are quite spectacular. No wonder it is the site of many a proposal and celebration.
The menu is pretty old school, with a touch of Greek influence due to the founder Chris’ heritage. It felt like it could do with a little modernisation to be honest, but hey, I guess it falls into the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ camp.
It’s definitely an icon in the area, and a fine experience, particularly if you are staying in one of the villas.
Newcomer Graze is probably producing the best food in town. Everything is local and house made, and delivered with a modern flair visually and flavourwise. I particularly liked the emphasis on the house smoked meats – cherry smoked duck, applewood smoked pork and hickory smoked lamb – all cooked to perfection.
It’s unassumingly tucked away behind the main strip of shops and has a café-like set up but the quality of the menu belies that.
The absolute must-do, however, is enjoying a seafood platter seaside on the wharf at the Apollo Bay Fishermans Co-op that has been operating locally for 70 years.
Not only is the fish local and fresh, but cooked well and presented bountifully. Tucking into a seafood platter with your fingers, overlooking the water with a beer or cider on a Summer’s day is the stuff that foodie dreams are made of!