Many think Valentine’s Day is a ‘Hallmark Cards’ holy-day due to its commercialisation, however it does have deep historical and romantic roots.
Saint Valentine of Rome was executed for performing illegal weddings for soldiers – a real hero of the heart!
In 18th Century England, the day evolved into an occasion for lovers to express their love by presenting their beloveds with flowers, confectionery and sending greeting cards– all hand-delivered of course.
I’m all for a day that presents an excuse to spoil or surprise a loved one, what’s not to like? With a bit of thought or a grand gesture, one can reap the benefits of a happy, charmed beloved.
Valentine’s Day for beginners:
Ok, so you don’t really go in for all that stuff – every day is Valentine’s Day right? Sure. Nearly everyone is delighted by some romantic attention from their beloved, even receiving a card from the supermarket with heartfelt handwritten words is touchingly expressive.
More so a beautiful bunch of flowers. Supermarkets always stock extra flowers for the big day, so while you’re at the smoke counter, just lean a little to the left and live dangerously.
However, if you’d like to reap some full-effect-flower-loving, send a beautiful bouquet or a dozen red ones to your beloved’s place of work. There the joyous surprise and the jealous remarks of other not-so-beloveds will work their magic. You have shown an ability to use the phone or internet and spend five minutes ordering and arranging delivery, bravo! But if you’d like to move to the next level read on…
Let’s focus on the feast part of the ‘Feast of Saint Valentine’, and move up to wining and dining your beloved over a candlelight dinner, or breakfast or lunch for two on the beautiful Sapphire Coast:
Eight restaurant experiences to consider for your Valentine’s date night:
Huw & Renee’s Pop-up Restaurant
22 Quondolo Street, Pambula
Phone: 02 6495 7172
Licensed for BYO
Huw and Renee’s wonderful food and service means their very new enterprise fills up each week, however, if you miss out this week don’t despair, a Valentine’s gift of a future evening booked and planned for would also be a winner romantically, as well as something to look forward to together.
This restaurant is a treat, real silver, linen table-cloths, top-notch service and a sensational set menu with a focus on seafood, local produce and amazing flavours. At the pop-up stage with a set menu and currently licensed BYO only, take a special bottle of white and enjoy a singular, very romantic evening.
162 Arthur Kaine Drive, Pambula
Ph: 6495 6330
A luscious and decadent love-inspired tasting menu will be on offer at Wheelers, for Valentine’s Day and also through Friday and Saturday, lunch and dinner (so don’t panic if you can’t make it on the 14th).
Live music from jazz duo Double Standard will accompany dinner on the 14th, and also at lunch on Saturday, February 16. On Valentine’s Day you can of course choose from a la carte dining or go the tasting menu for two at $65 or $95 with matched premium wines (per person). And all that lovely Wheelers service too.
Fat Tony’s Bar & Grill
15 Bega Street, Tathra
Ph: 6494 4550
Want something delicious and fun? Try ordering some famous Fat Oysters with Ant’s marvellous margaritas at the bar before settling down for dinner, or you know (wink wink) heading home early.
There’s always a great atmosphere at Fat Tony’s, housed in the old Harbourmasters Cottage at the top of Tathra’s headland. Chef’s specials and a great wine list, vintage Tathra photos, outdoor dining and generous meals, all with Ant’s smiling, jaunty service. And besides, they have been nominated for the 2EC ‘fun night out’ award for 2019.
The Whale, Narooma
102 Wagonga Street, Narooma
Ph: 02 4476 2411
Chef Matt Hoar has been wowing them in Narooma for some time.
An deco-style dining room looking over the wonderful waters of Narooma inlet, with consistently excellent menu, and a wine list hand-compiled by owner and wine lover Matt Deveson.
A special Valentine’s Day degustation menu is being created for the evening in addition to the normal menu. Or you might go for snacks and sexy cocktails amongst the jungle-like greenery of the Ocean Room, which could include a special love potion – Raspberry Cointreau Float. Whichever you choose it’s going to be a treat.
Shop 5, Level 1, Fishermen’s Wharf, Bermagui
Ph: 6493 5753
The kitchen team at Il Passaggio will be cranking up the sweet loving of their amazing desserts for Valentine’s Day.
The views here are of the wonderful fishing boats of Bermagui, and you will experience excellent Italian-style hospitality. Choose from Mediterranean delights such as Gnocchi in a Slow Cooked Duck Ragu, Eden Mussels in broth, Veal Saltimbocca, or enjoy a glass of wine and antipasti in true Italian ‘aperativo’ style. Then order dessert!
60 Main Street, Merimbula
Does not take bookings
The atmosphere is very convivial and welcoming, with a busy bar, little corners and a shady garden that fills with a great party vibe later into the evening.
I’m recommending this as a Valentine’s Day option as I feel that dressing up, sitting at a lovely bar, in the hands of excellent bar-tenders, sipping a classic cocktail and perhaps moving on to oysters and a cheese board would kind of be my dream night out.
The burgers here are also classic and succulent and filled with pickles and secret sauces enclosed in Wild Rye’s milk buns, but to me, they are a pleasant aside to the imbibing of say a Gimlet, Peach Blow Fizz, Classic Martini, Espresso Martini or even that Italian reviver Aperol Spritz. That’s just a few.
And you’ll feel sexy surrounded by young things in the garden- go on!
Drift Restaurant & Bar
1/253 Imlay Street, Eden Wharf
Ph: 02 6496 3392
Drift in Eden has put together a special set menu for a Valentine’s celebration of love.
If a fun eatery with a reputation for very fine cocktails at the Eden Wharf sounds like your perfect date then go here.
Also available is their usual menu, so things like BBQ pork ribs, chilli lime fried, oysters, arancini, and more are on offer, however their special loved-up set menu of a pesto & semi-dried tomato stuffed lamb rack and a layered chocolate mousse cake at $40 per head (main and dessert) which includes a complimentary glass of beer or sparkling wine, sound perfect for this Thursday of love.
The Wharf Merimbula
Lake Street, Merimbula
Ph: 02 6495 4446
Watching the sunset over the hills behind Merimbula Bay whilst feasting on an abundant seafood sharing plate, or other seafood dishes, and imbibing a beautifully poured beer or crisp glass of white sound like a great date!
But wait there’s more, chefs at The Wharf Restaurant are going all-out with desserts for Valentine’s Day, such as Lemon Posset or White Chocolate and Raspberry Bombe Alaska.
Attentive, efficient table service, those views and your beloved make for a special evening. And staff at The Wharf tell me they’re prepared for people not wanting to leave!
Five lunch or breakfast spots for Valentine’s Day:
Too many kids or animals to look after so no time for a dinner date? Just do lunch or breakfast.
The fact you are seeking out some alone/together time means a lot, so it doesn’t matter what time of day does it?
Staring into each others’ eyes over a luscious breakfast for two, or a seafood lunch on a deck looking out over our region’s sapphire waters can be as marvellous as candlelight and stars.
Mimosa Winery & Drystone Restaurant
2845 Tathra/Bermagui Rd, Bermagui
Ph: 6494 0164
A beautiful way to enjoy Valentine’s Day is to pick up your beloved for a drive through the Mimosa Rocks National Park to Mimosa Winery.
Lunch on the deck, sipping wine, and choosing from the Chef’s Valentine’s specials board – what’s not to love?
Loads of seafood like seared scallops and pan-fried snapper, house-made pasta, beef tartare with matching wines overlooking the vineyard, yes please!
Issi & Co.
Shop T26/27, Sapphire Market Place, Bega
Ph: 6492 0044
Surprise and impress your beloved by whisking them away from work for an hour or so to spend time with…just you!
Enjoy the lovely service at this comfy and popular eatery, and choose from some generous meals and a good beverage list.
A beef burger and a beer, or a light salad and glass of local Verdhelo, or even a great Issi coffee and cake, all delivered in a timely fashion, so no excuses for being back late to work. Unless, you know, time gets away from you!
Lynch’s Hotel Restaurant
135 Wagonga Street, Narooma
Ph: 02 4476 2001
Hidden away in this Narooma pub restaurant is a wonderful Nepalese menu. Chef‘s curries are to die for.
The dining room at Lynch’s is a very welcoming, elegantly rustic space, staff are friendly, and bar service comes to you.
There is a wide selection on the menu, including some fantastic lunch specials. If you and your beloved are lovers of warm Asian dishes, I definitely recommend a meal here.
The deeply flavoursome curries all come on a platter with rice, salad and pappadums. Recommended for dinner also.
1/29 Andy Poole Drive, Tathra
Ph: 6494 5229
Licensed for BYO
If a perfectly cooked breakfast is your goal but you can’t attain that at home (why are poached eggs so hard?), Wild Orchid will fulfil your desire.
Rowena and her team deliver one of the best breakfasts on the coast. Or you could grab a bottle of wine and sit in the lovely windows for a healthy and very tasty lunch and something chocolatey from the abundant cabinet. Or, you could start with breakfast and linger for lunch or have a swim in-between. Who cares? It’s a day for you. And yes, you can bring your special glass of bubbles to breakfast with you.
8-12 Bega Street, Tathra
Ph: 02 6494 1101
Lunch at the pub is a delight. Looking out over those sea views, whale or dolphin spotting, with a glass from the excellent wine list and a plate of local oysters is pretty spectacular.
I prefer the dining room in the daytime here, it is less busy, so feels more intimate.
A good chef’s specials board is always up and worth perusing, and they will have a choice of Valentine’s specials including share platters for two, loaded with love.
But really, a glass of bubbly, that view, and your beloved – what else is there? Well, I could mention they have very sleek new accommodation upstairs, with rooms and suites from $195 to $225. Couldn’t I? Then dinner and breakfast become part of the experience.
Editors note: Lisa Herbert dines at her own expense. Reviews are honest and not based on a commercial relationship.