|Duck roast with a touch of French and modern Australian.|
The restaurant is placed strategically in the northern Illawarra suburb of Thirroul, from which I did catch many a city commuter train in the wee hours of dawn. There is also a bus stop right in front of Samuels, which has been patronised by both visitors and locals alike. The beaches are further up the main road, Lawrence Hargrave, and in this hamlet of Thirroul, is a self contained village, sited on a narrow strip of land between the Tasman Sea and the Illawarra escarpment. Catching up with someone now based in Canberra, I and always wanted to try this place, offering special value particularly on Wednesday and Thursday evenings ( like a two course package for Aud 45), but also a pleasure to visit on an early Sunday afternoon. Open only for dinner from Tuesdays to Fridays, it is open from 12 noon till evening on weekends.
|The impressive variety of menu items on the blackboard, just after 12 noon on a summery Sunday arvo.|
It was a rather quiet and calm setting, when Kristin and I caught up on career, choices and casual matters. Staff were responsive, friendly and made us comfortable. I had secretly peeked into the dessert choices - amongst other things, cheeses, cakes, sweet stuff and more. There is an underlying influence of Europe in the Samuels cuisine, particularly Italian, French and Mediterranean. Although it has no beach front, Samuels provides other attractive aspects like an oasis of good food and ambiance away from the cafe and restaurant scene in downtown Wollongong and is a beacon of going out for those residents of the village suburbs north of there Wollongong CBD. There is a wide choice of cocktails, aperitifs, liquor and beer. Those passing by in the evenings down the South Coast may want to stop by after watching sunset at the nearby Austinmer beach.
|Mushroom filled nuggets accompanying a bowl of fresh greens.|
The white and subdued interiors contrast with the harsh and bright Australian colours outside. The day we visited there were both large groups and smaller one like for us. Chef Patrick does offer some interesting contemporary twists on several dishes and utilises ingredients to a refreshing outcome. Some people have found the place a tad noisy at times (yes, I believe they do cater for group cocktails) but generally I find it is a good venue to chat, soak in the lifestyle choices in the Illawarra - and then for me, for example, to get home within fifteen minutes by car. It is also family friendly.