Florida Beach Bar has the casual, beach-facing vibe of Sydney’s Coogee Bay Hotel before their fancy renovations. With the golden sands of Terrigal beach right across the road, it’s a top place to rest your sandy feet and sink a beer or two after a swim or surf on the little break branching off the southern headland.
Fully heated, the large, open-air dining area also lends itself to evening activities that venture beyond the summer season.
To counter the bar’s somewhat raucous reputation as the town’s main drinking hole for young people, Venue Manager Chris Beath decided to put back into the local community with a monthly night market.
The resulting event, Greedy Guts Markets, curated by Nicky Ford, pops up on the second Friday of each month. Happily, this coincided with my recent visit to Terrigal.
The stalls are set up around the edge of the bar, making for a powerful cloud of cooking aromas that lure in locals and poolside hotel guests.
Beath's brief for the market was: “nothing you can get at ordinary farmers markets, like the ubiquitous gozleme.” He keeps it fresh from month to month with a second rule that no stall can do two Greedy Guts Markets in a row.
To keep things affordable, each outlet must have at least four different items, with one item priced affordably at ten bucks. Nothing can go over the twenty-dollar mark, either. To illustrate this point we kick off with an excellent Hot Dog ($10) from Donnie Eats, a local catering and food cart outfit from the Central Coast, who have regular digs inside Six String Brewery in Erina. Their good looking dawg is nicely garnished with jalapenos and loops of alternating sauces - mustard, tomato and American cheese - all sitting along a popping red smoked frankfurter. Fried shallots and shaved bacon help to round it out into a next level hot dog experience - colour me impressed.
Most of the mouth-watering aromas of the market seem to be emanating from the Filipino outlet, Flaming Q.
If the smell wasn't enough, we spy someone eating a chilli dotted set of BBQ Pork Skewers ($15/3), and are immediately compelled to descend into their smoke cloud and secure our own set of hot, tender and tasty pig on a stick.
Before we can blink an eye, our plate and rubbish are cleared from the table. Beyond the overhead heating, that's another of the other advantages of this particular night market - it's fully serviced by Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific staff. We pick up a 2016 Cumulus Estate Block 50 Chardonnay ($35/bottle) and put out the fire in our mouthes. It seems very civilised to be able to have a bottle of wine at a street food market too - Sydney's markets are often subject to much more restriction in this area.
Greedy Guts Markets is also one of the friendliest markets I’ve been to. As we eat our way through a Curry Combo ($12) from Mumma Khan, the lovely and well spoken young (23 and 25), local couple sharing our communal table tell us about their life up here on the Central Coast. As for the curries, with the proprietor’s father raised in Fiji with Afghani/Pakistani heritage, they are mild, melting pot affairs in the form of a lamb curry and a chicken masala. They lack the fire and clarity I was hoping for. This stall also highlights one of the only problems I could find with this market – it’s too dark to properly see the food they are making.
Ripper Tucker produced my favourite bite with their Mussel Combo ($13). This Sydney-based outfit pride themselves on using sustainable seafood, presenting quality Kiwi green-lipped mussels grilled on the half shell under Parmesan cheese, sitting on a bed of well-drained, shoestring fries.
I could’ve happily hit up another half dozen of these well-handled briny bivalves.
We end our visit to Greedy Guts Markets by sharing our Twix Fix ($9) by Diego’s Donuts with our newfound friends. The bite-sized mini doughnuts are the perfect way to end our experience at this friendly market that cleverly solves many of the niggles stemming from eating outdoors during the colder season.
Florida Beach Bar
Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific
1 Kurrawyba Avenue, Terrigal
Ph: (02) 4384 9111
NOTE: Greedy Guts Markets are on every second Friday of the month.