It seems just about everyone has a Terrigal favourite eat. When I mentioned that I was enjoying my first weekend ever in Terrigal, I was showered with recommendations. Burgers at Chop’n’Grind rated highly, as did cocktails at Pocket Bar (an offshoot by the same crew who run Sydney-based Pocket, Button and Stitch) and the food at The Cowrie and Rhonda’s.
While I didn’t have time on this short trip to check them all out, I did manage to sink my teeth into some classic French bistro at Le Chat Noir.
Refurbished last year by local Central Coast designer, Rock Salt Interiors, the interior space is wonderfully thematic, with moody low lighting and vintage posters. With windows down one side, the long enclosed verandah made me feel like I was in the dining car of a great train journey.
The wine list is predominantly Australia, with a decent showing from France, particularly in the mousseaux (sparkling) selection. Monmousseau Cuvee ($13/glass) from the Loire Valley is made only with Chenin blanc grapes, and impresses with minerality, dryness, and crisp apple.
It’s just the ticket to enjoy with Pickled White Anchovies and Garlic Flowers on Toast ($9/2), served with the flowers switched out for micro herbs.
Escargot ($18/12) here look French rather than Vietnamese, with tiny snails swimming in a lake of confit garlic and butter that you can dredge up using the accompanying bread. I appreciate that the garlic is lightly applied allowing the snails to dominate, and that the bread is served in correct proportion. The use of unsalted butter means it could have used a whisker of seasoning, but it’s a well-handled classic nonetheless.
I’m less impressed with Potato Gnocchi ($16) with goat’s cheese, peas and sprout leaves. It arrived burnt and should have been remade, as it spoilt what would otherwise have been a very good dish. The goat’s cheese in particular was chalky and fluffy - just the way I like it. Despite looking a bit nervous, floor staff handled our critique well, returning the dish to the kitchen, and granting our request to take it off the bill rather than have it remade. Being that we rang and asked for an 8.45pm reservation despite the kitchen usually closing off at 8.30pm, I'm inclined to put it down to to a once off lapse of judgement.
We end on high with the House Terrine ($20) served with excellent capers and a good collection of mustard pickles. We eat through zucchini, capsicum and fennel on thin slices of terrine matched to an appropriate amount of crusty white bread.
Despite the one dish misstep, I leave with a fondness for Le Chat Noir.
Le Chat Noir
10 Kurrawyba Avenue, Terrigal
Ph: (02) 4385 7077