NSW Holiday 2007-2008 – Day 6

Red Neds Gourmet Pie Bar
Shop 3/17-19 Stockton St, Nelson Bay NSW

I was keen to check out Nelson Bay’s local gourmet pie shop (1) after Jac told me about it following her previous trip to Nelson Bay, and (2) since it was voted one of the top 50 pie shops in Australia in the That’s Life magazine Great Aussie Pie Contest last year. Many of you will of course know how much I love to eat pies when I’m on holidays! (See these posts – Dunsborough, Dongara/Denison, Geraldton 2, Geraldton 1, and indeed the whole pies category!)

The shop is named after Ned Kelly the bushranger and his father Red. I won’t go into details as you can find out more about Ned Kelly at ironoutlaw.com (link obtained from the Red Neds website).

Red Neds hidden by trees

There’s a statue of Ned Kelly at the front of the store, along with a blackboard featuring the specials.

Red Neds and Ned Kelly

Red Neds has won numerous awards, which are proudly displayed on the shop walls.

Ego wall at Red Neds

Over 50 different pies are baked daily. You can see the full menu here.

Pies on display

Red Neds menu

And so, after all this build-up, how were the pies?

Jac ordered the lambs fry pie with bacon and onion gravy (AU$4.80 – I think).

Lambs fry and bacon pie

She thought the filling was okay, but she really didn’t like the pastry, which was really dry and flaky- shards of pastry raining down with every bite.

Lambs fry and bacon pie innards

I ordered the chunky chicken and mushroom pie (AU$4.80).

Chicken and mushroom pie

I thought the flavour of the gravy was good, but the chunky chicken could’ve definitely been chunkier, and I thought the mushroom pieces could’ve been bigger too – in fact, I thought the pie could’ve had more filling in it. You can probably see in the photo that the pie was practically concave. Overall it was okay I suppose, but nothing I’d rave about or recommend.

Chicken and mushroom pie innards

So the verdict was: very ordinary. I suppose the next time I’m in Nelson Bay I’ll try another Red Neds pie, one of the more exotic ones perhaps, and see if it’s any better.

I was keen to get a few photos of the marina on a sunnier day. As you can see, the sky was much bluer this time, but the photos still look like watercolours!

The marina on a sunny morning

The marina on a sunny morning

Sandpipers Restaurant
81 Magnus Street, Nelson Bay NSW

We returned to the town centre later for grab some lunch. We’d walked past Sandpipers Restaurant on one of our previous strolls, and Jac had noted oysters on the menu, available as natural, kilpatrick, tempura, mornay and shooters (an oyster in a Bloody Mary shooter, one of Jac’s favourites!). I was tempted by one of the specialties of the house: “sizzling hot pot of garlic and chilli prawns served with rice and dipping toast”.

Jac went for half a dozen oysters mornay (AU$16.95). She thought these were fantastic – really cheesey and creamy.

Oysters mornay

She also ordered a caesar salad. You have a choice of chicken (AU$15.95) or king prawns (AU$17.95), but we asked for the caesar on its own. I presumed they’d still charge us the price for the chicken caesar, but they charged us AU$13.95, which was good. I liked the shaved parmesan and the flavour of the dressing, but wasn’t thrilled about the mixed lettuce they used – caesar should consist only of cos lettuce, damnit! :) Jac wasn’t wild about the croutons, which tasted strongly of the oil they’d been cooked in.

Caesar salad

I’d ordered an entree sized serve of the prawns (AU$16.95). With the main size (AU$30.00) apparently you get TWO hot pots of prawns, which at the time sounded like a crazy amount to eat for lunch (I must say though, once I knew how good the dish was I could’ve easily eaten a main size!). There were eight prawns in the pot, so I guess with the main size you’d get sixteen prawns. The hot pot was served up noisily sizzling and bubbling with a trail of steam, creating quite an appetising spectacle like the arrival of the sizzling beef in a Chinese restaurant.

Sizzling hot pot of garlic and chilli prawns

The prawns were Oh. My. God. So divinely, sublimely, perfectly bursty. I definitely sucked out as much prawn as possible out of the tails. You could taste and see the garlic and chilli in the oil-based sauce, but neither were overpowering. The sauce had a tantalising hint of something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on – was it hoisin, or brandy? :) Although I love rice, it didn’t contribute much to the dish (apart from a great first impression – “Cool, the rice is in a scallop shell!”). As the grains were quite separated, it didn’t really soak up much of the sauce that I poured over it. Hey, I’m Chinese, I like clumpy rice! The only time I prefer separated rice grains is when I’m using leftover rice to make fried rice. The garlic toast was great though. I reckon they should ditch the rice and just provide more garlic toast for dipping. When I’d run out of prawns, toast and rice I just couldn’t help myself – I drank down spoonfuls of the sauce, enjoying every drop. It was a deliciously drinkable sauce, and I was was still drooling fondly over the dish hours days later.

Sizzling hot pot of garlic and chilli prawns close-up

We stopped for a sweet break later at the Ice Creamery at the Marina. Two scoops in a cup (AU$5.00) – Strawberry yoghurt, which had real strawberry pieces in it, and Stairway to Heaven, which was a caramel and vanilla concoction with chocolate cookie chips in it. Not bad, though we prefer creamier ice cream – this was more icy than creamy.

Ice cream

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