Gourmet cafe food and espresso by the sea
You could not get a more local café in Terrigal. Mitch Jury whom with his Dad, Steve, jumped in the deep end around 12 years ago opening Bellyfish on the Esplanade. These local lads have seen significant changes in Terrigal over the past decade, and yet Bellyfish goes from strength to strength.
Bellyfish is one of the longest-running cafés in Terrigal and it is as relevant today as it was when a fresh-faced Mitch with his Dad decided to give up his weekends and sleep-ins to make it work.
For those now-and-then visitors to Terrigal or the locals who exercise daily beachside, Bellyfish is a welcome sight, a warm hug if you’d like, and serving great coffee from 5am. Not just anyone is making the coffees, only trained baristas are allowed behind the machine at Bellyfish to deliver the coffees from Sydney roaster; Single-O.
When I ask why they open so early (with all the other cafes opening around 6am) Mitch explains “when Dad and I first started there was a need to service the fitness groups, and we are an early rising family, so we just kept it going. Making sure customers know that we’re always going to be open at a certain time and they know what to expect”.
Some of the most regular locals are usually in for the first brew batch of the day. With Covid limited seating, Mitch is that comfortable he has asked the regulars to take their coffees beach-side so groups don’t congregate and others have an opportunity to take a seat and enjoy the view and breakfast.
Both Mitch and Steve can have this conversation with regulars as there is trust with his customers. Trust that doors will be open at 5am all year round, that the coffee is going to be on point, the food is delicious and well portioned and don’t forget the Mixed Berry muffins made in house that have been flying off the front counter since the beginning!
The café has ample street side seating where this year customers have been treated to regular sightings of dolphins and whales playing in the ocean. If you do end up inside don’t be disappointed as you are greeted with murals by local artist Grant Molony that are intricate and characterful to the interior.
Time to get to the important stuff… the food.
Let’s start with ‘The Goods’ a delicious dish consisting of house cured gin & juniper salmon, house lemon & dill labneh, smashed avo, beetroot hummus, local poached eggs, fresh dill, lime, toasted sourdough and herb oil; or maybe to satisfy the sweet tooth try the Sticky Date Pancakes - fluffy house made pancakes topped with sticky date pudding crumble, butterscotch sauce & vanilla ice cream.
The all-day brunch menu stretches to an incredible burrito bowl with a house made Crispy tortilla shell filled with shredded lettuce, spiced rice, chicken, fresh tomato salsa, smashed avo & sour cream that really partners well with a craft beer or glass of wine from the extensive menu. For those wanting a brunch experience, Mimosas are also being served.
The Terrigal café scene can be fickle but far from territorial. Mitch and Steve are the nice guys, the ones that help out if someone needs a bag of coffee beans, some spare plates for lunch service and even for writing this article we discuss another café Freestate who Mitch explains are killing it at the other end of the beach with great coffee and food offerings - "if you get a chance you need to try them too" he says.
This is your all-round feel good café that delivers "the goods" in every which way!