The little restaurant making a big impact
When you visit Yellowtail for the first time and have an outstanding dining experience, you realise how lucky we are when you then learn that Chef and Owner, Scott Price was just passing through Terrigal when he saw a small, fun, busy beachside suburb that he would like to call home.
Scott is unquestionably humble for one of the leaders in turning the traditional “fine dining” scene of the Central Coast on its head. Explaining why the moniker of being a fine dining restaurant doesn’t exactly fit Yellowtail, the connotations around fine dining suggest an ocean view, safe menu and crisp white linens be part of the make-up.
Sitting in a former sandwich shop, watching pedestrians stroll by and talking about dishes inspired by the middle eastern shish kebab you understand that there is nothing pretentious or conservative about Yellowtail.
Yellowtail is a master class in what is important in a restaurant – food and wine, and they ensure both are front and centre. Even though the name Yellowtail may suggest they are a seafood-based menu, you are reminded that nothing is what it seems here.
“We make really tasty food, some of our food can be more rustic, we are not fixed on our sources of inspiration. If we want to do something Asian, Middle Eastern or Italian we will. We are not afraid to have a Thai curry on the menu because we know it tastes good. We refine it to a point where it fits into the expectation of a fine dining restaurant. I would rather make food that tastes good because that is what people want”.
Scott and the team may be flexible with their inspiration but are very particular about sourcing their produce.
Even though they don’t identify as a farm to table style restaurant, the team are filleting their own fish as well as pin boning the whole whiting that is a feature on the a la carte menu. Working with a supplier in Cowra, NSW they bring in whole lamb saddles and break down what they want to deliver in their dishes.
When we start talking about the recent addition of a lamb tomahawk dish, Scott explains the cut of meat is unique to Yellowtail. In bringing it to life, Scott has used the concept of a shish kebab and created a fine dining version with this bespoke cut of lamb being served with traditional middle-eastern flavours of hummus, baba ghanoush, labneh, dukkah, pickled radish and chilli salad with house-made fresh pita cooked over a charcoal flame.
Yellowtail classics are available on the a la Carte menu and include Sashimi with finger lime, green chilli, galangal and coconut. Whilst it may not be the prettiest dish, the Yellowtail Brussel sprouts are the most requested and are essential ordering.
“We make them tasty; it is not a refined dish – it’s rough and rustic and people love it”, Scott proudly explains about the surprise star dish.
You can easily be a regular at Yellowtail and still experience new food every week at the test kitchen concept held on Tuesday nights. A creative space for Scott and team to try something new, or maybe weekend Yum Cha is a step change to your weekend routine. “For the locals it was a different concept to understand rather than the quick café options on offer – this can be quick and casual or make an afternoon out of it”. It has been embraced with the Yum Cha lunches being booked out in advance.
Now to that wine list. Scott and Restaurant Manager Lynn Fernandes know they are very fortunate to be able to partner with some knowledgeable wine sellers here on the Central Coast and it shows in the offering and the ability to pair the wine with the food. You won’t find many wine labels on this menu available at your street corner off-license, which is another unique and appealing aspect of Yellowtail, creating their own experience.
Even though the traditional sense of fine dining is not at the heart of Yellowtail, the refinement and attention to detail is what levels this restaurant right in that category. A handbag is not placed on the floor, but put behind the bar, the team are informed about the Chef’s menu and can discuss the matching wines, the service is on point and never intrusive, and finally the food is delicate, balanced and true to Scott’s vision – tasty!
Yellowtail is truly a destination restaurant for the Central Coast and worth making the trip.