Bangalay Luxury Villas are a cluster of modern self contained villas located at Shoalhaven Heads, on the South Coast of NSW. It's a popular place for a weekend away, at just two hours drive from Sydney or 3 hours from Canberra. Made for relaxation and dining there's the seemingly endless white sand Seven Mile Beach or a golf course as well as a standout dining option on-site. Come and take a look at what it's like.
"Bring your surfboard," I tell Mr NQN as he is deciding what to pack for our Father's Day weekend away. He has been working especially hard this year and I wanted to make sure that Father's Day was marked in a special way. And when I read more about Bangalay Luxury Villas, it was a perfect choice for the water enthusiast.
Shoalhaven Heads are an easy 2 hours drive from Sydney and we arrive at 2pm, check in time. Bangalay Luxury Villas is sort of hidden away along a quiet street on Shoalhaven heads but it's busy this weekend. We see a couple of Teslas charging in the car park and couples and young families checking in.
There are 16 villas on the littoral property that opened in 2021 and some are set against the golf course while others have a garden view. Those seeking a bit more privacy will probably opt for the golf course adjacent villas (although golfers do at times pop up in your view). The grounds have an extensive range of trees that shade and give the villas privacy. In fact the name Bangalay comes from the Southern Mahogany or Bangalay trees that make up the biodiverse Bangalay sand forest along with Coast Banksia, Blackbutt and Lilly Pilly.
Bangalay Villa's owners are Michelle and Tom Bishop. Michelle is also the interior designer and general manager while Tom is the builder. The couple own 2 of the 16 villas but the rest are privately owned and then rented out to make up the collection of accommodation.
Door codes are provided via text and the friendly front of house staff member shows us to our villa. It's spacious with a 60 square metre or 645 square foot footprint and decked out with natural hues with rattan, wood and earthy tones. There's main lounge and dining area opens up to a patio with chairs and table. A flock of birds let out a cacophony of greeting as we slide open the enormous sliding doors to the hardwood deck.
There's a comfy couch, gas fireplace, ducted heating, kitchenette and a full sized fridge. There's also a dining table for four and a mini bar on site full of interesting, local options and a personalised note of greeting. Service from all the staff is accommodating and friendly.
The bedroom is simple with a very comfortable king bed with smooth sheets. The closet holds dressing gowns, slippers and a safe and there's a small tv in the corner.
The bathroom has a spacious shower and sink area with natural light from the long privacy window above. It is stocked with basic toiletries and products by Aspar and a heated floor keeps everything warm especially during the cusp of winter to spring when the nights turn chilly once the sun disappears. Wifi is fast and free for unlimited devices.
A quick inspection of the fridge holds two complimentary Saltbush margaritas ready for pouring. Bangalay's signature cocktail is a stunner and uses locally sourced saltbush.
Afterwards we go for a quick walk to survey our surroundings. There's a palm tree fringed heated pool with deckchairs adjacent to the restaurant Bangalay Dining. Mr NQN unpacks his surfboard, assesses the surf conditions and then decides that the most pressing need of the moment is a nap.
At 6:30pm we walk along the boardwalk and arrive at Bangalay Dining. The acclaimed restaurant has executive chef Simon Evans and Nowra born Head Chef Bryce Mason and on Saturday nights they have a tasting menu only option with a six course chef's menu for $120 a person. We are having the courses paired with matching wine. The wine list is predominantly made up of Australian wines with selected imported wines also available.
Cos Heart, Zhoug Dressing, Cured Egg Yolk, Toasted Walnut
Our first course is a cos heart with one end wrapped in string so that it can be eaten by hand. The cos heart has pieces of radicchio with a delicious zhoug dressing, cured egg yolk and toasted walnuts. Every bite is a satisfying crunch both in terms of texture and flavour.
Focaccia with black garlic butter
This is paired with their house baked focaccia with a black garlic butter that is wonderfully soft and airy with a crisp salted crust. The smooth black garlic butter has a mushroomy, umami flavour to it.
Ulladulla Bonito, Burnt Mandarin, Smoked Dulce, Daikon and Nduja
The next course is a little square parcel with Ulladulla bonito, burnt mandarin, nduja and diced celery wrapped in sheets of daikon and sprinkle with smoked dulce for seasoning.
Beef Carpaccio, Smoked Creme Fraiche, Poached Onion, Native Pastrami Spice
Perhaps my favourite course is the beef carpaccio not just because it is perfectly paired with a 2020 Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Pinot Noir from Central Otago. The thinly sliced beef is served with smoked creme fraiche, poached onion and native pastrami spice mix (mountain pepper, wattleseed, pepper berry, native thyme, paprika, onion powder, smoked dulce seaweed) and is surprisingly sweet but this somehow fits. This reminds me of Korean beef tartare or Yukhoe in that it has a sweetness and a luscious texture to it.
Poached South Coast Ling, Prawn Mousse, Smoked Bone Sauce, Sea Purslane
The first few courses came out quickly but as the restaurant fills, they settle into a slower rhythm. The poached South Coast ling is perectly cooked and absolutely luscious in texture. It is paired with prawn mousse, a smoked bone sauce, broken almonds, fresh herbs and is finished with wattleseed oil.
Beef Cheek Marinated in Red Wine, Date Glaze, Purple Carrot and Onion Puree
Our last savoury course is the beef cheek marinted with a sweet date glaze, a blanket of wilted radiccio served with purple pickled carrots and a sweet onion puree. The beef is very tender and soft and I enjoy the sweetness and tartness of the accompanying flavours.
Roasted Honey and Yogurt Parfait, Rolled Oats, Poppyseeds, Verjus Jelly
By now I'm really quite full and when the dessert hits the table I try a spoonful. It's a frozen yogurt parfait sweetened with roasted honey topped with rolled oats, poppyseeds and a sweet verjus jelly. The raw rolled oats gives the dish a drier texture (a chunky, nutty praline would have been amazing on it) and I was also already full from the rest of the courses to finish this.
Mr NQN is relieved that he doesn't have to drive anywhere to get home and we take the short walk across the boardwalk to our villa where we have a deeply restful slumber. The next morning I feel the sheets rustling and it's Mr NQN waking up early for a morning surf. Zipping up his sleek black wet suit he grabs his surfboard and leaves for a surf at Seven Mile Beach.
By the time he returns, breakfast in the villa has arrived. I had ordered it the day prior while he was napping. For him I ordered a fresh berry topped French toast and berry fruit salad and for me it's a avocado toast generous with enormous, perfectly ripe avocado. These are all washed down with morning cocktails with a Bloody Mary and a Mimosa just because it is Father's Day after all.
After breakfast it's time to head out to Berry for a walk around and a bit of shopping. The nearby towns of Berry and Gerroa are a 12 minute drive away. Berry is very busy this Father's Day weekend and we spent a couple of hours meandering in and out of shops, petting dogs and buying dog treats for Teddy and Milo from the numerous pet supply stores.
Before we leave, we duck into the Berry Treat Factory for some chocolate malt balls and a giant pickle. Not only is there a range of chocolates, fudges and truffles but there's also a room with shelves full American treats, smoked garlic, pastry, flour and other baking goods.
It's 3pm by the time we make it back to Bangalay Villas. A couple of days prior we ordered a picnic basket ($100 per basket) that we book to pick up mid afternoon. We take it to Seven Mile Beach that stretches for 12.5kms or 7.8 miles of white sand beach. We watch as two horses gallop along the beach with riders their hooves touching the foamy surf.
Mr NQN unfurls the picnic blanket provided while I unpack the food from the basket and cooler. There's prosciutto, spicy salami and cornichons while another box holds three cheeses and crackers. There's also salad, fresh bread, olives and a cinnamon pastry as well as a huge square of lamington. There's a choice of white, red or sparkling wine with each picnic hamper and we opt for the sparkling, a Dott. prosecco. We feast while watching dogs play fetch while two other dogs pause at a nearby picnic and sit ready to negotiate for a treat.
So tell me Dear Reader, what did you do for Father's Day this year? What would your ideal day involve?
NQN and Mr NQN stayed as guests of Bangalay Luxury Villas but all opinions remain her own.
Bangalay Luxury Villas
30 Staples St, Shoalhaven Heads NSW 2535
Phone: +61 (02) 4448 7729