There are so many reasons to love Avoca Surf House. There are the freshly shucked oysters, the mojitos, the colouring-in menu for kids, and then, of course, that view! But the key element that has made Avoca Surf House a success where so many previous businesses on this site have failed is Emily Caska.
Emily is the owner of Avoca Surf House and her energy, drive and enthusiasm is infectious. She is one of those people you want to have in your circle of friends, because she’s fun, generous and she’s brought an incredible sense of community to this space that she calls home. When Emily decided to create Avoca Surf House she determined that she wasn’t just opening a restaurant, she wanted her space to have, “a heart, a conscience and a focus on our community”. As such, Avoca Surf House regularly hosts a huge variety of events, including wine tastings, art workshops, beach clean ups, karma kegs (more on that later), business coaching seminars, vegan cooking classes, yoga and school holiday activities.
It’s truly inspiring that Emily is able to manage all of this – particularly given that she’s also mum to four-year-old Otis. Emily’s role as a mum is clearly influential in how she approaches her restaurant. This a bar, yes, but it’s a family-friendly dining venue too and a fabulous testament that these two elements do not have to be mutually exclusive. As a parent you can have your kids and cocktail, too, so to speak.
Kids are well catered for at Avoca Surf House
When we arrive at the venue with our sons aged two and four staff immediately bring out kids menus and colouring pencils. The silver cutlery is replaced with kid-sized forks and spoons and blue plastic cups take the place of the glasses. These simple gestures make us feel welcome (and less anxious) about dining out as a family. We know that we’re in the company of people who understand that kids can be clumsy, often messy and always like to be entertained. They’re not going to roll their eyes if a drink gets spilt or a few peas end up on the floor.
But the best is yet to come. We applaud that Avoca Surf House has skipped the default nuggets-and-chips kids menu. Instead, they offer meals you’d be proud to serve at home: grilled fish with broccolini, mushy peas and brown rice or southern-fried crispy chicken with carrots and pearl barley. For kids who prefer to graze there’s the snack plate of cheese, rice crackers, vegetable sticks and a boiled egg. The children’s meals are generous – particularly given that they’re only $10.
Adults, you, of course, are well looked after too. We start with the snapper sashimi. It comes thinly sliced on an avocado puree and topped with kale crisps, snow peas, radish, fresh wasabi and ponzu. It’s light, citrusy and delicious. For seconds we share two dishes and would happily order them both again and again. I try the house-made gnocchi with seasonal vegetables and buerre noisette first. The gnocchi is light, vegetables crisp and butter browned to a moreish perfection that has you scraping the plate at the end. The crisp-skinned pork belly comes with a salad of spanner crab, pea tendrils, fresh peas, radish and macadamia milk – the flavours and textures are beautifully balanced.
There’s a lean towards seafood here, which is appropriate given the location, but you’ll also find plenty of red meat with the likes of pasture-fed ribeye and wagyu beef burgers. The menu is quite extensive and has a number of options for vegetarians, vegans, and people with dairy and gluten intolerances.
Want to hang on the beach or in the park? They cater for that too. They do take away – fantastic take away: everything from fish tacos and wagyu beef burgers to cheese boards and polenta chips.
Homewares and gifts
Don’t leave without first browsing the homewares they have available for purchase. The hardback cookbooks, Breton-striped cotton throws, ceramic olive bowls and Laguiole cheese sets make perfect gifts… or treats for yourself.
“Our house is your house” reads the menu and this is a motto that rings true. Whether you arrive in your Friday night best or with bare-feet and tousled hair straight from the surf, here you’ll be welcomed. This space that Emily Caska and her team have created is far more than a restaurant: it’s a place to gather, to share, to belong.
What’s On at Avoca Surf House
❤︎ Thursday is “Love Locals” night. From 5pm. $20 meals (includes house beer/wine) + $12 kids meal deal.
❤︎ Friday is “$25 Friyay”. Get a cheese platter and two glasses house wine/bubbles for $25.
❤︎ Every day enjoy ASH Sunsets Happy Hour, 4pm-6pm. $5 house beer/wine/bubbles.
❤︎ Monthly Beach Clean Up: we absolutely love this initiative. Show your kids what community spirit is all about by involving them in Avoca’s monthly beach clean up – it’s on the last Sunday of each month. For volunteering your time, you can enjoy a “good karma” free beer or wine on the deck of The Avoca Surf House.
❤︎ ASH Kids Club: ASH hosts a heap of kids workshops and events throughout the school holidays. There could be a cooking class one day and flower-crown making the next. Plus they run movie screenings and yoga classes. Visit their Facebook page to see their upcoming events.
Avoca Surf House
Phone: 0422 843 065
Address: 3/85 Avoca Drive Avoca Beach.
Open: Summer hours (from September until April) Wed-Sun 12pm-11.30pm – all day dining with kitchen and bar open all the way through. Winter hours (from May until August) Wed-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11.30pm, Sun 12pm-5pm.
*Featured image at top ⒸBec Bond.