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Every family has a restaurant they’d gladly call their favourite, remembered for hosting all types of special occasions as well as a weekly night out.

For the Keeling family, that restaurant was Reef Restaurant and Grill. Regulars for many years, they knew that when the opportunity arose to purchase the venue, it was too good to pass up. In 2008, Lynne Keeling took ownership of the restaurant, changing the name to ‘Reef’. Her son Jonathon simultaneously took over the café situated directly below, and re-named it Cove Cafe.

One of the main reasons Lynne and Jonathon fell in love with the building was its incredible location. Positioned directly on the beachfront in The Haven, Terrigal, and facing due north with uninterrupted views over the Pacific Ocean, both Reef and Cove enjoy one of the best settings on the East Coast.

Since taking ownership, one of the pair’s main aims was to ensure the quality of food and service was comparable to the location. Therefore, they enlisted the help of Head Chef, Paul Bouwhuis, who brought with him years of extensive culinary experience.

Paul’s passion for cooking has seen him travel widely, honing his skills under the guidance of a number of acclaimed chefs, including Serge Dansereau and Mark Armstrong. He was also employed by the Packer family for a time, working as a private chef at Ellerston Estate.

These years of experience have resulted in a produce-driven philosophy, with Paul sourcing local produce whenever possible and creating seasonal menus accordingly. Every ingredient comes from either local markets or premium suppliers, meaning that every plate is as fresh as can be. The menu theme can best be described as modern Australian, with a seafood emphasis to complement the stunning ocean views.

Paul’s seasonal entrees include the ever-popular jamon wrapped sea scallops with red pepper rouille and fennel radish watercress salad, or the soft-shell crab with Vietnamese salad, green mango and cashew nut nam jim.

Mains can include the seared tuna, accompanied by warm niçoise salad, semi- dried tomato and black olive tapenade and poached quail egg, or the confit of duck leg, served with burnt tomato, baby eggplant caponata, crispy quinoa, asparagus and caramelised orange jus. The rack of lamb is another favourite, complete with sweet potato, coriander and chickpea salad, carrot, cumin and honey puree, and mint tzatziki.

Vegetarians shouldn’t write Reef off – there’s lots of options for those so inclined. Dishes could include the beetroot carpaccio, with honey ricotta mousse, endive, caperberries and balsamic gel, or the risotto, served this season with saffron, zucchini, fennel, asparagus and an aged parmesan persillade.

Reef’s award-winning wine list complements the chef’s menu, with an array of wines sourced from some unique boutique wineries throughout Australia and the world.

For the full Reef experience, a seat by the window will always be a winner. With binoculars on every window table, diners can be entertained by dolphins, surfers and even passing whales during the migration season.

If you’re after something a little more casual, Cove Cafe is impossible to miss. Situated in the same idyllic location, there is no better location to sit back with a coffee or a glass of wine and watch the world pass by.

The beachfront location allows kids to frolic on the sand in front of the cafe whilst parents enjoy a carefully crafted coffee. Swimmers can also take full advantage of a quick ‘pick-me-up’ to start their day.

Owner Jonathon and café manager Kaleah are passionate about their coffee and have gone to great lengths to source the best beans available. Cove is currently sourcing their coffee from Two Seasons, UTZ Certified Organic and Espresso di Manfredi, in both single origin and blend varieties.

This conscientious approach extends to the food offerings. Just like Chef Paul upstairs, Cove’s Head Chef, Alistair Burke, uses as much fresh and local produce as possible in his seasonal breakfast and lunch menus.

Breakfast is served until midday, seven days a week. Start your morning with banana and buttermilk pancakes, or go savoury with the breakfast bruschetta. For vegetarians, it’s hard to look past the vegetarian board, which includes eggs cooked to your liking, thyme roast tomatoes, garlic button mushrooms, asparagus, fresh spinach, hash brown, smashed feta and avocado, tomato jam, and toast of your choice.

Come lunchtime, do as the regulars do and start your meal with strawberry mignonette oysters and a glass of bubbly – after all, when in Rome! For the main course, turn to some of the other popular dishes, including the coconut squid, rosemary and thyme-smoked chicken salad and the seafood platter for two.

The Cove’s drinks list extends beyond coffee, with juices, smoothies and iced drinks also available. As a fully licensed cafe, it also has an impressive selection of wines, cocktails and beers, perfect for an afternoon in the sun.

Reef Restaurant and Cove Cafe offer a different yet unique dining experience, catering to both casual and formal diners. The combination of outstanding food, friendly service and an absolute beachfront location will ensure an unforgettable dining experience.

Locate Reef Restaurant and Cove Cafe

The Haven, Terrigal, NSW


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