Review: Bannisters by the Sea, Mollymook, Australia

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Before moving to Australia I’d heard people raving about Bannisters by the Sea in Mollymook, a small coastal town in New South Wales. This hotel is home to one of my favourite TV chefs restaurants – Rick Stein at Bannisters – the chef’s only Australian eatery. A hugely popular restaurant, which has been awarded an Australian Good Food Guide Hat (the Aussie equivalent of a Michelin Star.)

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

Mollymook Beach

 

Mollymook is a popular spot for surfers, with a 2km beach, as well as a gorgeous rock pool known as the ‘Bogey Hole’. It’s also one of my sister’s favourite places in Australia, so we decided to head there for a long weekend. From Sydney it’s a three hour drive, passing through some beautiful spots, including Kiama and the beautiful Jervis Bay.

 

A Lovely Planet - Hyams Beach - Jervis Bay

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay

 

Bannisters actually has two hotels in Mollymook; Bannisters by the Sea and Bannisters Pavilion. These are a short walk from each other in the seaside town. We stayed at Bannisters by the Sea, but visited both hotels during the weekend.

 

Bannisters by the Sea

My sister and I arrived on a sunny Sunday afternoon and stayed at the hotel for two nights in a Spa Retreat room, with sea and pool views. It was gorgeous. The balcony was huge with an amazing Jacuzzi looking out over the ocean!

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

We had a very comfy king bed, as well as a very well equipped bar/coffee area and Bluetooth speakers, which were great!

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

Bannisters by the Sea has 6 different room options, and we were able to look around all of them. As well as our Spa Retreat room, there are Ocean Deluxe, Courtyard Suites, Luxury Suites, Terrace SuitesPenthouses and The Pinnacle. I loved the Terrace Suites, which were huge and beautifully furnished. However I still think our Spa Retreat room was my favourite – nothing beats the Jacuzzi with sea views!

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

Terrace Suite

 

We had dinner booked at Bannisters Pavilion for 6, so we got ready before heading to reception. Bannisters Pavilion is around a 15 minute walk from Bannisters by the Sea, but the hotels offer a shuttle service. We were both wearing heels and feeling a little lazy so we decided to take the shuttle, and were driven by a very lovely driver to the sister hotel.

 

Bannisters Pavilion

Bannisters Pavilion has 33 Classic rooms and 2 Penthouses. It was the second of the Bannister hotels, and the owner purchased the property due to high demand at Bannisters by the Sea. We headed straight to the Rooftop Bar & Grill. As well as the restaurant, there is also an infinity pool on the rooftop, and part of this overhangs the building, which is pretty cool.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Pool

 

It was happy hour, so we started the evening with a glass of wine, whilst listening to a live guitarist/singer for the ‘Sunday Sessions’. It was a lovely sunny evening and we relaxed in the bamboo seats overlooking the pool.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

Then it was time for food! We skipped starters and headed straight for the mains. I had grilled Saltwater Barramundi with a green mango, coconut and cashew salad. It was so good – I nearly didn’t order it as we would be eating fish at Rick Stein’s the following evening, but I’m glad I did! Vick had the ribs, which were incredible. Not your usual thin kind, but really meaty slow cooked BBQ ribs ribs, served with slaw. For dessert we shared a delicious mango panna cotta, served with coconut ice cream.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

After a farewell cocktail we headed back to Bannisters by the Sea, and decided to test out the Jacuzzi! It was a pretty lovely way to end the evening with a glass of wine out on the balcony.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

The Area

The next day we were up early, ate breakfast in the restaurant and headed out to explore the area. The closest town to Mollymook is Milton, a lovely little town with some quirky shops and nice little café’s. We did a little shopping, had a coffee, and then it was back to Mollymook for a stroll along the beach, before an afternoon by the pool!

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

The Pool

Bannisters by the Sea has a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the ocean. We ordered lunch from the pool bar and relaxed in the sunshine. The pool area also has a games room, complete with giant chess.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

Rick Stein at Bannisters

That evening we had dinner at Rick Stein’s. You enter the restaurant via a lounge room with lovely furniture and a beautiful tiled wall. This is also a great spot to relax with a coffee in the morning. The restaurant overlooks the gardens and has lovely ocean views.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

We started with some New South Wales oysters, before moving onto a shared starter of marinated tuna with passionfruit, lime and coriander, accompanied by some delicious white wine.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

For main I had a grilled fillet of snapper with laksa noodles and Vick had Bombay salmon masala curry, coconut spice paste, tomatoes and tamarind with rice, mango chutney and naan bread. Both were delicious.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

The dessert was equally as good – an incredible hot chocolate fondant! Then it was back to our room for our final night at Bannisters by the Sea.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

We had a great stay at Bannisters by the Sea. It’s a beautiful hotel in a lovely little town, and the two restaurant options are fantastic.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

Rooms at Bannisters by the Sea start from $370 per night.

 

A Lovely Planet - Mollymook - Rick Stein - Bannisters

 

Thanks to Bannisters by the Sea for hosting A Lovely Planet.

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