This is the very first meal I had during my recent trip to New South Wales! We arrived at Sydney in the morning and drove 2 ½ hours to Port Stephens for lunch. I’ve had quite a few seafood platters in Australia and it always has a hot and cold component.
I thought I saw a Moreton Bay Bug at the bottom left of the cold platter and I asked about it. The waitress wasn’t sure so she went to ask the cook, who came back with the answer – it’s a Balmain Bug! It’s also another species of slipper lobster and looks a lot like the Moreton Bay Bug but the Eastern Balmain Bug (officially called butterfly fan lobster) is more common around NSW.
The cold components of the dish are mud crabs, the Balmain bug, plenty of oysters and prawns with a side of salad and fresh fruits. I’ve eaten several seafood platters during my time in Australia and these ingredients are always the same, although sometimes you’ll get a regular lobster as well as the bug.
The seafood items in this platter are all boiled and shocked in ice water so it’s eaten cold and I’ve always like the style of this execution. The oysters are a little small in this case, but they’re all local and not flown thousands of miles away coz oysters don’t taste good after a long journey. This was at Vues on the Bay, a very playfully named Australian cuisine restaurant right in the middle of town. Yup, this is the hub of Port Stephens with a wonderful view of the pier.
Interesting fact: Port Stephens only has one (1) traffic light in the entire township and it’s right in front of this restaurant. The residents petitioned very hard against it since they didn’t want any traffic lights in their town. 🙂
This being Australia, the hot component of the seafood platter has plates laden with thick cut chips, like the ones you’ll get at the local fish and chip shop, and calamari (battered and fried squid). I like how modern Australian cuisine don’t do it in ring shapes but either cigar shaped (very nice) or thick curly (like this one).
I love the calamari here, it’s so fresh that you don’t get the off-putting taste of squid and it’s soft and practically dissolves in your mouth the moment you bite into it.
24 thoughts on “Seafood platter @ Vues on the Bay, Port Stephens”
Hey, are you a pilot or air steward? You seem to be on different corners of the earth every month! LOL
I love the food you posted and my hands started to itch as I am now allergic to lobsters! I had no problems eating lobsters all my life earlier. Why now? I still can eat shrimps and many other seafood.
I love this type of quaint and relaxing place like Port Stephens. They should remove that 1 traffic lights too!
Haha! I’m not! I wish I were, then I’ll get to travel more! 🙂
The Germany and France trip is our annual overseas trip together! We went to Melbourne the first year we were together.
This Australia one is a work trip, but had a lot of fun! I agree, and there are petitions to remove that 1 traffic light too!
Hmm…I’ve heard of people with your condition too – developing shellfish allergies later on in life, but I don’t know the exact cause!
Goshhhhh!!!! That certainly put Manhattan Fish Market’s to shame… 😀
wow…. so fresh. Sure can finish everything?
Yeah! You can finish everything easy! 🙂
Each platter is for two (2) people.
This is the pride of the coastal towns of Australia! 🙂
I first saw it in 2000, when I arrived there, and was leery of the price until I actually worked up the courage to go on a date to a high end seafood restaurant in St. Kilda and found out it wasn’t that expensive after all. It never is, compared to mid level dining places in KL!
I remember she wanted to go Dutch though so that’s good, and I went to a lot of restaurants which I wouldn’t have discovered if not for her, since she’s local.
seafood platters are always very intriguing to me because i love seafood but somehow, i can’t stomach the taste of oysters & i’m useless with crabs! lol. i’m really curious to try crayfish & lobster!!
Yeah, it’s awesome! 🙂
Too bad you don’t like the taste of oysters! I love them!
Lobster can be very, very sweet when cooked right e.g. just poached and cold shocked and served cold. I love crayfish too, since they’re really fresh in Australia.
wow, it must be very expensive loh~ i like the seafood too~
It’s not very expensive in Australia! 🙂
The seafood is awesome and a lot cheaper than a similar meal here.
wow, that’s a lot of seafood! i am envious!
Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff! 🙂
This wasn’t the best though, the best I had was at the Sydney Harbour, which had very sweet, large lobsters!
whoa, that chilled seafood platter plus all the hot, battered stuff look like a beyond-hearty lunch (definitely enough for four people, rite?) 😀 and yeah, seafood always tastes best when it’s local, right, whether you’re in port stephens or port klang. those oysters sure look alluring … love the colour of their flesh 🙂
It’s actually meant for two (2) people! 🙂
Each platter serves two and thus there’s equal amount of everything. The chips and calamari stack is also meant for two so each person has a plate.
I agree, oysters are best where it’s the freshest, doesn’t really matter where that is.
HB, you are looking good. Had any meat pies or treats that famous there?
Thanks Vickie! 🙂
Hmm…I ate so much meat pies when I was in uni that I really don’t crave for them now. Haha!
I do like eating the bugs though – had Moreton Bay Bugs before but not the Balmain Bug.
oooohhhh the calamari and thick cut chips looks so mouth watering crispy!!
Yeah, it’s really good! 🙂
It’s not crispy though, the calamari, I hate crispy calamari coz it’s overcooked. It’s really tender here.
I think I prefer the hot component. Bug sounds scary.
It comes in both hot and cold to make a complete dish! 🙂
I don’t think you can just order half the dish. The bug doesn’t look like much but it really tastes good! We have the slipper lobster here too, just not this exact species.
oh my … look at the platter! And its fresh too!
Yup, that’s the best thing about it! 🙂
Fresh seafood, eaten by the bay with a view of the port and with seagulls and the fresh breeze coming in. Heavenly. I haven’t slept for 36 hours at this point and I was still good to go.
Wow, mouthwatering seafoods…
Yup, it’s very fresh seafood! 🙂
It’s the second best seafood platter I had in Sydney. The best was at this restaurant at Sydney Harbour with an amazingly sweet lobster!