May 10
One Night in Bermagui
icon4 May 10th, 2009 | icon2 Travel |

Rach and I have just returned from Bermagui on the south coast of New South Wales. On our first night in town we ventured out to the local Hotel-Motel, aka the “Hoey Moey”. (Or better still, “Huey Muey”, as in, “Rach and Snuey went to the Bermagui Huey Muey for a schooey of Toohey’s Newy”.)

First stop was the “Hoey” where we enjoyed a refreshing ale under the watchful gaze of an enormous marlin, hanging on the wall opposite. Down south they love their fish, preferably dead, stuffed and mounted, the bigger the better. The pub was decorated mostly with photographs of large fish, a phenomenon we have witnessed at other southern NSW drinking establishments.

Soon our stomachs were telling us that some dinner was required, so we headed next door to the “Moey”, or its attached bar & restaurant to be precise. I got the chicken schnitzel and Rach had the roast. Tasty! They even had an open fire, which looked real enough but appeared to be plugged into a nearby power socket.

As I waited at the bar to order my obligatory dessert of chocolate mud-cake, ahead of me a very odd couple were placing their dinner order. I couldn’t help overhearing as they attempted to find something on the menu that was prepared to their liking.

“How is the fish done? Is that grilled?”, the guy asked.

“No, sorry, the fish is battered and deep fried”, replied the girl behind the bar.

“What about the squid?”, asked his partner. “That must be grilled, surely?”

“No, that’s deep fried too.”

Thus the conversation continued through each item on the menu until only the side dishes remained. At this point the guy requested a prawn salad, plus a side salad (huh?) and a serve of vegetables. It seems we have some kind of deranged fruitarian on our hands here. The bargirl politely explained that, in fact, the prawn salad was pretty much just a side salad with some prawns added. Thus informed, the order was amended to a prawn salad and two serves of vegetables. The woman ordered something equally confusing along with a further side of veges. 

A few minutes later, as I gave my dessert order a woman appeared from the kitchen and approached the barmaid, piece of paper in hand.

“It says three serves of veges here for two people, is that right?”

The barmaid nodded, exchanging looks with her harried colleague.

Meanwhile the couple’s drinks – some sort of bitters and mineral water concoction – had been prepared and placed on the bar. They had sat at a nearby table and now looked up at their drinks expectantly. A brief conversation ensued on the topic of how best to transport their beverages from the bar to their table. The guy seemed uninterested in his drink, perhaps because upon sitting he had immediately plugged in an earpiece and was fiddling with his iPhone.

Let me try to describe this pair. He was fifty-ish, tall and thin with a mop of curly grey hair. He wore black-framed glasses of the type popular these days with the arty set. His partner – whether she was his spouse or business colleague is unclear – wore identical frames. 

He started making calls on his phone. He had a strange, slightly plummy accent, not English exactly but perhaps lower North Shore Sydney. As their table was near ours his telephone conversations were clearly audible. At one point he left a message for someone informing them that the Aboriginal elder, Uncle Mack, would be “unable to attend the meeting this evening”. His partner sipped her drink in silence.

Their meals arrived and iPhones were pushed to one side. As I was inspecting the ingenious electric fireplace, Rach watched in disbelief as our new friend swung a crystal over his prawn salad, presumably in an attempt to cleanse this potentially tainted food. Clearly this type of New Age hokum has no place in a meat-and-potatoes town like Bermagui. Thank God they didn’t try it next door in the Hoey.

The mud-cake was superb, in case you were wondering.

3 Responses

  1. VB Says:

    Ah, Bermi. My Grandfather used to own the Bakery there!

  2. MsJaye Says:

    A crystal?! Photographic evidence required!

  3. snubian Says:

    Hey Vern, we didn’t visit the bakery sadly, but it’s a nice little town. One funny thing, we noticed the “Bermagui Veterinary Clinic” had moved and been replaced by a gelato shop, so in the sign on the front they simply replaced the word “veterinary” to become the “Bermagui Gelato Clinic”.

    Jaye, sadly no photographic evidence on the crystal. But if you’d seen this guy you would be convinced it was entirely plausible.