WHEN On the Pier closed at Batemans Bay to make room for the new bridge construction, it was a sad day. It was a “go to” place in the immediate area for an upmarket dining experience.
An owner dropped the hint that we had to try Republique Bistro and Bar on Orient Street. She promised we wouldn’t be disappointed. And so it was that after our first night, we landed at Republique the next night, too.
Republique is a small, cosy bistro/bar on Orient Street – a place that makes you feel at home. If you’re heading to the coast for the June long weekend be sure to book.
The lads in the kitchen are local boys who flew the coup to gain experience in reputable establishments in Australia and overseas and then returned to their special spot on the sea.
Republique takes full advantage of local and artisan produce. It’s an essential ingredient to the bistro’s success. We even briefly met a local couple who dine at Republique weekly (same table, same night). They had brought fresh limes for the kitchen, which were immediately transformed into a scrumptious, light and refreshing dessert.
The chicken pate is decadent – one of the best we’ve had. It’s smooth, creamy, rich (but not too rich) and highlighted with soused currants ($16). You must indulge.
The Kingfish tartare was sensational ($22) and the crunch of the prawn cracker and local radish delightful. The warm, potted prawns with clarified butter, confit garlic, thyme and baguettes were fantastique.
And as for the steak frites with the complex Café de Paris butter sauce? The 180-day aged sirloin is sliced and the butter poured on top to drip through, making for an unbelievable dish. And those shoe-string fries were addictive. We shared the dish – both nights.
The wine list is intriguing and carefully curated. The owners are hugely knowledgeable and don’t skip a beat with recommendations. French labels dominate – no surprise given the menu – but a small range of Australia’s finest are also available, including a gorgeous Nikkal Pinot Noir from Yarra Valley. Glasses start at $8 and bottles from $25.
The inside of Republique has been refined and you can also dine outside or in the intimate corridor beside the restaurant. The fairy lights in the trees outside are charming.
You can head to Republique for just bar snacks if you prefer, including olives ($8), that divine pate and pork terrine ($16).
Republique has wonderful service. It’s a family operated business and there’s lots of love about the place. It’s infectious. We will be back.
Republique, shop 3/1 Orient Street, Batemans Bay. Open Wednesday to Sunday. Call 4472 6575.