Larissa Fuller
Sydney, Australia

Culinary Waves: Diving into Gerringong with Icebergs' Alex Prichard on his Hometown Haven

Discover the ultimate 'Surf and Turf' experience in this hidden holiday hotspot just 2 hours from Sydney!

Breathing in the salty sea breeze and feasting his eyes on the endless Pacific, Alex Prichard and his team craft one of Sydney’s most signature coastal menus in what could be considered the world’s best office, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar.

With a panoramic view of the legendary Bondi Beach, this translucent dining space harmonises with the ocean. Each dish is a tribute, carefully balancing authentic Italian heritage with Australia’s most premium ocean produce.

However, it turns out that even culinary directors with killer seaside gigs need a place to kickback and chill out. This is where we see Alex swap his kitchen whites for the hushed pulse of a town brimming with coastal zen.

Cut to Gerringong, Alex's seaside sanctuary away from the kitchen buzz.

Join Locay as Alex dishes out on Gerringong's local treasures, from its lush hillside embraces to vibrant town hubs, and shares a cheat sheet to living the local dream—his way of letting you in on the quiet slice of paradise he calls home.

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Can you describe the atmosphere and culture of Gerringong for someone who has never visited?

A paradise you will fall in love with.
The perfect mixture of rolling green bills and coastal vista.
My wife and I stumbled upon it by accident, as soon as we came around “the bends” from Kiama, saw the rolling green hills and the ocean we fell in love and moved down 2 months later.

How would you describe the sense of local community in Gerringong? Why should this town be on the map for the ‘off the beaten track’ traveller?

It’s hard to put into words the feeling of refreshment and escape you get in Gerringong. It's a beautiful balance of a town that time seems to have beenforgotten but then is surrounded by incredible architectural properties and rentable houses like Dovecote, Ocean Farm, Bunker House & Dunoon Farm House.

These are all really exciting developments for the area.

Could you walk us through an ideal day spent in Gerringong, from morning till evening?

In the morning, wake up and go for a walk along the seven-mile beach, followed by breakfast at Blue Swimmer in Gerroa.

Then I would head down to Nowra Fresh to pick up some local seafood. The best picks are some of the fresh lobsters out of Kiama, Greenwell Point oysters, and some local blackfish. Always best if you have a place to retreat too however there are public BBQ's found in Gerrigong Park which make for a great outdoor kitchen!

Farmers Markets on the South Coast of NSW are one of the best ways to access incredible local produce and some casual snacks. At the Kiama Farmers Markets, my top picks are 'Moonacres' for fresh produce (their potato bread is also my favourite bread in the world!). 'Buena Vista Farm' has incredible goat products. 'Pecora Dairy' makes a gorgeous sheep's milk cheese that’s similar to pecorino and is gorgeous in a Cacio e Pepe for dinner.

In the afternoon, I'd suggest you do a bit of shopping. A great visit is to my wife’s store, "Kalm,” in Gerringong, which has incredible Australian designers and a special selection of hand-made candles. She did a custom scent for Iceberg's 20th anniversary; and of course that’s my favourite!

If you have some time, I’d pop over to Kiama to visit the Pines pantry to grab specialty snacks. Kel and Mahala are generational dairy farmers in the area. They produce some incredible cheese and gelato. Second to none. Their 'Three Daughter's Cheddar' is amazing. They also do the best cherry gelato (they happen to make incredible milkshakes too if you're just a big kid at heart like me!).

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On Gerringong, I think it’s made me really love a more relaxed, coastal cooking style.

When is your favourite time of year in Gerringong, or is there a key local event or activity that should not be missed during that period?

I love the late spring. Around October, I find it’s beautiful. Not too hot, not too crowded. There’s something in the air at that time of year that makes you leave feeling recharged.

With visiting friends, family, or out-of-town visitors, can you tell us about a hotel or accommodation experience in Gerringong that captures the essence of coastal Zen for you?

For something magical that makes you feel completely in awe of the area, go to Dovecote. It's stunning in all conditions, and there’s something truly magical about being perched on top of the ocean. Few places in the world can you see the type of outlook that this property has, all from one window. Think rolling green hills of dairy farms as far as the eye can see!

How about other top recommendations for shopping and dining in the local area? 

Linnaeus Collection in Berry is a stunning collection of rentable properties, and Linnaeus Farm has gorgeous gardens. Again, this place leaves you with a special feeling of “I’ve been away.”.

Just 45 minutes drive away is Huskisson, which is worth a visit to Buds Tavern (a cosy and inviting 80's-style bar great for a drink and meal).
Ponte Bar and Dining in Nowra on the river does some beautiful modern Australian and local dishes.
'Old Salt Distillery' in South Nowra makes some of the best spirits in the world, and Moonacres Kitchen & Cooking School in Robertson (40 mins inland) is worth a visit.

When introducing someone to Gerringong for the first time, what one experience do you consider a must-do to truly capture the essence of the place—other than come to yours for a home-cooked meal?

I think it’s sitting on the headland; whether it’s with a packed picnic or a takeout pizza, it feels beautiful to be able to see why we fell in love with the area.

In what ways has Gerringong inspired or influenced new dishes on your menu at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar?

In so many ways, it’s helped me form friendships with so many incredible producers that now feature on our menu.
The Pines, Pecora, Moonacres Farm... our bread is inspired by their potato bread, but I’ll never get it quite as good as theirs!

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How do you balance the traditional Italian roots of your culinary style with the Australian coastal vibes in your dishes?

I think they naturally go hand in hand. Italian food is now so incredibly rooted in Australian food culture (whether traditional or crimes committed against Italian culture like pesto chicken pasta or Penne Boscaiola), it’s Australia's most loved cuisine. Simple Italian food lends itself so well to our Australian summer culture of incredible local seafood served simply, elegantly, and not overpoweringly.

Ok, and now one for Bondi. Another local neighbourhood we cannot get enough of.
Picture this.
You have had a ripper service at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar with the team and simply are in no state to make the 2 hours stretch home to Gerringong.

... Where would you choose to stay, and why?

Under Table 3 at Icebergs Dining Room and Car is pretty nice to sleep; however, The Baxley Bondi is my go-to. I like that it feels like I’m staying at a very near, beautiful, and organised friend's house rather than a hotel or Capella in Sydney. 

... What would you eat for breakfast in Bondi?

Birachina in Bondi. This local cafe is owned by some good friends of Icebergs Dining Room and Bar and is very much a local drop-in. A hole in the wall, and very simple, it’s the kind of place you’ll run into 10 people you know whilst waiting for your coffee. A great place to scope out the local scene in Bondi!

... The age-old local debate: North or South Bondi for a swim?

Strictly South!

... North or South Bondi for a bite?

Again, South!
Not just because this is where you can find Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, but I find it’s where you find the true Bondi characters and fun.
You might go to Birachina for a coffee in the afternoon, then end up at the Icebergs Bar until the evening.
Then later that night, stumble out of Icebergs and up on Campbell Parade to 'Bar 34' for the best of Bondi's live music scene! In Sough Bondi, it is all possible!

Be sure to book your next local Sydney dining experience at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar located in South Bondi.
To keep up to date with Alex and his culinary flair, as well his newest dishes, tips and local producers be sure to follow @alexprichard.
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