Wheelers Oyster Farm and Restaurant: Merimbula, NSW

Merimbula WHEELER'S RESTAURANT-7 We had lunch at  Wheelers Oyster Farm and Restaurant in Pambula on 2 occasions during the Merimbula Jazz Festival weekend. I loved the idea of having oysters direct from the farm (how much fresher could they possibly be than that?).


Chilli Seafood Linguini ($34) - local fish, scallops, mussels and tiger prawns sauteed with garlic, chilli, spicy spanish chorizo, tossed with fresh herbs and Napoli sauce topped with parmesan cheese.


 Tuscan Bug and Scallop Salad ($23)- Balmain Bugs and scallops pan-seared in chilli, garlic, and fresh herbs tossed with ciabatta croutons, goat's cheese, kalamata olives, baby spinach, and rocket


seafood Saffron Risotto ($34)- scallops, local fish, Balmain bugs, mussels and banana prawns finished with a corn salsa, tomato relish, and salsa verde.

wheeler's oyster farm merimbula

 Mixed cold plate of oysters

Most of the dishes we tried, particularly the the Chilli Seafood Linguini, Tuscan Bug and Scallop Salad, and the mixed plate of cold oysters, were superb. It was doubly good because the standard of food in Merimbula up until that point was pretty abysmal. The service at Wheeler's was excellent, and I also loved how they participated in the jazz festival with the special menu and the live music.

The one thing I think Wheelers needs to improve on is their wine list and their glassware. When you're paying over $100 at lunch for two I expect proper wine glasses- not midget glasses that are used by RSLs.

I would definitely visit Wheelers again if I'm in the area.

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Merimbula Jazz Festival and the beauty of the Sapphire Coast

Merimbula Wharf_-3Merimbula WharfMerimbula_Merimbula Jazz Festival and the beauty of the Sapphire Coast: Picture diaryMerimbula Wharf_-2Merimbula beachSince 1981, the town of Merimbula (on the south coast of NSW) hosts the annual Merimbula Jazz Festival over the June long weekend. The choir that I sing with (Rhythm Syndicate, based in Canberra) had 3 gigs over the long weekend, so I got a great chance to experience the music festival and see the town for the first time. I had a great time at the Merimbula Jazz Festival. From mid morning to about 11pm at night, there was music non-stop for the entire duration of the festival at all 6 official MJF venues, and also performances around the town- on the street, in restaurants, in churches- that weren't part of the official program. The ordinarily sleepy town was alive with jazz, blues, funk, and gospel.The local Merimbula buses get converted into a shuttle bus for people getting from venue to venue during the festival, and the displayed route on the front of the bus is renamed 'jazz bus'. So cool.

I enjoyed the unofficial performances more generally because they were in nicer spaces for enjoying music; the official program was hosted in rather depressing auditoriums/halls in RSL clubs, decorated woefully with clusters of ribboned balloons- which killed the vibe a little bit and wasn't well suited to jazz performance in general. I hope they change that.

Apart from my dislike for the official performance spaces, I found the festival really fun. There are some pretty stellar acts at the festival, and I am definitely going back for more next year!

Merimbula also boasts beautiful beaches and spectacular seafood- there's a great restaurant/oyster farm in Merimbula that I'll tell you about in the next blog post.


Canberra-based jazz band In 2 Deep featuring Mike Dooley on piano and Rachel Thorne on vocals.