Club Food At Its Best

Toukley RSL Shows How It’s Done

NESTLED IN AN IDYLLIC LOCATION ON THE NSW CENTRAL COAST between golden beaches and Tuggerah Lakes, Club Toukley RSL boasts a membership of around 13,000, an appealing laid back atmosphere and some seriously good food.

For the past two years in a row the club’s executive chef Alex Patterson and head chef Kurt Sonneman have received the Gold prize at the annual ClubsNSW Chef’s Table Awards, and next month the pair will compete against other club chefs from other states for the national title.

“No one really knew where Toukley was until this started, but now it’s raised the profile of the whole area, and we’ve been able to set the benchmark not only for the Central Coast, but clubs across NSW,” says head chef Alex Patterson. “It’s been an awesome journey and we’ve been supported by really great chefs and staff.”

Alex came on board three years ago, when the club was looking to modernize and refurbish its restaurant. “It never used to have a name for food but now people come here for that. Ninety-five per cent of the menu is made in house and we try to stay as fresh as we can, changing our menus every four months to suit the season. Our head chef Kurt Sonneman has worked overseas in Michelin starred restaurants and we have a great team here.”

The club’s Ziva restaurant is in demand for functions from stand-up cocktails and VIP nights for local businesses to wedding receptions, anniversaries and private parties. “We’ll do everything from cocktail menus to grazing platters, canapes and three course sit-down meals. It gets busy from late September right up till Christmas, and of course as an RSL Anzac Day is the biggest day of the year for us.”

For the function menu, Alex’s focus is on choosing meats with versatile application and for that reason pork is a key focus. “I think Australian pork is top of the line – the products we get, as long as they’re treated right by chefs, are better than any other meat products you could buy. We use pork for everything from little sliders on cocktail menus up to whole pork loins which we stuff with mince and fresh herbs and serve with roasted root vegies and a red wine reduction.

“We’ll do slow cooked pork cutlets with sweet potato and beans, thyme and apple jus, and a nice ham hock terrine with radish, capers and candied walnuts for the entrée menu. And we have little pork croquets as a starter - we’ll make a house barbecue sauce, strip down some pork bellies, crumb them and serve them.

“Of course we’ve also got our everyday roast pork in the restaurant which people love - I only use striploin which is a bit higher-end than legs and shoulders and it’s a great product to roast up. It’s so simple - just add olive oil and salt and cook to the correct temperature. It never loses its moisture and the amount of compliments we get for it is just amazing.”