Ocean Breeze Café & Catering is a diner’s delight, situated in the Port City Bowling Club. Kylie and Rachel pride themselves on quality flavoursome food and great service. Now in its fifth year, the Ocean Breeze Café has gone from strength to strength. We talk to Kylie about how it all got started.
How long has Ocean Breeze Café & Catering been operating in Port City Bowling Club?
We have been here for five years. We are coming into our fifth year this year, which is very exciting. It is a great location for us with a really good clientele base, with a lot of regulars from the area – which is fantastic.
What is the history behind Ocean Breeze; how did it all get started?
Well, it all started with lamingtons! Always in the sweet thick of things, I joined our preschool fundraising committee. I met Rachel, who was always thinking outside of the box. We seemed to hit it off. Our preschool needed funds to fix the playground and equipment.
Rachel and I put our heads together to come up with a lamington drive. But I wanted more than just one hit, so I thought we would do it for four weeks in a row. Brilliant idea! We were thinking of doing maybe one or two slabs a week; well, I went all out and made sure that everyone we knew was buying lamingtons in at least 2 of the weeks or throughout, and I made all of the committee members and mothers do the same. We ended up doing 9 slabs in the first week!
Yes, we made them from scratch, so by week 4 we were over it! But we raised a lot of money for our preschool and became very close, bouncing ideas off one another. So then I had another idea – a café/coffee shop. Unsure and needing some confidence, I ran it past Rachel. I was nervous, never having done this – just owning a passion and drive to create something great. Rachel told me to go for it, and she inspired me and has helped me create what we have today – Ocean Breeze Café & Catering.
What types of ingredients will we often see on the Ocean Breeze menu?
There are a lot of local bits and pieces seen throughout our menu: tomatoes from Red Hill, strawberries grown out of Beechwood. We also get a lot of our produce from Kenny Little.
A lot of the things we make ourselves, using a broad range of fresh ingredients like macadamia nuts and things. Our house made relishes and goddess dressing are also favourites; we try to make everything we can from scratch to create unique flavours and interesting dishes.
Will you have any special dishes on the menu throughout the Easter holidays?
Yes, we are hoping to have fresh oysters on the menu, and the ‘Barra’ special, which is Barramundi with fresh mango and bacon on top; it is a really beautiful dish with flavours that complement each other. Seafood will be the highlight of the menu over Easter.
Tell us about your services for functions and catering.
We do corporate functions, weddings, birthdays, in or out of house. There is a lot of demand for outside catering, sandwich platters for corporate lunches etc. In the Bowling Club, we can cater for around 200 people, with another 60 in the café area. Whether it’s a large elaborate function or a small get together, we can cater for it all.
Home-made cakes and sweets are a favourite at the café. Is this something you have always been passionate about?
I have always been passionate about making everything from scratch – especially the sweets. It’s a bit of rivalry between myself and Rachel to see who can do the best of the best!
We are always trying to improve; it keeps us fresh with ideas and keeps us on our toes by challenging one another all the time. But the cakes and sweets are certainly my favourite thing to do. So come on down for a coffee and cake!
How do you incorporate all of the fresh, local produce that is available in our region into your menu?
We try to use as much fresh produce as we can, sourced from different areas. Of a daytime we are serving fresh salads with our meals, and then of a night it’s mash and beans. We don’t do any deep frying; everything is grilled or baked, and we try to do as much as we can with the local resources available every day.
What do you think people enjoy most about coming to the Ocean Breeze Café, whether it is coffee and cake, a light lunch or a function?
People love coming in for coffee and cake, but also our meals; it’s all about flavour. They enjoy the different flavours we incorporate, because everything is so freshly made. You can taste the garlic, the butter, all of those yummy things that we are probably not supposed to have! Our food at Ocean Breeze is always nice and fresh and full of passion.
This story was published in issue 77 of Port Macquarie Focus