Recent Reviews

Here is what our reviewers have had to say...

2017 review of Caveau - Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide - one hat

"A special occasion night out of modern coastal cooking with French flourish"

"Now here's a nifty little number full of surprises. On a strip of the 'gong where takeaway rules, linen tablecloths, informed wine service and classical tunes deliver some next-level fanciness for the area, but the real pleasantries take form in announced bits and bobs turning solid dishes into great ones. Take the pinch of Beluga caviar, bringing age old, salty depth to a spanner crab cigar plated next to velvet-plush red tuna tartare. Or the sliver of partridge liver that cameos next to a beautifully poached and seasoned quail breast with potato dauphinoise, baby turnips and crunchy amaranth. Surprises like this, the waittress says, exist to introduce customers to uncharted offal waters. "What was that? It was delicious!" "It was tongue, sir." (Indeed there is a lick of tongue in an assiette of blushing pink Junee lamb chop and braised lamb neck). With bold, contemporary cooking founded on French technique, Caveau is stil the number-one dining destiation in town after more than a decade. And that's no surprise at all. - 22nd March 2016: 

"The jewel in the crown of Wollongong's food scene is Caveau. Founded in 2004 and winner of a Good Food Guide regional hat every year since, the food here is served with care, precision and consideration. Go for the seven-course degustation and yes, begin with oysters if they're offered. There's pan-fried john dory and decadent duck rillette. The cheese course is a fun departure – blue cheese mousse with fresh honeycomb and figs, and for dessert a sublime creme brulee with Armagnac ice-cream. Roll home when you're able to."

2016 review of Caveau - Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide - one hat 

"Coastal modernism and a killer wine list"

"Seaweed-dusted popcorn, paper-thin slivers of rare pheasant breast, beetroot the size of peas. the pleasures of the seven course degustation lie in a series of small, satisfying and unexpected tastes. Say 'yes' when offered the optional oysters to start, especially if they're fat, creamy and from Merimbula. They're a perfect opener for what's to follow: brandade and octopus with paper-thin slices of cucamelon, duck two ways (breast, salty confit), buttery barramundi and wagyu with horseradish and potato fondant. The vegetarian degustation offers its own sweet twists and turns, the borage ravioli a highlight. Matching wines, best in class - Alsace riesling, Victorian pinot, Hunter Valley semillon - elevate the experience. Smart, professional service is apparent from the moment you enter the plush dining room, decorated in grey and black with bright pea-green polka-dot upholstered chairs through to the fanfare of chocolate marquise with Turkish delight icecream and tiny rosewater jellies that makes sure the occasion ends on a (sugar) high.

2015 review of Caveau – Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide - one hat

"The Gong’s best restaurant deserves another gong for gorgeousness. Take the dramatic statement lettering at its entrance, a bar made of white marble and black tiles, chairs with polka dots, whimsical wall art and a chandelier made of salvaged glassware. Add to this the theatre of formal service and you have a hushed, plush space with a serious wine list. Chef Peter Sheppard’s degustation menu is heavily influenced by French technique and each dish is a nuanced combination of taste, texture, balance and flavour. Savour seven star dishes such as smoked rainbow trout, with a creamy trout brandade and school prawns, line-caught mulloway with spanner crab agnolotti, pork belly and loin with sage gnocchi, rolled veal fillet with sweetbreads, lardons and parsnip puree, and a whipped brie, apple and walnut salad. Finish dessert – chocolate bourbon biscuit with ganache and sesame icecream – with a contented sigh."

2015 review of Caveau – Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide

"There’s nothing small town about this Wollongong find. It’s strictly A game from the start. It feels formal despite the polka dot chairs and the Kelly Wearstler-esque plate displays, and the service is all fine-dine shine, but the experience starts and ends with the well-priced degustation menu. Seven courses with matching wine from the tidy by-the-glass list showcase chef Peter Sheppard’s masterful blending of classic French-inspired techniques with local produce. The beauty is the balance. Seasonally sourced courses include pork terrine with little jewel-like cubes of abalone jelly and the zing of horseradish, or fillet of veal with the savour of sweetbreads and lardons. And props to the tiny sage gnocchi that is snuggled alongside the roasted breast and confit leg of duck. Fittingly, the plates are carefully proportioned to feel generoius without being excessive – this is exquisite food."

2014 SMH Good Food Guide - one hat

"Chef Peter Sheppard, backed up by his wife Nicola front of house, manages to imbue the 'Gong with something a little bit French, a little bit Ox. It may be a tired old phrase, but at Caveau every dish is a delight, from the opening shot of tomato and basil consomme to the very last lick of salted caramel in the chocolate mille-feuille. Sheppard's degustation is a response to the season. Soft goat's cheese between sweet sultana tuiles could double as a dessert, but its pretty surrounding garden of micro vegetables and hazelnuts seals its savoury role. Roasted locally caught snapper sits prettily in a bright sea of spinach puree with prawns, tomato and olives adding interest. Vegetarians will love the crunchy fried sage leaves scattered on sauteed potato gnocchi with blue cheese veloute and fresh figs, while everyone will love the photogenic lime brulee with raspberries, lychee sorbet, caramel shards and a touch of white chocolate."

2014 Gourmet Traveller Australian Restaurant Guide

"Peter Sheppard has championed fine dining in Wollongong for more than a decade, and the city is lucky to have him. With cooking classes and catering commitments on top of the night job, his energy and that of his small team seem boundless. Warm, well informed wait staff, a sommelier who is passionate about her impressive Australian and French wines, and a procession of balanced, beautifully executed dishes make a special night out. The menu might include rich guineafowl terrine with a tiny brioche and even tinier mushrooms; lobster tail boudin and lobster ravioli with baby fennel; buttery skate and pork belly with smoked celeriac puree, and a fine Mont Blanc with honeycomb icecream as the finale. The dining rooms are elegant, save for the curiously kitsch lighting, but who's looking at the decor? For French technique and theatrical flourish, it's all eyes on the plate here."